In the world of business process automation and orchestration, it is essential to carefully consider how to handle embedded business decisions within the processes. Making embedded business decisions inside the business process itself can lead to several challenges in the long run. In this blog post, we will explore the challenges involved in embedded business decisions in the main business process and discuss an alternative approach to overcome those challenges while ensuring streamlined and efficient decision-making.

The Challenges of Embedded Business Decisions

When complex conditions are placed on the outcomes of decision tasks within a business process, it often results in embedded business decisions. The the gateway node, which controls the flow of execution and allows for conditional routing based on the outcomes of the decision within the process flow, may seem convenient to include but it can lead to several issues:

  • Cannot Reuse the Decision: When decisions are embedded into a process, those decisions cannot be reused or shared across different services.
  • Inefficiency: Embedding business decisions directly into the process flow can make it challenging to manage and modify the decision-making logic. Any changes or updates to the criteria require modifying the entire process, leading to inefficiencies and increased maintenance efforts.
  • Complicated validation and testing: Validating the decision logic becomes more complex when it is connected with the process flow. It becomes difficult to isolate and test the decision logic separately, potentially leading to errors and inconsistencies.
  • Lack of Transparency: When Business Decisions are embedded into the process, it becomes challenging to understand and interpret the logic. This lack of transparency can lead to difficulty in understanding how decisions are made.

Example of a business process with embedded business decisions

In this example, when a customer submits an application, the first decision node determines the standard credit rating for the customer and enters to a gateway node. This gateway node consists of embedded decisions. These embedded decisions involve determining eligibility for certain products based on various factors such as credit rank, country, and salary.

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How to Address the Challenges

To address the challenges of embedded business decisions, it is crucial to separate these decisions from the process flow. In the above example, the ideal approach is to treat embedded decisions as independent decision tasks that drive the selection of products. This separation allows for better management, validation, and modification of the decision model. Let's explore how this can be achieved.

  • Replace the embedded Decisions with an Independent Decision Graph
  • Introducing a decision graph into the main process flow will allow us to eliminate the embedded decisions associated with the gateway node while moving those decisions to independent decision nodes. This integration ensures that the process flow is driven by the decisions made in the separate decision nodes.

    Flow

  • Determine Product Match- Decision Graph
  • We created a separate decision graph called Determine Product Match with multiple decision nodes for respective products according to the business process. In order to determine what products to choose, each decision node needs to have a run condition. Once the condition is executed as true, the particular decision node will be executed. This Run Condition replaces each embedded decision in the previous example.
    In order to execute this run condition, it requires decision outcomes of the previous steps, such as credit rank and input data (country and salary). Then it drives the Boolean outcome, which determines whether the decision node will be executed or not.
    Embedded Business Decision
    By following this approach, you can effectively separate embedded business decisions from the main flow, resulting in a more streamlined and maintainable business process automation.

Benefits of Separating Embedded Decisions

Separating embedded decisions from the process flow offers several benefits:

  • Validation: Isolating the decisions simplifies the validation in order to automatically find any issues related to design. Business rules validation reveals rule conflicts and overlaps as well. Once the isolated decisions are integrated into a flow, the correctness of links and sequencing are validated along with many other details. Overall, validation allows you to ensure that the model is correct at design time.
  • Reusability: Separating the decisions embedded in the process enables their reuse across multiple services. This reusability reduces duplication of effort and promotes consistency in decision-making.
  • Transparency: Having business decisions clearly defined and separated ensure transparency and clear explanation in decision-making, allows for a detailed view, and informs precisely what happens behind each step of the decision-making process. This transparency enhances collaboration and understanding across the organization. In addition, this approach allows you to drill down into those decisions and understand their hierarchy and sub-decisions.
  • Ability to deploy as a service: Once these separated decisions are validated individually, it is easy to deploy this model as a REST API to any desired cloud service. Then every application or business process in the organization can communicate with them for managing day-to-day operations.

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Conclusion

Embedded business decisions within business processes can lead to inefficiencies and complications. To overcome these challenges, it is crucial to separate embedded decisions from the main process flow. Treating embedded decisions as independent decisions allows for better management, validation, and modification of the logic. By following the approach outlined in this article, organizations can streamline their business process automation, enhance transparency, and improve decision-making efficiency.

Last updated July 13th, 2023 at 04:17 pm, Published June 29th, 2023 at 04:17 pm