Business Rules Management System empowers organizations to build a single source of truth for everything they do, such as customer relationships, product configurations, pricing & discount, customer journey, and so on. Essentially if business rules within applications and processes govern your business, the business rules management system or BRMS will enable a quicker time to market and accurate and consistent results.
Sounds good? Let’s see how we can make sure we use a BRMS to its best to benefit from it, rather than becoming another layer of complexity and frustration.

1. Pick the Right Battle

At first, when you start out you may find many different situations where you can apply business rules management system. But what you pick should be the right problem to solve. What does that mean? It means if the problem is too small, then BRMS is overkill. Or, if the rules are not frequently changing or not inherently complex, they are not a good fit, and you need to avoid them.

Here is a checklist you need to think of when you want to pick the right situation to use a BRMS for. Pick a situation where it:

  1. Involves at least a handful of business rules
  2. Requires business domain knowledge and expertise (avoid application and system rules if possible)
  3. Requires frequent changes driven by regulatory, law, external bodies, policies, etc.
  4. Is inherently complex in nature; for instance, requires multiple levels of reasoning
  5. Needs adapting and adjusting based on numerous changing criteria
  6. Demands speedy time-to-market delivery

Try to find the problem with a maximum number of the above requirements. This will ensure you can see the real impact on business KPIs.

2. Avoid the ‘Big Bucket of Rules' Problem

When you look at any organization, there are several thousands of rules in play, if not hundreds of thousands, that ensure the organization operates as expected. Business Rules Management System will help you define, store, and execute the rules. Although it says “rules” in the name, you should not think about the rules at the beginning. This may sound counter-intuitive, but this will significantly help you avoid this problem.

business rules management systems (BRMS) for decision graph

Instead, you should think about the scenarios the rules will play out and you will benefit from, and try to increase the level of abstraction from rules, i.e., it can be a decision, policy, etc. Essentially you should frame a business decision and then try to define the relationships between multiple of them for a specific scenario.

3. Enable Collaboration Across The Team

Collaboration is a big factor in the success of a BRMS project, especially if it involves multiple key stockholders and domain experts.

Avoid designing a solution that stores the business logic in a proprietary database as a centralized repository. Mainly ensure you can store, manage, share, and control the business rules using de facto standard solutions to manage the change history and project artifacts such as GIT repositories.

business rules management for collaboration

Also, it opens many doors in terms of where to host it and how to host the repository. There are on-prem and cloud-based free and paid options such as GitHub, Gitblit, Azure Repo, and so on.

This will ensure transparency, collaboration at scale, and the application of best practices in continuous delivery and integration.

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Traditional Approach to Business Rules Management is No Good

Although business rules management system (BRMS) tends to bring a significant value to organizations, a traditional view and design of solutions may cause more harm than benefits, or at least minimal business impact, which will not justify the investment and efforts for the adoption in your organization.

To ensure you have a positive impact on business operation using BRMS, you will need to change your mindset, think less about the rules, and rather start applying the principles of the Decision-Centric Approach®  instead.

Last updated February 20th, 2023 at 01:08 pm Published April 7th, 2022 at 10:29 am