Business Rules Technology Belongs In Your Architecture

Mike_Gualtieri_ForresterCheckmate! You're Toast.

Those are words you don't want to hear when playing chess. Similarly, you don't want to be checkmated in the rough and tumble of the business real world.

To win at chess and in business to you have to make smart decisions constantly and consistently - decisions that are guided by a carefully crafted strategy designed to checkmate your opponent or, at a minimum, to stay in the game. Deciding what moves to make in chess is hard enough even though it is just you and your opponent. The decisions businesses have to make everyday can be much more complicated and the stakes are much higher.

Where Is Your Decision Logic Implemented?

Most firms embedd them deep within its application code far from the businesspeople who understand the business rules best. That might be OK for business rules that do not change frequently. But, for business rules that change frequently or need that need to change quickly, there is a better way. Forrester has identified business rules technology as one of the Top 15 Technology Trends Enterprise Architects Should Watch and one of the 5 key changes app dev shops should make in 2010 (attend or replay the free Webinar Live: Tuesday, October 20, 2009, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time).

Avoid Checkmate. Include Business Rules Technology In Your Architecture

Business rules platforms (often called decision management) allow decision logic to be authored and executed external to you application. The result is better management and faster change of your business rules because:

  • The business rules are not embedded deep in application code such as Cobol, .NET, or Java code that only a programmer can change.
  • Business rules are executed consistently across all applications that need them because they are implemented once and shared for all applications that need the.
  • Businesspeople who understand the business rules can author and maintain the rules directly instead of explaining the rules to programmers who then have to code them in a programming language.

The result for your business: faster change and consistent decisions.

Research For Application Development And Enterprise Architecture Professionals

John Rymer and I consistently published research on business rules platforms, best practices, case studies, and technical architecture. If you are interested in learning more about business rules technology please feel free to schedule an inquiry with John and me and check out the research documents below.

The Forrester Wave™: Business Rules Platforms, Q2 2008

The Truth About Business Rules Algorithms

Best Practices In Implementing Business Rules

Case Study: California Association Of Realtors Innovates With Business Rules

Case Study: Hypo Real Estate Enables Credit Risk Professionals With Business Rules

Must You Choose Between Business Rules And Complex Event Processing Platforms?

Case Study: The Doctors Company Innovates While Rebuilding Its Core Systems

Deputize End-User Developers To Deliver Business Agility And Reduce Costs

Mike Gualtieri, Senior Analyst

email: mgualtieri@forrester.com

twitter: mgualtieri
 

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Comments

re: Business Rules Technology Belongs In Your Architecture

Mike, I too see that business decision logic is an important asset. It is more important than BPM.The core problem is managing lifecycle and deployment of business services developed or maintained by business users. Business decisions can not be looked at independently in my mind. The starting point has to be an enterprise-wide repository that deploys services into production and that must include rules!Business decisions are what I refer to as boundary rules. Business services should be performed freely without limitation of a step-by-step process. Maybe 20% of those can be simply expressed as stable process flows. A huge rule set that will execute sensibly and performant each time some business user wants to act or each time some business event happens is an illusion. Yes, it could be defined but who would be able to maintain it with its relationships?All business services have to work with business entities and interface with other application services, SOA or not. Business service boundary rule logic too executes against business entities and has to call some business application. All of that has to be managed and made available to the business user. A standalone business decision system will simply do that? Not before I will retire ...

re: Business Rules Technology Belongs In Your Architecture

Great point Max. Was just reading a piece by Navin Sharma at Pitney Bowes who framed the need to get business and IT on the same page in terms of problem solving. Worth a read if you get a chance http://ebs.pbbiblogs.com/2009/10/23/getting-business-and-it-on-the-same-page/