Based on feedback from clients and earlier surveys, I have compiled and listed the benefit themes below:
Business Agility: Faster reactive and proactive time to market
Decision Making: Test rule-based scenarios at lower cost
Revenue Opportunities: Greater product, pricing and flexibility
Customer Satisfaction: More-customizable products and services
Compliance; Greater visibility into policy adherence
It strikes me that many companies who think they have either a unique process or a lot of process variations actually do not - they have a standard set of activities that must be assembled dynamically based on the circumstances, customer etc. This leads to a rules-first approach to defining the process and much simpler processes. This is particularly useful when you start considering case management processes where using the rules to determine what state the case has reached and what, therefore, is the right next step is a clearly better approach.
OpenLexicon is an open-source business rules and process management tool that rapidly develops applications for transaction and process-based applications. OpenLexicon is known for providing high performance solutions and has been used in a number of enterprise-level applications. You can read about these here . You can use either product separately or in concert. There are two main components of OpenLexicon: the metadata repository and the business rules engine. Major components of OpenLexicon are released as open source software under the OpenLexicon OpenSource License. A good overview of the business rules approach is available here .OpenLexicon has a Wizard that is a web-form based collaborative tool for building business rules and business use cases. For a brief overview of the wizard, look at this link . We have designed the Wizard for non-developers and analysts with light technical skills. It features a richer experience for the users on the web, traditionally only offered by thick-client UIs. The collaboration team assembles groups of business rules into a business use case and published in a metadata file or the database. OpenLexicon provides solid support for web services. You can read about the OpenLexicon WSDL here . There is also an eclipse plug-in for web services here . You create complex application behavior with OpenLexicon’s process management. OpenLexicon can build an application reads data from a file, performs reference data lookups, validates the entire object, and then stores it in a database table. You can read about this here . Plus, you can build the application in the Wizard while writing no code! OpenLexicon also supports web services. A simple architecture diagram for OpenLexicon is included here .
Vor einigen Tagen fand ich einen Artikel, der auf sehr anschauliche Weise erklärte, weshalb der Business-Rules-Ansatz so wichtig ist. Es sind immer noch wenige Experten, die von jener Relevanz des Business Rules Managements (BRM) ausgehen. Drei entscheidende Fragen werden sich all jene stellen, die ernsthaft über einen Einsatz von BRM sprich automatisierbaren Geschäftsregeln nachdenken:
1. Was sind die Vorteile von Business Rules, die ein zusätzliches Investment rechtfertigen?
2. Warum sollte man nicht nur die Regeln codieren?
3. Werden die Regeln verlässlich funktionieren und vor allem sich reibungslos in das System integrieren lassen?
Vergleichbar mit BPMS werden nicht alle Anwender diese komplexe Funktionalität eines BRMS in gleichem Umfang nutzen. Entscheiden für einen Einsatz eines komplexen Management von Geschäftsregeln ist die Komplexitiät der Regeln. Grundsätzlich entscheidend für den Einsatz von regelbasierten Prozessen ist ja immer noch, wieviele Prozesse automatisierte werden können/müssen, wie komplex diese Prozesse sind und wie “teuer” es ein Unternehmen kommt, diese Prozesse nicht zu automatisieren. Entscheidend für den Einsatz eines ausgewachsenen BRMS ist deshalb immer noch, wie schnell ein Unternehmen auf Veränderungen am Markt reagieren können muss, wie agil ein Unternehmen sein muss.
For those of you that could not make it, I wanted to give you the gist of what I presented. This presentation covers the evolution of the business rules technology focusing first on the drivers that forced the market to shift its focus from Business Rules Engines (BRE) to Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS). In a nutshell, the main ideas are summarized below. In a few days, the recording will also be posted on our community site for your convenience.
Rob sees three key areas where rules can help:
Tighter warranty controls
Claims processing is improved because financial limits, detailed coverage types, materials return and more can be automated and rapidly changed when necessary. The rules also allow “what-if” testing and impact analysis.
Better built vehicles
The decision making is tracked very closely thanks to rules so you can analyze specific repair types, specific VINs and so on. More effective parts return and generally better information also contribute.
Lower cost repairs
Rules allow goodwill repairs, labor-only repairs and specific kinds of repairs to be managed very precisely. Rules-driven decisioning can reduce the variation of costs between dealers and help intervene, rejecting or editing claims that seem overly expensive. The ability of rules to deploy data mining and predictive analytics can also really help here.
The power of Decision Management in this kind of scenario is threefold.
Firstly it focuses on the decisions themselves - what decisions matter to the customer interaction. This ensures that the data being collected and used is that which will make a difference. Beginning with the decision in mind in this way focuses analytics and data gathering.
Secondly it allows the decision to be made consistently across channels so that customers get the same service from the agent at the gate, the call center, the service center or the kiosk. Operational BI assumes there is a person to make the decision and so cannot deliver this true cross-channel consistency.
Thirdly, Decision Management recognizes that policies and regulations matter as much, sometimes more, than data. Presenting the data and even its analysis to someone who then fails to follow procedure is not helpful. Decision Management combines the policy aspects of a decision with the analytic aspects in a way Operational BI does not.
Folks who have been in event processing fields like network management (NMS) or security management for many years have a very high expectation for processing complex events. Most of the network and security management platforms on the market have basic rule-based processing available “out of the box” and most of these platforms have had the capability to process events in near-real time for decades. Adding a new “rules-based event processing platform” to the network and security management software mix does little to add any additional capability and certainly does not solve any nagging complex detection problems.
CEP module receives or intercepts a flurry of events and processes them with the objective of figuring out what those events are relevant for; it triggers the appropriate business processes or decision services
BPM module receives the request for a given process to be applied to a higher level entity (an application, a document...); it automates the steps defined in the business process
BRMS module is invoked with a given context to apply business rules; it makes a business decision
Substitute a standard web services interface for a speaking tube, a business rules management system for his encyclopedic knowledge of policies and regulations, data mining or predictive analytics for his customer knowledge and adaptive control for his experimentation and you have Decision Management. The Answerer but on an industrial scale.
Every organization has 4 other domains in which BPM projects are executed; Corporate Performance Management (CPM), IT architecture Management (ITAM) and Governance Risks and Compliance (GRC), Core Application Framework (CAF/SAP). The Enterprise BPM framework can be also used in all these domains, which results in 5 maturity models including the ERP/SAP maturity model (see figure below).
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M. zur Muehlen, M. Indulska, and G. Kamp. ER '07: Tutorials, posters, panels and industrial contributions at the 26th international conference on Conceptual modeling, page 127--132. Darlinghurst, Australia, Australia, Australian Computer Society, Inc., (2007)