Glossary of terms used in Pronto


Pronto is an acronym for PRocess ONTOlogie (credits: Michael Oosterhout, 2007).

The name Pronto is a derivative of the title of the book “Enterprise Ontology” (WorldCat, Google Books, GoodReads) written in 2006 by Jan Dietz.


NL: Prontologie

Prontology is a combination of Pronto and Ontology (credits: Hans Mulder, 2008).

The reasoning behind this combination is the goal of Pronto. The goal of Pronto is to quickly comprehend the essence of an Enterprise. An Enterprise can be a company or an organization.

Knowing the essence of an Enterprise should improve the change, decision and governance of this Enterprise.


Ontology is a term originating from the philosophy (Wikipedia, Stanford.Plato).

The Webster dictionary defines ontology as: “a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being”

The central question of ontology is: What is the essence of being?

(Business) Domain

NL: (Bedrijfs)domein

A business domain is the organizational unit that has her own accountability.

Accountability, also known as end-responsibility, is pivotal in Pronto. Accountability is directly linked to chains and to the ownership of transactions, processes and information (etc).


Accountability is the primary concern in Pronto. Pronto does not focus on responsibility.

Accountability is connected with end-responsibility and ownership.

Responsibility vs. accountability is about the difference between effort and result. The difference between responsible and accountable is the difference between who executes the task, and who is having the end-responsibility for the correct execution and the quality of the result.

Accountability covers the moments before (e.g. transactions and implement processes), during (e.g. monitoring and reporting) and after (take responsibility and accountability).

Who is accountable defines the rules and can do business. Who is responsible follows the rules and executes actions.

Super-/ Sub- Domain

NL: Super-/sub-domein

A hierarchical positioning above or under another business domain. A Super-Domain is able to define the rules a sub-domain needs to adhere to. The accountability of a domain is limited by the rules defined by the super-domain. The limitation of accountability can be the result of a transaction.

graph TB;
    A((Super-domain))-- rules -->B((Sub-domain))

Product/ Service

NL: Product / Dienst

The (physical) product or (non-physical) service satisfies the need of the customer. The reason of existence (purpose) of a domain is to have a value proposition (produces/ services) that is consumed by customers. This can be consummation by persuasion (free market) or via mandatory consummation (for example from the government).

Business Operations

NL: Bedrijfsvoering

The essential activities and ways how an enterprise produces and delivers their products/ services to their customers.

Essential is here used in the context of what is discovered and modeled by using Pronto.

(Business) Transaction

NL: (Bedrijfs)transactie

A transaction (type) is a building block of the business operation. A transaction is a tool to visualize (and design) the supply of a product or services to a customer.

A transaction describes in a structured way the collaboration between two domains and the mutual agreed commitments.

The customer is accountable and therefore is also a domain in itself.

Important Concepts

The base premise for the transaction is the customer - supplier model. This model is closely linked to the concept of providing a service or product and receiving compensation in return.

The transactions used in Pronto are a derivative from the transactions described by Jan Dietz in 2006 in his book Enterprise Ontology.

Delivering a product or services consists out of multiple customer transaction in co-existence. Every transaction is a possible “unit of re-use” for other business chains.


NL: Klant

The customer is the requesting party (actor) in the business transaction. A customer has a need and the supplier has the ability to satisfy this need.

A customer outside of the Enterprise is identified as the end-customer. A customer can also be from inside of the Enterprise as for example the requesting party in the transaction between two business domains.

In Pronto by default the customer is the end-customer. See also “Business Chain”.

(Business) Process

NL: (Bedrijfs)proces

A Business Process is the transaction translated into one business process. One transaction leads to one and only one business process. Every business process is therefore part of the business essence. The supplier is owner of the transaction and therefore the supplier is the owner of the business process.

Work Process

NL: Werkproces

A work process is also called an operational process. is a more detailed design of (part of) the business process.

An example of a more detailed design is for example a flow-chart.

A detailed design is not part of the essence, therefor a the work process is not part of Pronto and Pronto models.

(Business) chain

NL: (Bedrijfs)keten

To satisfy the customers need it is common for multiple domains to be involved. Domains can (only) collaborate via transactions between the domains. To satisfy the customers’ needs a chain of transactions is involved.

