How to Identify Business Patterns, Part 2

Concepts, Strategy, and Techniques

March 11, 2004

This report is part 2 of our introduction to business patterns. It works through examples of Customer Scenario patterns that underpin a B2B procurement case study and identifies the business roles that will link this Customer Scenario pattern to entity-relationship patterns that will be covered in the next report.


This report, the second in our business patterns series, continues our introduction to business patterns, helping you identify patterns and “get them right” when designing your business prac-tices or IT services.

Business patterns are structured collections of business constructs that are found in most or-ganizations—for example, a group of entities with common relationships, a Customer Sce-nario® with common “I Want To” statements, or a template business process that groups work in common subprocess groupings.

In the prior report,  we introduced the example Customer Scenario that will be used throughout this series. We also presented a summary view of the Customer Scenario pattern that the ex-ample Customer Scenario instantiates.

In this report, we will examine that Customer Scenario pattern in detail. Our next report will discuss semantic (entity-relationship) patterns and will demonstrate the link between those and Customer Scenario patterns.


While each business is unique in its own ways and details, organizations actually are more alike than different. Many differences are superficial or coincident rather than necessary and inherent. The underlying commonalities form what we call business patterns.

Think of business patterns as recurring themes, structures, concepts, and practices—the things that “everyone does or has, one way or another.” Business Patterns are not a single type of “thing.” Rather, the notion of business patterns is an umbrella that encompasses recurring commonality in a variety of aspects of any business, including:

•    Customer Scenarios®. Patterns arise from common needs, desires, and expectations that customers bring to companies’ channels and touchpoints.
•    Event/Response Scenarios. Business events reflect occurrences and demarcations in the passage of time. Events are indicators that are measured or managed. Most businesses re-spond to similar events, creating patterns that underlie measurement and management best practices.
•    State-Transition Lifecycles. Patterns arise from commonality in the lifecycles of key business entities.
•    Use Cases. Patterns describe flow of work at a task and actor level of detail. Commonalities arise because similar work often is organized in similar ways in different companies.
•    Business Processes. Patterns express best practices in aggregating units of work to optimize performance for a customer, a company, a supply chain, or a trading network.
•    Data Structures and Semantics. Patterns arise from commonality in the meaning and structure of concepts upon which business is founded, the information that businesses use, and how businesses relate ideas.

This report will continue our discussion about finding patterns in Customer Scenarios. We will examine the case study Customer Scenario in more depth, and we will uncover multiple patterns of behavior and expectations that customers typically bring to buying in such situations. We also will identify roles and entities that will relate Customer Scenario patterns to data structure and semantics patterns, as well as event patterns in Moments of Truth (MOTs) and metrics...


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