In this article, you will learn some introductory concepts in Business Process Analysis and Database Design. These concepts include but are not limited to the following.
A business process involves a set of activities conducted by machines or employees in order to realize a business goal. There are several examples of activities in a business process, which are not limited to the following.
Every business process has a set of inputs, processes, and outputs. Importantly, the output/s of one business process can serve as the input/s to another. In this way, business processes can be performed within a single organisation/business, which may interact with processes that are enacted by other organisations/businesses e.g., suppliers, headquarters, and international divisions.
Notably to achieve the goals of the business process the following components are needed.
In addition, key features of business processes include the following.
To understand the processes and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business's operations we can perform a Business Process Analysis (BPA), which could yield the following results.
Now that we have briefly explored business processes let's talk about data, databases, and database management systems.
Data are individual facts, statistics, or items of information, often numeric, that are collected through observation. - Wikipedia
Data is everywhere around! Examples of data include but are not limited to the following.
In computing, a database is an organized collection of data stored and accessed electronically from a computer system. - Wikipedia
There are several real-life applications of databases. Can you think of some examples of real-life databases? Here are some examples below.
Many small, medium, and large scale enterprises exploit DBMS to capture and analyze data. Examples of DBMS software include the following.
From the figure above, we can define the following.
A relational database is a type of database that stores and provides access to data points that are related to one another. Oracle
In a relational database, data is stored in tables otherwise known as relations. Each row in a table contains data about an entity. Moreover, each row has a unique ID, which is referred to as a key (see this article for more information on database keys.). Note that an entity is anything (person, place, or object) we can store data about. The columns of the table contain data of a particular type and contain data about the attributes of the entity.
Flat file databases are super simple and store data in a single table structure, which makes them easily readable by many software applications.
On the other hand, relational databases have multiple tables and enable the cross-referencing of records between tables. In addition, relational databases leverage “indexes” therefore you can easily find records based on particular search criteria.
In this article, we have explored the following.
What is a business process? - A set of activities performed by an employee or a system to achieve a particular business goal.
In addition, we have explored the components of a business process and explored why we need to understand business processes.
Later, we were introduced to the following concepts data, databases, and database management systems. Moreover, we briefly explained the components of a database (see Fig. 1) and defined the notion of a relational database. In addition, we described the main difference between a flat-file database and a relational database.
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