I am a recent grad and do not have a lot of real-life experiences in IT. I am trying to apply for Systems & Procedure Analyst position and is being asked:

What is your understanding of the following four elements within a business entity? a. functions, b. procedures, c.workflow, and d. automation systems. There are so many ways to approach this question. Does anyone know what the employer is looking for here? Can some please give me some advice on how to tackle this question? Any help is greately appreciated!! Thanks!!!

Hmm, hard to say, but since it's a business model you'll probably be working with some kinda definition like this (using a hypothetical woodworking plant):

  1. Functions: The smallest possible breakdown of a task (the sander, for instance)
  2. Procedures: The process of completing a task (eg. milling to sanding to assembly)
  3. Workflow: The process for all tasks in a job (say, legs, top, and drawers for a desk)
  4. Automation systems: Could be a lot of stuff, like machine controlled assembly lines, automated reporting, resource management, payroll, etc..

I'd say that you shouldn't guess. Instead, ask the interviewer what he's looking for. The question is ambiguous, so the interviewer shouldn't turn you away just because you ask for clarification. Actually, that's better than just shooting from the hip because any good analyst gets as much info as possible before sitting down to work things out.