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Live from Brainstorm: The Vision for Business Rules

Barb von Halle gave this excellent overview of business rules. She again showed the KPI Rule Maturity Model. She reviewed some very relevant results from a survey of companies that KPI did around the leading reasons for adopting rules to which I have appended my own thoughts:

  • Agility - how fast can I respond to change?
  • Knowledge retention - what happens when my experts retire?
  • Compliance - can I demonstrate compliance in high volume processes?
  • Consistency - can I make the same decision, the same way over and over?
  • Stronger strategy/business/IT alignment - can decisions ripple down effectively?

She talked also about four specific cases, for some of which I have great examples:

  • Business rules as an additional requirement tool
    No good case study here as I typically don't work with customers doing this. The use case book I reviewed recently - Use Cases - Requirements in Context - is a great addition to your library for this case though. Barb made the great point that you must remember that rules and not the same as requirements as rules have a much faster change cycle.
  • Business rules approach leading to a business rules management system
    Well most of my customer case studies are like this but I think Sun's use of Blaze Advisor is a classic.
  • Business rules approach used for legacy modernization
    Another common use of business rules and I like to think the award-winning California DMV system is a great example of a $4B system being modernized with rules.
  • Business rules approach as a vehicle for business transformation
    The use of business rules, often with business process, to transform a business approach is potentially very powerful and Auto Club Group's underwriting project is a good example.

There was also some great discussion on business rules enabling collaboration between IT and the business (rather than necessarily putting the business "in charge") and on the potential value of a business rules Center of Excellence. She also laid out a vision for the kinds of technology needed to support the full rule maturity model. Excellent as always.

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