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I am an IT engineer in Germany. I came across the term fachlich in a ‘Grobkonzept’ for a large project.

I understand what technisch means but I have trouble understanding the difference between fachlich and technisch.

The closest I have come to understand fachlich is that it means professional. But for a huge project, when we talk about fachliches Konzept, I just can’t seem to understand it or make a distinction between fachlich and technisch. Or could we perhaps use the word functional to translate fachlich?

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    What technisch definitely does NOT cover, are accounting topics, like payment plan, which could be part of someting called fachlich. Somewhat recursively defined I would say, that fachlich is less technical than technisch. – guidot Jul 6 '16 at 8:44
  • At the same time it's wider in scope, though: fachlich includes technisch, where appropriate, but not the other way round. – Ingmar Jul 6 '16 at 8:55
  • »Fachlich« is »according to the business«. That means: If you are developing software for a financial bank, then »fachlich« covers the needs of the bank. »Technisch« is »according to the technical implementation«. That means, which programming language you use, or which kind of database system. The bank-guys are not interested in those »technische Anforderungen« they have »fachliche Anforderungen«. – Hubert Schölnast Aug 20 '16 at 12:58
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I'm assuming you ask for "fachlich" with regards to IT design and requirements.

Traditional IT requirement analysis differentiates between functional and non-functional requirements.

This is expressed in German by

fachliche Anforderungen

(this refers to requirements stated by the business [i.e. "Fach"] problem that your software wants to solve)

and

technische Anforderungen

(this refers to requirements that stem from the technical IT environment)

In the same way, "Fachkonzept" refers to "functional requirement specification".

This deviation from English terminology has probably been taken because non-functional could be misunderstood as "nicht funktionierend" (i.e, "not working") in German.

Outside of IT, the usage of "fachlich" vs. "technisch" is a bit different and can be looked up in a standard dictionary.

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    I totally agree with your answer. More generalised one could say that 'fachlich' means the area of non-technical expertise - in IT it is the user. The model can be seen as "Fachkonzept" which provides the frame/conditions (knowledge, workflows, laws, rules, relations) whereas the implementation is the technical topic (specific servers, databases, roles and rights, restrictions, environment, platform etc.). – user22338 Jul 6 '16 at 15:00
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    e.g. fachlich: "We want to keep track of something so we need a database for a variety of records with certain relations" technisch: "We need two synchronised Windows servers with MS SQL server, load balancing and traffic shaping ..." – user22338 Jul 6 '16 at 15:07
  • Fachlich could be translated as 'in the domain of X', e.g. for audiological software, fachlich would relate to the parts (domain/expert knowledge) that come from the science of Audiology. – Mala Jul 31 '16 at 0:16
2

"Fachlich" refers to "subject matter" arising from use. This stems from the demand side of the equation.

"Technisch" refers to issues regarding the technique of production. This stems from the supply side of the equation.

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Even german IT specialists and their customers often do not know, what they excactly mean saying "fachlich" or "technisch". After being more than 20 years IT professional I can say, that the idea of using "fachlich vs. technisch" can be be applied in these situations:

  1. to distinct aspects, which customer must and can be interested in (fachlich) from those, which are not that interesting for customer (technisch). Especially it is true, if speaking about "Konzepts", what you asked.

  2. to express, that one is not responsible for a certain issue: "it's too 'technisch' for me" or "the problem is caused 'fachlich', not 'technisch' "

  3. (rarely) as synonyms for "functional/non-functional" (requirenments)

'fachlich' however definitely doesn't mean 'professional', when speaking about requirements and concepts in IT.

It is really hard...

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