Business Situation

The concept of a business situation as used here is derived from a body of work in an interdisciplinary field known as situation semantics.  A brief definition of a situation is "a structured part of reality that … [a person] somehow manages to pick out.”[6]  A situation is composed of a whole set of things in the world, their current state, and their interrelationships.  It is very powerful to think about classes of situations, such as .  At their most inclusive business situations are composed of all the environmental, societal, technological and marketplace factors that exert an influence on the business. Situations can represent reality beyond the business - a whole environment or industry - "the financial services marketplace".

A business situation is the source of requirements that are placed on a business, largely by the state of affairs outside the business.  It can both motivate and constrain what the business can aspire to accomplish.  A situation is created in large part by role-players, inside and outside the business, and it can be altered by the outcomes produced by the business.  A recursive relationship on situation means that a situation is composed of any number of other situations.

From an architectural point of view, the concept of situation allows us to reason about the external factors that are driving the business.  This allows us not only to understand the fundamental sources of information system requirements, it can enable us to predict such requirements before the business itself has articulated them.  We are looking for factors and trends in the marketplace that call for information system functionality, such as a move toward integrated supply chains in an entire industry.

Situations can be desirable, in which case the business will attempt to sustain them, or undesirable, in which case the business will attempt to change them.   Situations can arise from natural causes, or in the case of business, quite commonly are the result of legal issues.

The concept of situation is actually the heart of most service businesses, which manage more or less complex situations on behalf of their clients.  A classic example