Mixing Rules and Process


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Presentation given at the Business Rules Forum in Orlando, October 2008

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  • Abstract: There are many techniques for combining rules or decisioning capability with business process management (BPM), ranging from using simple expression engines embedded within a BPM system to a full integration between separate BRM and BPM systems. This session takes a close look at what rules functionality that the BPM systems offer, and the key characteristics that identify which rules and decisions should remain in the domain of the BPM system, and which should be entrusted to a full-strength business rules management system. Attendees will learn: The current state of BPM and BRM How BPM and BRM interact Where your rules belong
  • Mixing Rules and Process

    1. 1. Mixing Rules and Process Sandy Kemsley Kemsley Design Ltd. www.column2.com Business Rules Forum, October 28 th , 2008
    2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Business process management (BPM) defined </li></ul><ul><li>Business rules management (BRM) defined </li></ul><ul><li>BPM + BRM = greater than the sum of the parts </li></ul><ul><li>Techniques for mixing rules and process </li></ul>
    3. 3. Business Processes <ul><li>Chain of activities producing a business result </li></ul><ul><li>Usually spans functional silos </li></ul><ul><li>Requirement to “manage the white space” between functional groups </li></ul>
    4. 4. BPM Defined <ul><li>A management discipline for improving cross-functional business processes. </li></ul><ul><li>The methods and technology tools used to manage and optimize business processes. </li></ul>
    5. 5. What’s in a BPMS? <ul><li>Process modeler </li></ul><ul><li>Repository </li></ul><ul><li>Execution engine </li></ul><ul><li>System integration (web services) </li></ul><ul><li>Work-in-progress management </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring and analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation and optimization </li></ul>
    6. 6. Process Lifecycle Model Automate Monitor Optimize
    7. 7. BPM Goals <ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Automating steps and handoffs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrating systems and data sources </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Compliance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieving and proving standardization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Agility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Changing processes quickly and easily </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Visibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>See what’s happening in a process </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Business Rules <ul><li>Business policies that define an action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Decision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constraint </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Implicit in systems and procedures </li></ul><ul><li>Explicit in BRMS </li></ul>
    9. 9. BRM Defined <ul><li>Discipline for discovery and management of business rules </li></ul><ul><li>Methodologies and tools used to manage rules </li></ul>
    10. 10. What’s in a BRMS? <ul><li>Rules modeler </li></ul><ul><li>Rules repository </li></ul><ul><li>Execution engine </li></ul><ul><li>Monitoring and analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Simulation </li></ul>
    11. 11. Doesn’t BPM Have Rules? <ul><li>Typically not full-featured BR: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple Boolean rules for routing decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rules defined for a specific process step </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rule changes may require redeploying processes with IT involvement </li></ul><ul><li>Rule changes may not affect in-flight processes </li></ul><ul><li>Many process models don’t automate decisions </li></ul>
    12. 12. Separating rules from process <ul><li>Externalize decisions from process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Routing decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work assignment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Set parameters </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Call BRMS from BPMS for decision </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Standard web services call </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tight integration by vendors </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Claims Process Before… Source: Corticon
    14. 14. Claims Process After… Source: Corticon
    15. 15. Splitting rules between platforms <ul><li>In process model: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple routing decisions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rarely changing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In rules system: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Business decisions” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Frequently changing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Process and rules may be from same vendor </li></ul>
    16. 16. Benefits of Separation <ul><li>Full BR functionality: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complex rules automate manual processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced rule design, harvesting, simulation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Reuse rules across processes/applications </li></ul><ul><li>Change rules without changing process </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rule changes affect in-flight processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Business can change rule parameters </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Challenges of Separation <ul><li>BPM and BRM may be acquired independently with no thought of integration </li></ul><ul><li>Processes and their rules may be modeled in different environments </li></ul>
    18. 18. Summary <ul><li>Externalizing and automating decisions is the key to process agility </li></ul><ul><li>More sophisticated capabilities of BRM allow more process automation </li></ul><ul><li>BPM + BRM turns policies into action and builds for change </li></ul>
    19. 19. Questions? Sandy Kemsley Kemsley Design Ltd. www.column2.com