Barry Briggs,has thoughts which are very insightful.Earlier we covered his view on the centricity of business process to enteprises in the post The Decade Of Business Process. Now he writes with amazing clarity,Rules are the gateway for the business into the process.
Barry thinks that the technical barriers to real-time business are gradually coming down, but many remain. To get the most from investments in often heterogeneous business applications enterprises try to rationalize IT applications –and increase the adoption of Web Services and XML will - these would make intgeration easier, but the goal of extracting true business value – fine-tuning business operations as conditions warrant, rapidly exploiting new opportunities – still remains elusive.
Complex process automations have been succesfully completed by enterprises but changing these processes is expensive,laborious, and requires negotiation between multiple groups (usually, the business organization and the IT team).In current business process deployments the missing link is approachability by the business user. To make these sorts of changes to running business systems too frequently requires the analyst to request IT assistance – code changes, regressions, and redeployments. Tight integration of business rules technology with business process technology provides a convincing platform for enterprises. In general, business rules are simple and intuitive. Research suggests that the if-then structure of rules is central to the cognitive structure and operation of the human brain. The true value of business rules appear when the rules engine is integrated as a fundamental building block of the business process.Rules can be used for many purposes within a business process. Rules can validate data, Rules can also be used to direct the flow of a process. Rules can also be used to direct interactions with humans in the course of a business process. IT developer sees databases and rows and queries and objects and messages; the business analyst sees a vocabulary (of business objects) rich in business semantics. Most business process engines come with tracking mechanisms which enable both IT and business users to view their histories including history / record of branches taken and decisions made by rules. Then, using dashboard technologies such as Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) it’s straightforward to infer causality, and thus the financial return.