The Transformation language is not enough: we also have to define a Business language
Rigor is also necessary when using Business terms: so that the experts understand each other, they have to share clear concepts.
When the Business defines its Goal and its Solution Model, it must use specific Business terms that will help it clarify its Model and communicate more easily with IT. It is also a means of properly structuring the Solution Model which relies, above all, on the Information Model and helps make the Reusable Components emerge.
Terms that the Enterprise uses every day, such as Customer, Product, Contract, Service, Partner... are rarely defined with precision: but, why waste time defining Terms that everybody knows? Simply because in practice, more often than not, each term groups several Entities together.
For example, "Customer" means:
- the one who we sell to (for the sales rep),
- the one who subscribes (for the company lawyer),
- the one who pays (for the accountant),
- the one who we deliver the Product to (for the beneficiary),
- the one who benefits from the Product Value (for the user).
The same person can act several of these roles.
However, asking to track the increase in the number of customers is only useful if we clarify what we mean by Customer.
We can carry out the same exercise with "Offer", "Product", "Service", "Contract", "Resource", "Flight" at Air France or "Train" at the SNCF...
How do we go about it?
- Appoint a manager of the Business glossary (it is not a
- Use the dictionaries from inter-professional organizations.
- Try to only have a few definitions: look for the
"GCD" (the greatest common divisor: the subset common to
the different Enterprise activities) and not the "LCD"
(the lowest common denominator: the superset of everyone's
needs). The Large enterprises who embarked on this
approach only managed to impose a common language when
they reduced their glossary to the bare minimum. In
practice, we only need to rigorously define 50 to 100
Business terms to considerably improve the dialog.
- Refine the glossary through successive versions: ask all contributors to use it and gradually refine it.
- This Glossary is extended by the Business Entities Model (relations, inheritance, login names, life cycle of each Entity) which represents the Solutions Architecture. This definition uses the verbs "Be" for the inheritance and "Have" for the relations.
- Appoint a manager of the Business glossary (it is not a full-time job).
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