Analytics & Optimization Business Rules as a solution to Healthcare problems

Nov232005

This article - IT Could Help Ailing Health Care Systems - led with the statement that "Health care systems across the developed world are struggling to coordinate care and keep patients informed about what their medications do. That's the conclusion of a report released this month by the Commonwealth Fund."The United States scored markedly worse than other countries in terms of patients' access to health care, financial burdens placed on patients, errors and efficiency, but patients in all countries reported high rates of mistakes, poor care coordination, and otherwise deficient care.So why have healthcare providers not implemented systems to fix or at least improve some of these problems. Well, of course, many have tried. One of the reasons for failure is, I think, the problems caused by the usual mismatch of IT and the "business". Many projects, in all kinds of industries, suffer from this - the business understands the problem but not the technology used to try and solve it and the IT folks don't really understand the business problem. In...

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Analytics & Optimization Making the Most of SOA

Nov222005

In this Information Week article SmartAdvice: Making The Most Of SOA a number of excellent points are made. A couple reinforce the value of business rules in the context of an SOA:Emphasize coarse-grained business services: Business services contain more logic than component services, so they encapsulate more business value, are more difficult to create, and are more costly to get wrong. Engage your customers, analysts, and other stakeholders to understand their current and future requirements. Design service interfaces that facilitate reuse and extensibility. Focus on quality over quantity.I wrote about business services and rules yesterday and Thomas Erl discusses them at length in the webinar I reference. One of the core value propositions of a business rules management system is the ability to let "customers, analysts and other stakeholders" directly manage the business rules in their service. This helps eliminate mismatches between requirements and implementation.Automate as much as possible: Where possible, build services to automate manual steps...

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Analytics & Optimization Business Services, SOA and business rules

Nov212005

Thomas Erl, well known SOA author, recently presented on Business-Centric SOA: Using Service-Orientation to Express Business Logic and Rules through Services through TechTarget's network. We sponsored this as we believe that there is a great synergy between the business-centric SOA approach Thomas discusses and business rules management systems like Blaze Advisor. As the webinar intro says "One of the greatest challenges organizations are facing is how business logic and rules relate to and can be expressed through services." In the webinar Thomas goes through how to think of SOA in terms of different service layers. When you do that, it becomes clear the one value of business rules in the orchestration of services - see this note and indeed this section on this blog for more - but the other is in the construction of what Thomas calls "entity-centric" services. These services are often decision-heavy and embedding decision logic in them helps both eliminate manual reviews and enable more reuse - a service with automated decisioning can be...

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Analytics & Optimization If all business application software is the same, can business rules make you unique?

Nov172005

I subscribe to Computerwire and in today's opinion piece "Computerwire Directions" the headline is "Is All Business Applications Software the Same?". The most pertinent paragraph seemed to me to be:"However, the conclusion does highlight the dilemma facing vendors. On one hand they need to be seen to have parity with their peers with near identical functionality, and are increasingly providing pre-defined vertical functionality, pre-configured business process based on best-practice guidelines, and pre-prepared reporting, suggesting that they believe their customers have a high degree of uniformity. This begs the question that if their customers in a particular vertical sector have a high degree of commonality, why shouldn't competing business software vendors? Yet they also have to demonstrate their uniqueness, and this takes the form of different architectural approaches. Despite this, the end result is the same: these days, a move to service-oriented architecture based around processes, not transactions."It seems to me that one way...

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Analytics & Optimization webMethods Fabric and Blaze Advisor

Nov172005

Today webMethods and Fair Isaac made what I think is a great announcement - webMethods will incorporate Blaze Advisor as the embedded rules engine for future editions of webMethods Fabric™. Now Fabric is webMethods' flagship solution for SOA/business integration so why is it important that it will embed Blaze Advisor? Firstly, as you can see elsewhere on this blog, there is great synergy between SOA and business rules and between BPM and business rules. Having webMethods embed Blaze Advisor just goes to reinforce this. Several analysts have been talking about the need for platform vendors to have a decent rules offering and webMethods has picked the best. Secondly webMethods Fabric is really aimed at letting business users control processes/integration. Blaze Advisor will help extend that business user control to the business rules in the platform using its powerful template and rule maintenance capabilities. Lastly it allows companies to rapidly adopt business rules in their integration/BPM platform and then seamlessly share those rules across a universal...

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Analytics & Optimization Fix the requirements mess – use business rules

Nov152005

An interesting article on Fixing the requirements mess in CIO magazine caught my eye today. Christopher Lindquist does a good job of discussing some of the challenges, and some of the potential solutions, when it comes to requirements and shows how these are key issues for CIOs. I wrote on this topic once before - Writing Better Requirements - Key to Success or false hope? - and I stand by what I said there. I don't believe that writing better requirements is ever going to work as long as those requirements are descriptions of how the business needs to operate as distinct from how the system needs to operate. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, clearly one can improve the requirements process to ensure that technical requirements relating to how the system operates, looks, performs, integrates etc can be documented effectively by business folks and then implemented by IT folks. What I do not believe is that it is useful or even possible to try and have business folks articulate how their business is supposed to operate - the business rules of their business if...

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Analytics & Optimization Why are business rules better than traditional code?

Nov152005

There are a number of advantages gained by expressing business logic in business rules and using the processing and management facilities included with a business rules management system to work with them. In brief summary: The separation of decision logic from mechanical implementation gives you more flexibility to make changes with minimal or zero impact on basic systems operation. Business rules are more understandable to business-level people, leading to better business/technical cooperation, reduced implementation times, and fewer opportunities for interpretation errors. Business rules are easily segmented into groups for control over functional interaction and management. Business rules management systems like Blaze Advisor have interactive testing, execution flow, cross-reference tools, and reporting features to aid in development, testing, and documentation. Business rules management systems have predefined rule replacement features to handle system updates without interrupting service to application users. Business rules can have...

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Analytics & Optimization CRM, and rules, at the ATM

Nov152005

I saw this little snipper on the Credit Union Journal Daily today:Wincor Nixdorf will unveil a new customer relationship management solution that will interact with ATMs, at the annual BAI Retail Delivery Conference Tuesday. The company's ProClassic/ProSales CRM software will give credit unions and banks the ability to make direct, personalized contact with customers at the ATM, including advertisements, messages, surveys or other information. With ProClassc/ProSales, the customer's response is delivered directly to the marketing system and acts as a link between the institution's existing CRM system and its ATM network. This will help the financial institution to generate revenue through third-party advertising, reduce advertising costs and increase customer loyalty through personalized marketing and sales campaigns. This is fascinating to me as I presented on this very topic - how to push truly personalized decisions to the point of contact with a customer (e.g. an ATM) at InterACT Budapest recently. What is interesting to me is that the CRM system and the ATM...

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