Rolando of the BIZRULES blog shared his thoughts on the recent International Business Rules Forum: a major shift being that people are no longer asking what they should do with BR, but are asking what else they can do with BR. He also references an Intelligent Enterprise article on balancing the control of business rules between business and IT.
I’m finding BR to be a bit of an uphill battle with many of my clients, in spite of the clear benefits of integrating a BRE with BPM to provide more business control over processes. Some BPM vendors, such as Pegasystems, are built on a BRE so that functionality is there from the start; most others, however, have recently built integration to one or more BRE’s to provide equivalent functionality. In either case, the ability to execute a business-controllled rule at a point in a process makes a lot of sense for both business and technology reasons: in-flight rules changes (typically not possible if you define the rules directly in a BPM vendor’s process definition logic); increased control by the business over the business rules; more robust decisioning features; decoupling of complex and changeable business logic from the process execution engine; and the ability to reuse the same business rules in other systems unrelated to BPM, such as CRM.
The concept of business rules isn’t new, but in my practice (focused on financial services and insurance), I see it primarily in insurance underwriting. Given the rules-driven nature of financial businesses in general, there’s a lot more out there that could beneft from business rules, with or without BPM.