Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence
Enabling Operational Excellence

TURNING OPERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE & COMPLIANCE INTO A COMPETITIVE EDGE

We systemize tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge

Blog Enabling Operational Excellence

Posts Tagged ‘Business Knowledge Engineering’

Business Rules – Sure You Really Understand Them?

communication-2The things that IT implements under today’s software platforms are mostly not true business rules; rather, they are encoded representations of business rules. Don’t underestimate how pervasively across your organization business rule is misunderstood. What are true business rules?

 

  • True business rules are about running the business, not its systems. Your company would need its true business rules even if it had no software. True business rules are simply criteria used in daily business operations to shape behavior or make decisions.
  • True business rules are not meta-data or information. Only through gross misinterpretation or misunderstanding do they fall under that umbrella (and the related organizational function). Instead, true business rules are a form of knowledge. They are about what you need to know to make things work properly in daily business operations. Knowledge is knowledge. Information is information. They are simply not the same thing.
  • True business rules are about human communication – people-to-people communication, people having business conversations. True business rules enable business people to communicate operational business knowledge, not just things IT can implement. Such communication is especially important if (as is so often the case these days) the people are displaced by time and space.

Achieving these knowledge-related goals requires two things:

  1. Business rules must be written. (If you are part of an agile project that believes otherwise, you need to rethink.)
  2. Business rules must be written in declarative form using structured natural language. Here is an example of how a true business rule is written.

An account may be considered overdrawn only if cash withdrawal is greater than the current balance of the account.

When it comes to communicating knowledge, Murphy’s Law definitely applies. If something can be misinterpreted it will be misinterpreted. Capturing and expressing true business rules completely and accurately is a rich skill. (By the way, machines should certainly be able to help us with that.)

The need to communicate business rules in structured natural language led our company to create a world-wide set of conventions called Rulespeak® (free on www.RuleSpeak.com, now in 6 languages). There’s simply no substitute for precise, unambiguous communication of operational business knowledge. It’s central to business knowledge engineering.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Read about the new knowledge paradigm: http://www.brcommunity.com/articles.php?id=b900

Continue Reading

3 Basic Principles for Business Knowledge Engineering

engineer[1]The world that presents itself to us today is characterized by ever increasing complexity, expanding scale, and accelerating rate of change. A first and fundamental step in coming to grips with that world is simply to realize that operating on the basis of rules is the only viable solution.

Based on that understanding, here are three fundamental principles for a new knowledge paradigm.

 

Principle 1: Follow the same basic rules through every channel.

Providing consistent customer experience requires applying the same basic business rules through each and every channel. These rules should govern both interactions with customers as well as dissemination of products and services to them.

Some people feel that operating on the basis of rules, and applying basic rules uniformly, produces stiff, inflexible behavior. Not at all! By basing actions on rules, you can see clearly when to bend them, and when to extend them. It’s a basic part of the mindset.

Principle 2: Know what your rules are.

To follow the same basic rules through each channel you must actually know what your rules are. How many companies today actually do with any certainty?! How many have their business rules right at their fingertips?

The key to operational excellence is how well you organize, deploy and re-use operational business knowledge. Business rules, quite simply, are the most fundamental kind of operational business knowledge. What has your company done about business-side rule management?

Principle 3: Give your rules a good life.

Just knowing your rules and keeping them at your fingertips is not enough. You must give your rules a good life – you must keep them evergreen. Business rules must become a living-and-breathing resource of your business.

That’s not the way it is today in most organizations. The business has outsourced its business rules to IT (which in turn has often outsourced them off-shore). The rules get mangled in highly convoluted implementations. There’s no accessibility for easy adjustments, and no traceability for quickly resolving problems. That’s not a winning formula for operational excellence.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Read about the new knowledge paradigm: http://www.brcommunity.com/articles.php?id=b900

Continue Reading

Wanted: A New Knowledge Paradigm

ParadigmShift[1]My inner geek gets as excited as the next professional about all the technological innovations adding up to what gurus are calling the digital platform or digital business – or simply digital. This new wave of technological capability features social, mobile, cloud, big data, and more. It promises a host of new capabilities to accelerate innovation including robotics, 3D printing, internet of things, cognitive, and augmented reality. WOW!!

But there’s a little voice inside me counseling caution. When have new platforms or channels ever fixed major business challenges?!

It’s all too easy to get caught up in ChannelMania, a state of virtual panic about introducing the next big thing, keeping up with the Joneses technologically. In the frenzy you can easily lose sight of the hidden business costs.

We should step back, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves some fundamental questions.

  • How well can we really manage yet more channels?
  • Do we deliver consistent business results to our customers?
  • Are we happy with our current lot in managing change?
  • Does the company have any real strategy to address ever-accelerating complexity?
  • With all the new agile methods, is the business actually becoming more agile?

It’s not too hard to envision what real operational excellence would look like.

  • Your customers would get consistent business results through any of many channels.
  • Rolling out business change would be faster and cheaper.
  • You could demonstrate compliance at every turn.
  • You could manage complexity at scale.
  • You’d provide stellar customer experience at inhuman speeds.

The question, of course, is how do we get there? I argue that we need a new knowledge paradigm. I call it Business Knowledge Engineering.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Read about the new knowledge paradigm: http://www.brcommunity.com/articles.php?id=b900

Continue Reading