We use cookies and other similar technologies (Cookies) to enhance your experience and to provide you with relevant content and ads. By using our website, you are agreeing to the use of Cookies. You can change your settings at any time. Cookie Policy.

We’ve spent the past few columns discussing the need for business rules when undertaking a strategic business process management (BPM) solution. In general, BPM solutions tend to focus on such areas as capturing workflows, routing transactions (i.e. work) from one step to the next, creating interfaces for people to interact with those transactions, integrating with back-end systems, and monitoring and reporting on business processes. BPM systems excel in integrating and moving work through a business process, but not necessarily in managing the actual decisions that occur at the individual steps. That’s where the idea of business rules comes in, and where there’s a place for business rules capabilities—either as part of the BPM solution, or as an add-on.

In the previous columns we talked about how business rules capabilities in a BPM solution can help organize and manage important business logic and decision points within the process. And going a step further, having a centralized and managed way to consolidate the business logic linked to a business process, is an excellent application for business rules.

For example, consider a new policy application process for an insurance company. An application for insurance is filed, gets entered into a business process via an agent, and starts moving through a predefined workflow/business process. BPM systems are great at doing that kind of work. But when something about the claim kicks it out of the automated flow—say it needs to be re-priced, or there needs to be a decision about what jurisdiction it’s in—into the hands of a insurance processor sitting at a desk, it’s a human who’s going to make the eventual decision on what happens next. One of the keys then, is how to enable that person to make the appropriate decision, or enable the process to make the decision for the person.

While all companies require some level of human involvement in their processes, it’s becoming more and more important to automate that assistance wherever possible. Enabling people to make decisions is good, but it also opens organizations up to potential problems with quality, and inconsistencies. That’s where business rules capabilities come in.

Business rules can be used to automate manual decision-making tasks, or simply to help people make faster, better decisions. For example, it is possible to define complex business rules that, given certain criteria, automatically trigger the sale of a stock. Alternatively, it’s possible to define similar rules that, instead of automating a sale, alert a broker to the event, suggesting that the stock be sold. In both cases, the rules are essentially the same - the difference is in the enforcement level. It’s often helpful to start using business rules in a guidance mode. Once you achieve comfort around the quality of the rules, it’s natural to evolve into a fully automated mode. In both cases, business rules provide consistency of behavior to help support ongoing process improvement.


1  2  

   Next Page

Explore Our Topics

  • Virtual Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Roundtables

BPM in Action

March 10, 2011

The sixth annual BPM in Action 2011 Virtual Conference will explore cutting-edge market developments in BPM and describe how to leverage them for improved business operation and performance. More

View All Virtual Conferences

Smart Case Management: Why It's So Smart.

Date:Nov 05, 2009
Time:12:00 PM ET- (17:00 GMT)


Date:Oct 29, 2009
Time:15:00 PM ET- (19:00 GMT)

View All Roundtables
  • Research Library
  • Podcasts
  • News

Joe McKendrick: Part II of II: Designing Evolve-ability into SOA and IT Systems

In part two of Joe McKendrick's recent podcast with Miko Matsumura, chief strategist for Software AG, they talk about how SOA and IT systems need to change and grow and adapt with the organization around it.

Listen Now

Phil Wainewright: Helping Brands Engage with Social Media

Phil Wainewright interviews David Vap, VP of products at RightNow Technologies, and finds out how sharing best practices can help businesses understand how best to engage with online communities.

Listen Now

Peter Schooff: Making Every IT Dollar Result in a Desired Business Outcome: Scott Hebner of IBM Rati

Scott Hebner, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for IBM Rational, discusses a topic on the top of every company's mind today: getting the most from IT investments.

Listen Now

Jessica Ann Mola: Where Will BI Fit In? Lyndsay Wise Explains

In BI, this tough economy and the increasing role of Web 2.0 and MDM are certainly topics on people's minds today. WiseAnalytics' Lyndsay Wise addresses each of them in this informative podcast.

Listen Now

Dennis Byron: Talking with...Deepak Singh of BPM Provider Adeptia

Deepak Singh, President and CTO of Adeptia, joins ebizQ's Dennis Byron in a podcast that gets its hand around the trend of industry-specific BPM.

Listen Now
More Podcasts
  • Most Popular
  • Quick Guide
  • Most Discussed

Quick Guide: What is BPM?

Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Event Processing?

Smart event processing can help your company run smarter and faster. This comprehensive guide helps you research the basics of complex event processing (CEP) and learn how to get started on the right foot with your CEP project using EDA, RFID, SOA, SCADA and other relevant technologies. Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Enterprise 2.0?

A lot of people are talking about Enterprise 2.0 as being the business application of Web 2.0 technology. However, there's still some debate on exactly what this technology entails, how it applies to today's business models, and which components bring true value. Some use the term Enterprise 2.0 exclusively to describe the use of social networking technologies in the enterprise, while others use it to describe a web economy platform, or the technological framework behind such a platform. Still others say that Enterprise 2.0 is all of these things. Learn More