≡ Menu

Here’s my contribution to the IT Services Stack


Jack van Hoof has a nice post this week on IT Services Stack: collaboration experiment in which he outlines an IT Service Stack and invites participation from those with opinions to try and flesh out a common set of definitions. I liked the overall stack but I have a couple of suggestions. Here are my highlighted changes:

You will notice that I replaced “Business Rules” with “Process Rules” in the process definitions section and explicitly added “Decisions”. Business rules, unfortunately or fortunately depending on your point of view, are a really good way both of automating decisions and defining processes (routing rules, assignments etc). I don’t find it helpful to lump these together for two reasons. Firstly, business rules about the process are tightly coupled to that process definition while business rules about business decisions are not. Secondly I think decisions is a more useful and more general term as it allows for analytically-driven decisions, not just rules-driven ones. I also added EDM or Enterprise Decision Management in the next tier to support this as I don’t think business decisions should be lumped in with SOA, EDA or BPM as I think decision support all three. I am assuming that the Process layer reflects the things that are relevant to the definition of a process and that the business applications layer is related to the software products that support these being developed in software.

Process Rules

Allows the definition of declarative business rules related to, and tightly coupled with, process definitions. This rules handle routing, assignment, branching etc. These process rules are related to activities and functions within the process and are managed by the BPM component.


Allows the definition of the business logic and analytic functions required to take a specific business decision – typically, but not always, related to customers and how they should be treated. In many ways this is a special type of activity but it does not change the state of the business, only suggest what change of state is appropriate.

EDM – Enterprise Decision Management

EDM is the approach and related software products that allows the definition and management of decisions. This includes defining and managing decisions, managing and executing the business rules necessary to make the decision, managing and executing the predictive and descriptive analytic models used by the decision, handling adaptive control (champion/challenger) to evolve and improve the decision and managing and executing optimization models.

Here is an edited version of his Powerpoint – Powerpoint 2007 file with edits

What do you think? Jack, anyone?


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jack van Hoof April 2, 2008, 2:23 am

    Thank you for your contribution, James. I like the decision management stuff you added.  I makes sense to me…