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Business rules, accelerating change and Decision Management


Randy Heffner had a post late last year that I just got to – Business 2011 Gets Faster; Business Rules And SOA Policy Get More Important. Randy makes the key point that while the pace of change means you cannot afford to lock up your business logic in traditional code, you also can’t just let business people write their own code as the reality of most company’s information systems is simply too complex. This, he rightly points out, sets up the value proposition for business rules.

With the business environment more uncertain than ever and the pace of change accelerating the pressure on companies to make their information systems more agile is growing – few companies can be more agile than their information systems. Using a business rules management system (BRMS) to externalize the logic in these systems so it can be rapidly and easily changed by business people and IT in collaboration can deliver this agility. But with increased competition, lower margins, complex supply and demand chains and customers’ expectations of real-time, personalized interactions these more agile systems must also be smarter. The good news is that, applied correctly, business rules can help with this too. By acting as a platform for more advanced analytics and making it easier for systems to learn and adapt, business rules make for smarter systems (or Smart (Enough) Systems).

Applying Decision Management transforms hard-to-change enterprise applications into action-oriented, flexible, predictive, smarter systems that learn and adapt – smarter systems. You don’t have to rip out and replace existing applications wholesale – you can use decision management to apply business rules and predictive analytics incrementally gradually building smarter systems. Smarter systems that are action-oriented, flexible, predictive, and learn and adapt:

  • Smarter systems are action oriented.
    Smarter systems act rather than wait—they don’t assume that people must take action but take action on your behalf when it is needed. A smarter system makes decisions.
  • Smarter systems are flexible.
    Smarter systems have all key business decisions and parameters visible, understandable and changeable in a business rules management system, not buried in software code or company manuals. The business is in the driver’s seat.
  • Smarter systems are predictive.
    Smarter systems use analytically-derived rules to turn your company data into insights about your customers, and your business. Smarter systems turn you away from the rear view mirror of business intelligence.
  • Smarter systems learn and adapt.
    Because smarter systems have all key business decisions and parameters visible, understandable and changeable, you can test how these decisions might be made differently. Smarter systems employ learning models and adaptive control so they get smarter over time, and you get better business results.

I recently wrote this post on legacy modernization using business rules (it has links to some other oldies but goodies) and you might want to check out a white paper I wrote on this – Smarter Systems for an uncertain world.