Making Sense of the Concepts

The initial concept maps from the exploration phase are carry information about concepts and the terminology used.
Let us assume that we have been doing a bottom up analysis of three tables in a relational database:
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(Yes, they are some of Chris Date's favourite examples).

Step 1 must be: Draw a naive concept map of S, P, and SP. (Note that this first map is just to get us started; no particular symbolism is needed in the representation yet.)
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STEP 2 is: Visualize the implicit relationships between Suppliers, Parts, and SupplierParts:
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There is indeed a many-to-many relationship between S and P—only carrying the Qty as information. The relationship between Supplier resp. Part to SupplierPart are S# and P#, because they are the identities of S and P, respectively.

STEP 3: Name the relationships:
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Naming the relationships adds a new level of powerful information. Some relationships are rather vague (using the verb “has,” for example). Other relationships are much more business-specific (for example, “supplies.”) The data modeler must work with the business to find helpful, specific names for the relationships.

The presence of a verb in the relationship between supplier and city could well mean that it is not a straightforward property relationship. In fact, cities do not share identity with suppliers; suppliers are located in cities. (This is how to resolve functional dependencies.)

STEP 4: Resolving the functional dependency of city:
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All concepts in the preceding concept map, which have simple relationships (has, is...), and which only depend on the one and same referencing concept, can be reduced to actually being just properties of some concept, which represents a business object.

Visually we represent the properties like rounded rectangles and the relationship between object and property is without arrowhead:
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This representation now carries a lot of meaning. The relationships in particular communicate about processes going on, which are related to the Supply chain. At this stage we know much more about the business area, we have been exploring and mapping.
You may follow the sequence or explore the site as you wish:

You could also take a look at the book about Business Concept Mapping:

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