Jim Sinur, who is THE name in BPM at Gartner, has a recent article about business rules. He believes that BRE is finally out of the trough of disillusionment (a part of the Gartner “hype cycle”, and not a good part as you might guess by the name) and finally has the functionality and ease of use for mainstream usage:
Today’s rule technologies run well on all mainstream technology platforms and are being included in hybrid business and infrastructure solutions running in high-volume situations. Because of this change, a number of technology sectors are embracing and embedding rule technology, including Business Process Management (BPM), application integration, simulation, and Business Activity Monitoring (BAM).
He goes through 12 reasons to embrace rules technology (the BRE 12-step program, if you like), split across beginner, intermediate and advanced uses of BRE. Pretty much everything that you would ever need to convince your organization to take a good look at BRE is there, ranging from agility to cost savings to understanding the business to complex problem-solving to dynamic policy compliance.
BRE is definitely a boon to business agility if it’s used properly and control is (at least partially) in the hands of the business. As I’ve pointed out in the past, however, acceptance is still a bit of an uphill battle in spite of the obvious benefits. In particular, I consider BRE to be essential as a component of (or tightly integrated with) BPM in order to handle the necessary complexity, to allow sharing of rules across applications, and most importantly because it enables changing in-flight processes. Having BRE in your BPM also helps with your compliance initiatives as well as agility. Remember that BPM focuses on how people and systems interact, whereas BRE focuses on how decisions are made, and you really need both in order to build good process management.
By the way, I welcome any comments from the business rules experts (which I’m not) on the proper acronym for business rules these days: BRE? BRM? BRMS? Help me out!