Synonyms for business chain are: value chain, transaction chain, process chain.

Customer Transaction

NL: Klanttransactie

A customer transaction is in Pronto synonym to a transaction. A customer transaction is the transaction that delivers the product/ service to the customer.

One product usually constitutes out of multiple customer transactions.

For example for the product “insurance” the involved customer transactions are at least the following six: the start, change and end of the insurance, claims, support and complaints.

A product is usually composed of multiple products. For example Let a car be the product of a car dealership, then it is not uncommon to have a service called maintenance, and a service called road assistance.

These services each have their own customer transactions and chains.

Transaction Phases

NL: Transactiefasen

A transaction consists of five (5) transnational phases. These phases have a specific order. These phases were first identified by Jan Dietz in his book “Enterprise Ontology” (WorldCat, Google Books, GoodReads).

  1. Request
  2. Promise
  3. Produces
  4. Deliver
  5. Accept
    participant K as Customer
    participant L as Supplier
    K-->>L: Request
    L-->>K: Promise
    activate L
      Note right of L: Produces
    L-->>K: Deliver
    deactivate L
    K-->>L: Accept

See (Main) Activity for the description of the five transnational phases.

(Main) Activity

NL: (Hoofd)activiteit

During every phase of the business transaction it is essential to identify the main activity in the business process.

The level of detail of the activity description is based on one of the following three considerations.

  1. provide overview and insight. What is happening in the process and what is not. Level: collaboration between domains that are accountable.

  2. Which main activities rely on other domains? Level: identify extra shackles in the chain.

  3. What is the information needed for the process?

    1. Which business information is needed by the process?
    2. Which business information is needed from the process by other processes?

Determination of the level of detail that is needed, is up for discussion. To guide the discussion it best

  • to start with the three considerations,
  • followed by the two basic principles (see below) and
  • when there is no (clear) conclusion in the end the owner of the transaction/ process can decide. The owner is the one that is accountable in respect to the transaction/ process.

(Business) Information

NL: (Bedrijfs)informatie

Business information includes all information required (needed) by all business processes in unison to do their work, and that are needed by them to be delivered or needed to deliver to other business processes. This includes the information delivered to or retrieved from external parties.

Examples of information are from a central governmental database, or reporting needed to be send internally or externally.

In the Pronto analysis the central point is that all information needs of all the business processes need to be fulfilled. It needs to be made explicit and un-ambiguous what is the source of the information. The information source and the information need are internal or external.

Information Flow

NL: Informatiestroom

Every information flow is represented by an “arrow” from the information object to the main activity.

When the arrow is incoming in perspective of the main activity, This represents the information needed for the business process.

graph LR;
    A[Information Object]-->B[Main Activity];

When the arrow is incoming in perspective of the information object, This represents the information needed for another business process.

graph RL;
    A[Main Activity]-->B[Information Object];

An information flow entails the identification of specific information, a and not generic information objects. For example address-information and not customer-information.

See also Information service.

Information Object

NL: Informatieobject

An Information Object is a collection of business information that from a logical point of view should be grouped together, For example all information regarding customers, and that share the same and only owner. It is often the case that the owner is the domain which provides the information or stores the information.

All the “incoming” information flows together define the total information needed for the enterprise. The sum of all the information flows together defined the content of the sum of all the information objects.

For each information object the following validation applies:

  1. is all information stored defined by an information need (read)
  2. do all the information fields sufficiently supported by administrative processes to create, update, and delete the specific information. And if this is not the case, this should be made explicit and accepted.
CRUD in English
C Create
R Read
U Update
D Delete

Create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) are the four basic operations on data. According to wikipedia the term was likely first popularized by James Martin in his 1983 book Managing the Data-base environment.

Information Service

NL: Informatieservice

Information services address the translation into Information Technology (IT). Information services therefore address information supply and not information need. Pronto addresses information needs and therefore does not address information services.

Information services are the result of the implementation of information flows. Information services are the “IT interface” to access and use the information from the information objects, enabling the create, read, update and delete operations on specific information in the information object.

The information flows defined in the Pronto Models are a good starting point to elicitation the IT-Requirements.

Last modified March 13, 2022: people (dce4d5a)