A process, as used in this ontology, is a complete sequence of business behavior that is triggered by an event and produces a meaningful business result.  Major subclasses of business processes are transactions, transformations, services, and maintenance.  Transactions can be primarily inward - bringing things into the enterprise (money, information, or other resources) or outward - sending things out (bills, products, by-products and waste).  Inward and outward transactions do not necessarily correspond to internal or external event types (e.g., a bill, going out, is triggered by an internal event).  Transformation (conversion) processes take resources as input (material and energy, or information) and transform them into other (value-added) states.  Service processes are less product-oriented and can be either passive from the customer viewpoint (haircut, restaurant meal, airline flight) or collaborative (consortium, information retrieval).

Figure 7

Processes are triggered by events.  Processes are composed of functions, invoked as needed.  Processes can be explicitly managed by individuals in the role of manager.  A process generally exists to produce a result, and may be evaluated by the effectiveness of producing the result, and the importance of the result to the enterprise.  Processes may be designed to alter situations, to resolve undesirable situations, or to maintain desirable situations.  As end-to-end sequences of functionality, processes intersect, or cut across the functional areas of the business (accounting, marketing, engineering, etc.)  A key purpose of the information resource of the business is to provide control for its processes.