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As the pace of change within businesses across many industries continues to accelerate, market demands are driving the need for increased business agility. Achieving business agility within an enterprise requires rapid implementation of changes to business logic across the organization's applications. In order to accommodate dynamic logic that varies by industry, geography, and over time across all enterprise operations, two critical issues must be resolved. The first is how the logic can be maintained with the necessary degree of agility. The second is how to support that agility across many disparate applications. Organizations that face these challenges are beginning to turn to two approaches in combination to meet them head-on: a business rules management system (BRMS) approach to achieve the agility and a Web Services/Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) to make it accessible to many different applications across the enterprise.

The 'implicit' approach that buries business logic within applications cannot accommodate rapid and frequent changes -- without a heavy burden in terms of time and cost. This outdated method is being abandoned widely as organizations seek new alternatives. Web services and business rules are complementary technologies that provide an excellent alternative. When these two approaches are deployed in combination, organizations benefit from their strengths in ways that enhance business agility. The "loosely-coupled" approach of Web services/SOA, together with the "de-coupled" approach of business rules management systems (BRMSs) enables organizations to better represent business logic in "explicit" format that can be more quickly and easily modified and shared across many applications.

Why Business Rules?

More and more businesses today are competing in markets that require them to be flexible, fast moving, accommodating to customer requests -- in general to be more agile. For those businesses, taking the implicit approach to business logic results in scattered and fragmented implementation that soon becomes a maintenance nightmare. If it takes weeks or even months to roll out a set of rule changes, how can you hope to keep up in a business where change now occurs daily, or even hourly? In such a business environment, implementing business logic implicit within multiple applications just exacerbates the complexity and maintenance challenge, since it is highly inefficient, error-prone and breeds inconsistencies that become problematic.


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