Analytics & Optimization What do the analyst firms say about business rules?


There have been some posts around asking what coverage the leading analyst firms have of business rules. This has been picking up of late with Gartner, IDC and Forrester all doing some coverage. Here are some searches to help you find it: Gartner - tend to call business rules solutions BREs, work by various analysts but mostly by Jim Sinur (now joined by Dave McCoy) including a Magic Quadrant and market sizingIDC -  mostly work by Steve Hendrick including some market sizingForrester - mostly by John Rymer. None of the open source products, such as Drools, are getting coverage here presumably because the analysts don't get asked questions about them (not sure if this is cause or effect). In answer to the comment posted: I think the analyst firms should, and likely will, comment on the value of open source products in the context of the products in which they are embedded. I doubt they will comment on them as rules engines per se unless they get asked by their corporate clients to so do. Nothing stops reviewers sending in articles to magazines or...

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Analytics & Optimization Starting with Legacy Rules


At least 50% of our BR projects involve excavating "rules" from existing legacy code.  This does not mean simply chopping existing code into smaller pieces and forward engineering them into new technology. It usually means trying to salvage the true business rules out of the code, correlating them to business vocabulary, and analyzing them for business value prior to putting them into newer technology (such as a BRE).  At odds is that the mining of rules from code requires very technical resources while the analyzing of them for business value requires knowledgeable business leaders.  How have people addressed this challenge?  What kinds of people and skills are needed for a project that starts with mining rules from code, then analyzes them for business reasons, then forward engineers them into a BRE?  Do such projects often involve mining rules from code and from documents and from peoples' heads?  If so, how are these rules integrated safely into an automated solution that makes sense?  (We are finding that this is a...


Analytics & Optimization CIO Insight and EDM


Saw this interesting piece in CIO Insight - Top 30 Trends - and a number of them caught my eye. Trend 2: Necessity Is the Mother of Velocity talks about teal-time decisions and change and improved agility for business processes. This is reinforced by Trend 26: Process Management Revs UpWell Business Agility is one of the core benefits of an EDM approach, enabled by the use of a rules management platform. Real-time decisions realistically means automated decisions - the odds that a person can make a decision in "real time" for a customer when that customer lives in the modern 24x7 world seem slim. Business rules add agility to business processes. Sometimes process agility means having a process that changes quickly, sometimes it means running the same process with a different decision. Trend 3: The Web Becomes the Front Line For Customer Service Their goal is to provide an alternative service channel, rather than a cheap replacement for their customer service reps. CIOs claim customers are happy with their use of the Web and other technologies for...

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Analytics & Optimization If poor decisions are the problem, what’s the answer?


Interesting article in this month's Intelligent Enterprise - Voice of Our Readers: The 2006 Strategic Management Survey. Some interesting insights on the BI market and other things but one comment leaped out at meA significant portion of the workers in my business frequently make poor decisions because they can't get enough useful information.This statement was strongly agreed with across the board - regardless of company size. I suspect that many would use this as justification for more and better investments in business intelligence software. Now me, I would look at the phrase "significant portion" and think to myself "I wonder if the people who can't get good information are people poor at using Excel who lack analysis skills" and "I wonder if the people who make bad decisions are in jobs with low skill requirements and high turnover". If, as I suspect is often the case, these two things were both true I might think that what I have here is a sign that I need to adopt an Enterprise Decision Management approach and deliver insight...

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Analytics & Optimization The Harvard Business Review focuses on Decisions


In this month's (January 2006)  Harvard Business Review there are a whole series of articles on decisions and decision-making. You can see the table of contents on the site. I will write something about a number of these articles over the next week or so as decisioning is something close to my heart. It also reminded me about a great article published some time ago in HBR by a colleague of mine - Little Decisions Add Up - on Decision Yield. The first one I would like to cover is this - Who Has the D? Now those of you without subscriptions will only be able to see the abstract on the link - sorry. This article is a fascinating look at how organizations can become more decisive. A couple of quotes seem to me particularly relevant if one is considering how Enterprise Decision Management can make an organization more decisive.The authors outline an approach called "RAPID" - Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, and Decide.I liked this approach with its clear definition of roles - who recommends action, who has to agree, who has input and who actually...

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Analytics & Optimization If you are building a tax system, use a business rules engine. Please!


Another interesting piece in Computerworld today - Buggy App Causes Tax Problems in Wisconsin. This sounds like the classic piece of government tax software - lots of problems. The system "was designed to automatically process sales and use taxes and to determine how much revenue is distributed to Wisconsin's 58 counties and two professional sports districts". As I was reading it, though, some great comments leapt out at me:She attributed the bulk of the problems to "design flaws" in the system as delivered by CGI-AMS in December 2002. In an e-mail, a CGI-AMS spokeswoman said that "the system was designed according to the original specifications. We are committed to working with the DOR to resolve outstanding issues" without charge. Well this is a classic. The state says it is all caused by design flaws while the developer says it was designed to meet the specifications. Of course, both of these could be correct! Just becuase a system is designed to meet the specifications written at the start does not mean it will not have design...

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