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Posted on April 27th, 2014, by

Data flow diagram – context

Context level data flow diagram is used to show data flows between the system and external entities (actors), thus showing the top-level interactions of the system. Building blocks of such diagrams are actors, or entities, shown in boxes, as well as the system itself, shown in the centre of the diagram, and labeled lines between the system and entities showing the relationships and the directions of data flows.

In the considered case, 10 possible external entities (actors) have been identified: customer, sales representative, campaign manager, employee, management, sales department, purchasing department, accounting department, self-service website and external e-commerce websites.

Main data flows between New Age Ltd.’s campaign and advertising tracking system and external entities are the following. The system sends data to customers (contacts leads); customers do not send back directly data into the system.

Sales representatives upload client info and store it in the system, and receive information from the sales department using the system (so there is a two-way movement of data). Campaign managers send feedback about clients as input to the system, and receive a list of documents regarding their campaign as system outputs. Campaign managers can also assign tasks for employees, so the employees get these tasks as inputs from campaign managers. Employees also get assignments in campaign emails from the system, and enter updates about task completion and status to the system.

Management receives monthly reports as system output (and is not supposed to enter inputs directly into the system). System outputs in the form of client information (campaign status, promotions, costings, reference numbers etc.) to the self-service website used by the company’s clients. Sales departments enters promotions into the system (inputs), and receives client info as outputs. Accounting department generates sales reports and sends them into the system, and receives information about royalties and commissions.

Purchasing department receives campaign info as system output, and does not send specific data as system inputs directly. Finally, external e-commerce sites receive info about campaigns from the system, and send back the results of external sales. Thus, the context level data flow diagram lists major actors involved in data interchange between the system and external environment, shows data flows, meaning of these flows and data directions (inputs or outputs) between the system and external entities (actors).

Data flow diagram ”“ level 0

Level 0 data flow diagrams are a detailed expansion of context level data flow diagrams. Level of data flow diagrams show more details of the system, namely processes (sub-systems), focused on data flows to or from external entities (actors), internal storages of data and data flows within the system (between different parts of the system). The goal of data flow diagrams level 0 is to shape how the system will be working, what it will target to accomplish, and also show the details of the implementation of the system. Such diagrams are of high importance to end users and external entities as well as for the team working on the project.

In the case of New Age Ltd.’s new Campaign and Advertising Tracking system, level 0 diagram illustrates sub-processes, internal data storages and internal data flows of the system, showing the whole process from the campaign launch up to the start of the live campaign. The external entities (actors) are listed on the level 0 data flow diagram are the same as on the context level data flow diagram. In this scheme, in colored boxes the external entities are listed, in boxes with rounded circles processes are showed, in smaller boxes data storages/outputs are listed (marked as DX, where x is the number of the storage/output), and arrows represent data flows.

Overall, the following processes were outlined at level 0: 1 ”“ launch of new campaign, 2 ”“ storing sales figures, 3 ”“ calculation of commissions, 4 ”“ recording of client information, 5 ”“ storing and generation of reports, and 6 ”“ live campaigns. The outputs/data storages which were identified at level 0 are: D1 ”“ client data, D2 ”“ campaign advertisements, D3 ”“ campaign sales, D5 ”“ contracts, and D6 ”“ reports. Data flows between external entities (actors), processes and data storages/outputs are shown in detail on the diagram.

Level 0 data flow diagram shows core functions, data storages and data flows in the system, as well as key participants of the system, and will be used as one of the main documents for designing and developing New Age Ltd’s campaign and advertising tracking system.


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