Map Business Activities

When you're planning your e-business, you will have to engineer a Web site that will accomplish your e-business objectives.

Map Business Activities
Nick Flor

When you're planning your e-business, you will have to engineer a Web site that will accomplish your e-business objectives. There is, not surprisingly, a step-by-step process you can follow that will get you there. In this tip, excerpted from InformIT, author Nick Flor discusses the first step, mapping your business activities. This tip is also excerpted from Web Business Engineering, by Mr. Flor, published by Addison Wesley Professional.

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The first step in Web Business Engineering is to build maps of business activities (processes). From these maps, developers can identify numerous ways of using the Web to support those processes.

When you're driving in a new or unfamiliar location, you use a map to help you figure out how to get to your destination. A good map typically shows you not one, but many different ways to get from a starting point to a destination; you pick the best one, depending on a number of criteria, such as whether you want to take the most direct route or the most scenic route. Similarly, in Web Business Engineering, when ... you build a Web site for a business, you create a map that shows you all the different ways that you can use the Web in that business. You then pick the best way to use the Web, depending on [the] higher-level objectives, such as reducing costs, improving sales, or increasing revenues, to name just a few. Such a map is known as a business or information activity map, or just "map" for short.

An information activity map graphically depicts the movement of information between the agents--both people and technology--that participate in a given work activity (or business process, as it is more commonly referred to). For example, [a] map [that] depicts the process of mailing homework assignments to remote students in a distance-education program [has these] agents: instructor, assistant, mail express, mailing room, and student. An arrow between two agents indicates an information exchange. The arrows are annotated with the direction of the exchange and the type of information exchanged.

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To read more of this tip, click over to InformIT. Registration is required there, but that registration is free.


This was first published in December 2000

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