We'll cover the strategic uses of business knowledge in the context of a company. We'll also speak about the concepts of business rules, business rules management system, their relationship to SOA and finally how these technologies impact your software development processes and culture. You'll learn how the use of a BRMS can increase software development speed, enhance your applications complaince to regulations and empower end users to make their own changes to applications.
Most CIOs want to became a company's advisor when it comes to information access, information flow and getting business decisions from business transactions information. CIOs think in terms of information and processes. Knowledge acquisition is a must to automate business processes. A byproduct of this knowledge definition is that given the right architecture you can reuse it across the whole enterprise. Reusing enables you to keep up with the changing requirements of business. Where a customer is not a customer? (Please explain)
Process innovation is one of the hottest trends right now. It enables you to rethink your processes in a way that will offer a better customer service, costs less and is much faster. This operational efficiency allows you to reallocate staff in the most needed places, such as customer service and quality control. One of the most impacted processes is Fraud Detection and Control. Business rules enables you to apply otherwise costly controls and verification with ease. Changes in business logic force software development teams to retest whole applications. Mature BRMS simulate changes in the rules. So you can see the difference of applying one or another rule with sample data.
Business rules technology actually enables some Fortune 500 companies to gain a competitive edge on their rivals. This edge is created by optimizing prices for the benefit of the company, searching the internet looking for the competition's pricing. Others use business rules by suggesting to the consumer more products to buy. In some cases, when new regulations come compliance can be extremely difficult to obtain. Business rules helps in this scenario by adding and modifying only the necessary rules and eliminating the need to develop new code.
Naive approach; hard coding rules into your application. This is a short term solution. Maintaince costs and time will go up and in time surpass development cost. Your company won't react as fast as it can and a faster competitor will get your customers. In e-commerce environments this is a critical component for every business. This will improve your other software products' headcount. (??)
It's difficult to ensure compliance in all your software applications. When in a SOA environment applications query just one source of business rules. If you modify this source, all applications become compliant.
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Implementing a BRMS impacts three business systems: First, the technological field, a new technology has to be learned and new software products run, so operation and support are needed. Second, the development methodology changes, with gathering requirements a novel approch is needed to document business rules in an usable form. Third, new people will get on board and the existing people will need training and constant support. Some people won't change their procedural mindset. Also, commercial products tend to cost a boatload of money in licences, consulting fees and recurring support.
Business Rules for a CIO
Business Rules for a CIO Strategic knowledge management www.plugtree.com
Knowledge as a business asset <ul><ul><li>How can I define my business processes in a Knowledge based system? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can I reuse this newly defined knowledge in all my business units? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can I keep up the with pace of business change? </li></ul></ul>
Innovate and improve processes <ul><li>Business processes are full of decisions. Using the correct automation in the right places can improve operational efficiency hundreds of times, reducing costs and freeing staff to help with other more value added tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce fraud by identifying more cases with precision, offering better protection to your customers. </li></ul><ul><li>Simulate the impact of a change of application behavior in a sandbox, trying different scenarios to enhance process performance and structure without fear of breaking anything. </li></ul>
Gain a competitive edge <ul><li>Increase revenues by using an intelligent pricing engine that based on the user profiles, competitors offerings and seasonal data for example, can raise your company's profits. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Offer a better user experience by suggesting more product or service options. </li></ul><ul><li>React faster to context changes: government regulations, taxes and laws are handled better by a BRMS. This is a must have tool for turbulent times. </li></ul>
Improve your software Time to Market <ul><li>Faster Delivery of applications thanks to declarative programming. </li></ul><ul><li>Free your IT staff from development work and empower the end user to do their own software modifications. This will improve your other software products' headcount. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Make your end-users happy and more productive by letting them author and modify rules. </li></ul>
Centralize and reuse your knowledge <ul><li>Use only one point to centralize all your company knowledge. Changes are done in only one location, accelerating delivery time and ensuring compliance to regulations and norms. </li></ul><ul><li>Reuse your knowledge in new applications and speed up development and testing while assuring higher quality and end-user satisfaction. </li></ul>
I want one, but how do I start? <ul><ul><li>Technological changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Technology partner </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methodological changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural / People changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>How can I change a culture of procedural method of programming to a more agile one? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Budget </li></ul></ul>
Summary <ul><ul><li>Adopting a Business Rules Engine is an strategic decision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can give a competitive advantage and reduce costs </li></ul></ul>