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BBC 2016: We got the Funding for Maturing our Business Rules & Process Management Capabilities – Now What?


Continuing to blog from Building Business Capability 2016 I am listening to Railin talking about next steps afterr getytingh funding for rules and process improvement. Railinc is a SaaS company supplying software to the rail industry. Railinc is modernizing how it implements rules and processes in their applications. The program covers all 6 product lines and up to 70 applications. This program designed to

  • Increase agility
  • Increase product quality
  • Increasse Railinc Knowledge
  • Reduce TCO

The program got approval in 2013, picked vendors and did technology PoCs in 2014 and last year focused on business methods for rules and process. A program was piloted in a single area. This year the program is enterprise-wide and is transitioning to include technology updates. Next year it is designed to wrap up with a transfer of operational ownership.

Change management, she says, is a journey and this program is mostly about change management. A plan and roadmap is good to keep the route and destination in mind but surprises, detours and side trips will happen! In this case, the plan had a clear set of target benefits but these are not a destination – the destination is the integration of these new technologies and behaviors into the company’s fabric, without needing a center of excellence, and shifting the focus to business-centric not IT-centric.

A big program, though, requires more specificity:

  • Become part of the fabric
    • New business analyst methods and tools around rules, vocabulary and stories
    • New technology like RedHat BRMS which means new (declarative) approaches
    • New governance processes and metrics, standards, audits etc
  • No need for a CoE to sustain
    • Empower business and IT leaders to drive and identify/fix behaviors that prevent this
    • Model behavior and take the hits as the program team, lead by example
    • Honest communication – reality about progress and minimize assumptions
  • Culture Shift to Business-enabled not IT-centric
    • Business ownership of externalized rules and process – very different from requirements with much more collaboration
    • Enable business operations – rule auditing, rules simulation
    • Increased collaboration

The overall approach is a classic change program:


Each year did different work streams. Business assessments started in one product line and expanded while business and technical POCs and development gradually added more applications to the scope. Training was across multiple business and technical rules and used learning by doing for a big part of it. Governance framework was designed early but not rolled out until later – piloting it now and planning a final rollout to wrap up. Operational metrics development is ongoing as this was not something the organization had.

One key lesson of this program is that delays and setbacks are integral to success – you have to embrace them and see them as opportunities for learning and growth.

It’s also important, she says, to understand “paved roads” on your journey.

  • Cultural Norms are important for instance so a change from IT driving to business ownership is a big deal and you must be clear about this.
  • Motivations have to change from schedule and budget to quality and agilty
  • Habits have to change from silos to collaborative
  • Change ownership has to go from the program team to operational teams

They have managed a lot of change with 7 compliant applications, 22 on the roadmap, 1,400 terms, they’ve changed their SDLC and developed a way to pick the technology, and over 75% of their analysts have been trained. In particular the analysts feel they have a voice and that the business/IT relationship has really improved.