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Live from EBRC - Developments in Business Rule Standards

I am blogging from EBRC and next up is John Hall of Model Systems talking about business rules standards (slides should appear on the site at some point).. John emphasized the need for business rules and business process to be more closely aligned, especially in terms of meta models etc. and the general growth in standards John emphasized that there is currently a lot of activity in 2007 - OMG is releasing business semantics, motivation and production rules (see this post on PRR); the first SBVR tools are becoming available; W3C Rule Interchange Format is making progress; OMG is focused on the intersection of business rules and business process and open source rules are growing. All of this means better tools, better integration, better alignment and a more business-centric focus. 

John described a basic scenario where Business Process and Business Rules being externalized. He showed how business rules can be executed by people while others are automated (so called production rules). Within manually operated rules, some can be supported by automation. You also need business rules management and today this is mostly focused on production rules - this is a gap as higher-level business rules need to be managed also.  Semantics of Business Vocabularies and Rules (SBVR) is about to be finalized and published for general use after a long gestation period. Production Rule Representation (PRR) is also underway as is the Rule Interchange Format (RIF) at W3C. Clearly these standards must relate to other standards. For instance, UML (classes, constraints) must be related to production rules and the business process models (BPDM, BPMN which are being brought together) likewise. John had a nice diagram showing how these are related that I will try and steal (stolen - here it is):


John also pointed out that a number of other standards are related: Two ISO standards are being adopted by the SBVR folks; Object Role Modeling is also related and was used in SBVR also; BPEL4WS which has some integration with BPMN and thus with OMG. Common Logic(CL) is another ISO standard that is also compatible with these things, OWL and RDF (semantic web standards) likewise. RuleML is another standards body John brought up doing work around business rules. OMG is trying hard to bring these models together. For instance, the Business Motivation Model is related to SBVR for rules and vocabularies as well as business process models.

John spent some time discussing SBVR which I won't repeat here but you can find in his slides or in notes on SVBR here and here over on RealRules. SBVR is really focused on this business layer not systems. Within SBVR there are operative business rules, many of which will map to production rules.

Going forward, bringing SBVR and business process together, with events as a core concept, will be critical. I have made a general note on standards and talked about the integration of rules, decisions and processes (a regular topic of analyst firms and blog posts) and how BPM/BI/SOA and rules come together. His slides are here.

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