Business development

Table of contents


This report is written to fulfil the requirements of assignment 2 of 157.343, Business Modelling. The objective is to select a known business and using a ‘Business Vision View’ identify and evaluate one problem area, confronting the organisation, that has potential for improvement. Having selected the problem area for improvement, this report focuses on this aspect and uses UML modelling techniques to enhance the problem domain. A process of analysis using a ‘Business Process View’, a ‘Business Structure View’ and a ‘Business Behaviour View’, and associated modelling techniques is used to further identify the findings and implications of the specified problem . The report will discuss the findings, reach conclusions, and suggest recommendations, in line with best industry practice.

Business selection

The business selected for fulfilment of this assignment is Webforge NZ Ltd., a local manufacturing company that were willing to assist in my research. They offer an ability to study a relatively fledgling IT operation that has potential to develop, but must confront integration and development issues unique to their industry.

Management, although supportive, were limited by time to discuss in-depth problem issues.

Company profile

Webforge NZ Ltd is part of the Webforge Construction and Engineering Group. A detailed company profile is available at The Parent Company is Delta PLC, a London based international mining, galvanising, and electrical company operating in South Africa, North America, Australia, and throughout the Pacific. Delta has recently purchased the Webforge Group from Pacifica and is in a transition stage. Webforge NZ Plant is located in Tremaine Ave, Palmerston North, and employs 39 staff. Main revenue streams are from manufacturing gratings and handrails, subsequent galvanising processes, and the importation and sale of drainage and access covers. Aluminium sunshields are also distributed on behalf of Webforge Australia. The 2004 budgeted turnover is NZ $8m, of which the IT budget is $25,000 for general operating expenses, and $40,000 for upgrade proposals. This is less than 1% of total turnover. The company organisational structure, as attached in Appendix 8.1, shows no separate IT/IS division.

Only two staff have IT as part of their job function, and control is maintained through the operations manager.

Use of UML business modeling

Universal Modelling Language (UML) was originally designed for software engineering but through the use of stereotype extensions Hans-Erik Eriksson and Magnus Penker, in their book ‘Business modelling with UML; Business patterns at work’ (2001), demonstrate how to adapt and customise the concept for business modelling. This book has been extensively used for the analysis and production of this report in conjunction with the course slides and handouts. The opportunity to model Webforge provides a chance to depict an abstraction of how the business functions. It allows for the “Visual depiction of functions and relationships that are usually difficult to visualise clearly”. It can assist in the understanding of existing job and business functions and the identification of problem issues and potential areas to gain in efficiency or effectiveness. Modelling tools may be utilised as a means of specification to identify the real needs and wants of the organisation.

They can also be used as an exploration tool, for proposed additions and alterations, to determine the suitability of, and potential for, integration into existing systems. UML’s use of nine predefined diagrams assists in the capture and depiction of the structure, behaviour, and processes, of the organisation. Three primary categories are used to breakdown and display business function:

  • Physical attributes:- machines, materials, and products.
  • Abstract:- debts, instructions, services.
  • Processes:– transformation functions that refine or use inputs to produce outputs.

This report will focus on the use of ‘Class, Object, Statechart, and Activity diagrams to present these attributes and business views.

This use of vision and mission statements, SWOT analysis’s, and conceptual models of the ‘Now’ situation, act as the foundation for subsequent modelling and problem analysis. The identification of Critical Success or Critical Failure Factors (CSF’s & CFF’s) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are also instrumental in the identification of elements that assist growth or avoid failure. Elements of the Business Vision View should include Internal and external influences. Internal considerations include information and work flows, present and desired profitability, and desired service levels. External analysis should encompass customer identification, competitor activity, company size and influence in the industry, public perception, and economic, political, and social influences. Business Process View U3/17-20 The Business Process View is at the centre of business modelling, and is based on the Business Vision View. It represents the activities and value created in the business and illustrates the interaction between the processes and resources.

Ultimately the Process View will demonstrate the required activities to achieve the desired goals. The structures among the resources in the business such as the organisation of the business or the structure of the products created. Shows the structures of: Resources, Products and Services, Information. Does NOT show the structures of sub-processes. The business structure view is used to compliment and supplement the Business Process View. They are often depicted simultaneously using class and object diagrams. Business Behaviour View The individual behaviour of each important resource and process in the business model. BBV is a ‘State”. A state decides what may happen, which actions will occur if a state changes, and how an object can be made to enter a specific state.

Diagrams (100 word each + 1 ref each) Conceptual Model NOW situation Class diagram Hi level Defines concepts used in business Defines relationships between the concepts Object Diagrams – Goal Problem Diagram E & P p.35 Object diagrams explain and illustrate complex class diagrams. They are static diagrams that depict a snapshot of objects and their relationships at a given time. An object diagram of objects and their relationships Hi level goal broken down into sub-goals Stereotype <> Relationships between goals are dependencies and associations. Includes the concept ‘problem’ continuous or temporary. (U2/23) Can develop a goal/problem action plan for temporary problems, which could contain <>, <>, <>, and <> stereotypes, depicted in a notation symbol. ??? Goals must have : Description (string) Value: (Qualitative or Quantitative integer) Unit of measure: (String) Includes 3 things **** Activity Diagrams (Process Diagram) p.58 Activity diagrams are used to describe activities and actions taking place in a business environment, depicting internal organisational processes. eg p 107-108 – U3/17-20 The architecture of any business can be depicted through the process diagram by illustrating the four common business concepts of ‘Resources’, ‘Processes’, Goals, and Rules.

The process diagram uses UML <> extensions that describe the activities performed within the processes and how they interact (E & P, 2000, p.107-111) (U3/20). The model includes: Process Activity is a stereotype that describes the internal steps taken in the transformation process. It may include other internal processes. Goal objects from the goal problem diagram are shown above the process as dependent. A description of the goal and a qualitative or quantitative measure is required for definition. Input Objects depict materials and resources that are consumed or refined in the process. They are depicted to the left of the process as in the standard transformation model. Standard classification stereotypes include <> eg raw materials, <> eg; orders, <> eg; legal guidelines or benchmarks, and <>. Output Objects are conversely depicted to the right of the process and represent the physical production or refinement of the inputs. Supplying Objects differ from inputs in that they participate in the transformation process but are not refined or consumed.

These objects are stereotyped with <> and are typically drawn below the process. Controlling Objects, typically drawn above the process, depict resources that control or run the process. Dependency Lines display the connectivity between objects and the process, by use of a dashed line, indicating that they are all resources. Class Diagrams (E&P< 2001 p.119) (U1/**) (U1/17) Describes the structure of a system . A class describes a set of objects that share some essential features such as attributes, operations, and relationships. The combination of the objects build into Objects are described by their internal properties, including, <> such as people, materials, and products, <> such as services, information, and knowledge. They may include an attribute, which, is an assigned quality inherent in the object and operations, which describe the performance of a process. An association depicts a relationship between two or more categories.

A generalisation is used to organise objects in hierarchies.

A statechart shows what triggers a change in state and how objects react to events occurring around it. Their dynamic nature depict the flow of an object when an event occurs. The use of a statechart diagram incorporates: start, end, and intermediary ‘States’ , ‘Events’ that cause a state transition from one state to the next . Actions, which notate the activities performed either in a specific state or when going from one state to another.  There are four types of events: Call events – call an operation that affects the attribute of an object. Time events – they change after a given time. Signal events – when objects are sent or received. Change events – when there is a chance in attribute value. Ah Ha A class icon typically displays a name, attributes, wether the attributes are public or private, and a scope.

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