A BRMS does not automatically give you the kind of environment you need, but it will allow you to develop one. You can use the ability to define templates, vocabularies and user interfaces for business rule editing so that business users feel like they are doing what they want to do: changing the way their business runs. A BRMS allows this editing to be available in their familiar environment, increasingly allowing rule editing to be “mashed up” with other aspects of a business user’s environment. Support for approval workflows in a BRMS allows the process of rule maintenance to be integrated into other tasks performed by the business, linking rule editing to the reports that prompt a change in eligibility rules or to the tasks that create new products requiring pricing rules. A BRMS also provides the impact analysis and simulation tools that will reassure a non-technical user that their changes will have the impact they expect, while also providing an environment that prevents them from making errors in rule editing.
Business users can and should be able to maintain a significant percentage of their business rules. It just takes a certain amount of thought and planning, and the use of a decent BRMS.
Adopting a BRMS and Decision Management
A BRMS is more than just a new programming tool or a new way to write logic. A BRMS enables you to move to decision management, bringing business decisions under the control of your business while delivering high throughput and repeatable, automated decision-making using decision services. The best practices for adoption are simple:
- Begin with decision discovery, identifying and modeling the decisions that matter to your business, to your business processes or to handling your business events.
- Build decision services using a BRMS so that your systems, services and processes can get the decisions they need made through a simple service call.
- Implement a decision analysis process to make sure you are tracking how well your decisions are being made and keeping the rules up to date.
Managing high-volume, operational decisions with business rules is a proven approach. A BRMS is a critical piece of software infrastructure that no modern IT organization should be without.
James Taylor is the CEO of Decision Management Solutions and is the leading expert in how to use business rules and analytic technology to build decision management systems. He is passionate about using decision management systems to help companies improve decision-making and develop an agile, analytic and adaptive business. He provides strategic consulting to companies of all sizes, working with clients in all sectors to adopt decision-making technology. Taylor is a faculty member of the International Institute for Analytics and is the author of Decision Management Systems: A practical guide to using business rules and predictive analytics (IBM Press, 2011). He previously wrote Smart (Enough) Systems: How to Deliver Competitive Advantage by Automating Hidden Decisions (Prentice Hall) with Neil Raden, and has contributed chapters on Decision Management to multiple books. He is a frequent contributor to Information Management and writes a regular blog at JT on EDM. You can follow him at @jamet123