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James Taylor's Decision Management

James Taylor

More on process and rule coupling

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Jesper wrote some follow-on questions to my response to his post about Sandy's post. For some reason I can't comment on his blog - the site won't let me login and keeps saying there's an error - so I thought I would post a response here.
First he asked about checking which version of a rule is in place for a given process execution. He says "Does it boil down to rules always having a certain time span of validity? (thus making it easy to correlate a given process instance to the rule version valid at that time)"
The key thing here is that we are talking not about finding the version of a specific rule for a specific process execution but finding the version of the decision used for a specific process execution. A modern business rules management system will provide many ways to do this. Typically multiple rulesets (each with multiple rules) are required for a decision. Individual rules will have effective dates and times (if they are only in force during those periods) as well as versions. As a result, it is possible/easy (depending on the BRMS used) to recreate the exact set of rules used to make a specific decision. This can be done by re-deploying the version of the decision as it was at the time (for analysis). Combined with systematic logging of rule execution this gives you what you need.
Secondly he asks about audit - "how is the end result presented in consolidated audits without doing some custom work to integrate audit information from the two separate systems?"
Here he has a good point. This is indeed an issue. While many companies use decisions in multiple processes and systems, and so want a separate execution audit trail, there is often a need to see a combined one for a process/decision combination. Today this requires some custom coding and this is typically high up the list of integration features for BRMS/BPMS vendors when they are working together.
Jesper, that help?

1 Comment

Hi James,

Yes that helps. It makes sense that a decision is much more than just a rule and that a good BRMS/BRE can always provide the exact snapshot of what was executed in the past (like you said, just like BPMS can).

I think it's still not well-defined what integration customers will require. I think most companies still only have experience with either a BPMS or a BRE/BRMS, not both.

James Taylor blogs about decision-management technologies such as predictive analytics and business rules, discussing how they deliver agility, improve business processes and bring intelligent automation to SOA.

James Taylor

James Taylor blogs on decision management for ebizQ, and is an independent consultant on decision management, predictive analytics, business rules, and related topics.

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