The Decision Model: Business Rules Grow Up

The Decision Model: Business Rules Grow Up

The world of business rules and business rule management has grown up. Welcome to the world of business decisions—a much more compelling technique with which companies can manage their operational business policies.

Until now business decision analysis and maintenance—the means by which business logic is discovered within current business practices, mined from opaque legacy systems, represented in transparent format and managed as a business asset directly understood by business subject matter experts—has been rather vendor-specific and lacking in rigour and scalability. Many methods are available (e.g., EDM, ABRD and BRS), but all are either lacking in formal structure, subjective and/or poorly supported by tools. Developments of the past few years have changed this.

With the advent of The Decision Model (TDM) and tools (like BiZZDesign, Sapiens DECISION and OpenRules) that support it, an era of new rigour and effectiveness has dawned within enterprise decision management.  TDM, a precise method and framework for expressing business decisions, has addressed many of the flaws of business rules and prompted a slow evolution from business rules to business decisions. We examine these flaws, what TDM can do for you and the promise and power of this approach. (more…)

Are Business Rules Really Owned by the Business?

It is the stated intent of business rule management systems (BRMS) to support a partnership between the business and IT: they empower business users to own, maintain and test their enterprise business rules, whereas IT departments have the responsibility of integrating the rule system effectively with the infrastructure of the organization and preserving the integrity of production systems. In effect, IT are providing the business with a sandbox environment to control the decision making of their enterprise with true agility. But does it work this way in practice? (more…)

Business Rules without a BRMS

Occasionally, after delivering a design proposal for the use of Business Rule Management System (BRMS, or ‘rule engine’) in relation to a specific business problem, we’re asked:

We like the idea of using business rules for this, but is the use of a commercial BRMS really warranted? Our rules are really simple. Couldn’t we make do with a home grown product, perhaps based on a database or spreadsheet?

This is a fair question and it deserves a considered answer.

In this article I discuss the value proposition of BRMS, the pitfalls of clients attempting to develop their own tools to fulfil this function and how this approach can, in the long term, be more expensive than buying a commercial product. (more…)

When To Choose Open Source BRMS

The cost effectiveness of open source business rule management systems (BRMS) are surely self evident – they are free aren’t they? Isn’t that always better than paying a traditional vendor through the nose? Isn’t this decision one of technology’s no brainers? Well no, I don’t think it is… (more…)

Perils of Implementing Business Rules in CEP

Recently I encountered two potential clients, in the midst of selecting business rules support software for high volume transaction processing, who were actively considering a continuous event processing (CEP) platform as an alternative to a BRMS. Given that business stewardship of their business rules (as opposed to rules managed exclusively by their IT department) was a goal of both projects – were they right to consider CEP? I do not think so.

Occasionally the event processing requirements will mandate the sophistication of a CEP, but frequently they do not. In the latter cases a BRMS is a better solution. Find our what happened to the project who chose the CEP platform. (more…)