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

TURNING OPERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE & COMPLIANCE INTO A COMPETITIVE EDGE

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Posts Tagged ‘business problems’

Six Succinct Reasons for Business Rules

What business problems do business rules address?  My take: 1. Ad hoc rules: Most businesses have no organized approach for specifying their business rules. As a result, business workers often make up the rules as they go along. This leads to confusion, contradiction, and operational inefficiency. After-the-fact resolution of these problems wastes time and resources and causes frustration for customers and staff alike.

Business rule solution: Business rules ensure consistency in customer experience and provably on-target results for demonstrating compliance.

2. Miscommunication: Misunderstanding of key business concepts inevitably results in miscommunication. Does preferred customer discount mean the same across all departments? If not, what are the differences? What rules apply? Do these rules differ for different areas of the business? Are the rules consistent?

Business rule solution: A structured business vocabulary provides a foundation on which rules can be directly based.

3. Inaccessible rules: Finding out what rules apply to a given business situation often involves an open-ended search through multiple sources. It is not uncommon in the end to resort to the application source code. Pursuing rules in this fashion is time-consuming, inefficient, and inaccurate.

Business rule solution: An organized approach for managing business rules yields order-of-magnitude improvements in productivity and business agility.

4. Massive differentiation: Many businesses seek to support highly individualized relationships with growing numbers of customers and other partners across multiple jurisdictions for ever more complex products or services. How can businesses massively differentiate and, at the very same time, conduct each business transaction faster, more accurately, and at ever lower costs?

Business rule solution: Business rules support highly scalable customization and personalization and provide a structural solution for managing complexity.

5. The need to keep up to speed: Rapid change, at an ever faster pace, is a fact of life. In the digital age, people expect almost instantaneous implementation of changes. How can line workers consumed with day-to-day activities ever hope to keep up?

Business rule solution: Real-time delivery of business rules to knowledge workers creates a seamless, never-ending, self-training environment.

6. Knowledge walking out the door: By and large, baby boomers created much of the basic operational business capacity and operational systems we see in place in larger organizations today. Much of the related knowledge still sits in their heads – and nowhere else. Now they are retiring. On a smaller scale, people with vital operational knowledge walk out the door almost every day.

Business rule solution: A systematic way of capturing, documenting and managing business rules enables pragmatic knowledge retention.

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Benefits: What Problems Does the Business Rule Approach Address?

Read to the end for an interesting note about this post. 1. Ad hoc rules: Most businesses have no logical approach for defining their business rules. As a result, business workers often make up the rules as they go along. This leads to confusion, contradiction, and operational inefficiency. After-the-fact resolution of these problems wastes time and resources and causes frustration for customers and staff alike. The larger the organization, the bigger the problem. Also, since many business rules involve monetary transactions (for example, whether a customer should be given a discount, and if so, how much), this problem can also directly affect the bottom line.

Business rule solution: A structured approach helps you think through rules before the fact.

2. Miscommunication: Misunderstanding of key business concepts inevitably results in miscommunication. Does preferred customer discount mean the same across all departments? If not, what are the differences? What rules apply? Do these rules differ for different areas of the business? Are the rules consistent?

Business rule solution: A clear set of concepts provides a foundation on which rules can be directly based.

3. Inaccessible rules: Finding out what rules apply to a given business situation often involves an open-ended search through multiple sources. It is not uncommon in the end to resort to the application source code. Pursuing rules in this fashion is time-consuming, inefficient, and inaccurate.

Business rule solution: A way to manage business rules provides direct accessibility.

4. Massive differentiation: Many businesses seek to support highly individualized relationships with growing numbers of customers and other partners for ever more complex products or services. How can businesses massively differentiate between business parties and, at the very same time, conduct each business transaction faster, more accurately, and at ever lower costs?

Business rule solution: A rule-based approach featuring rapid development and deployment of rules supports differentiation.

5. The need to keep up to speed: Rapid change, at an ever faster pace, is a fact of life. In the Internet age, people expect almost instantaneous implementation of changes. How can line workers consumed with day-to-day activities ever hope to keep up?

Business rule solution: Real-time delivery of business logic to knowledge workers as errors actually occur creates a seamless, never-ending, self-training environment.

6. Knowledge walking out the door: By and large, baby boomers created much of the operational business capacity and operational systems we see in place in larger organizations today. Much of the related knowledge still sits in their heads—and nowhere else. What will happen when they retire? On a smaller scale, people with vital operational knowledge walk out the door almost every day.

Business rule solution: A systematic way of capturing, documenting, and retaining the business rules prevents the loss of knowledge when people leave.

~~~~~~~~~~ Excerpted from Principles of the Business Rule Approach, by Ronald G. Ross, AddisonWesley, 2003, pp. xx-xxii. Note: This list of benefits was written a dozen years ago. It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same for business rules. About the only thing I would alter today is to add the following buzzwords for the respective benefits.

1. Consistency & Complexity 

3. Business Agility & Compliance

4. Customization & Personalization

6. Knowledge Retention

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Omissions? My Cumulative List of *Desktop, Internet and Personal-Device* Problems for which Business Rules, Decision Management, and Related Technologies are Suited

Find your desktop, internet or personal-device application in this list? If not, please let me know! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Authorization … identity, certification, software licensing Collaboration … routing, RFI/RFP work management, document development, software specifications Data Access … consistency checking, content management, customized displays Data Distribution … pocket PCs, smart phones, network planning, design and management e-Business … self-service, dynamic pricing, configuration, fulfillment, billing Enrollment … sign-up criteria, evaluation Filtering … message management Point of Sale … optimizing customer experience, touch-point management Personalization … personal preferences, customized ‘smart’ dialogs, work personalizaton Recommendations … stock purchases, investment options, problem diagnosis, rating

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Omissions? My Cumulative List of *Business Problems* for which Business Rules, Decision Management, and Related Technologies are Suited

Find your targeted business problem in this list? If not, please let me know! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Customer Relationship Management (CRM) … customer care, personalization, complaint management Distribution … scheduling, routing, dispatching Financial … settlement, disbursements, allocation, billing, account management, credit worthiness, procurement, audit Fulfillment … eligibility, configuration, inventory management, order management, certification, supply chain Governance … regulatory compliance, adjudication, reportability, scenario gaming Human Resources … qualification, task matching, union restrictions Management … resource optimization, supervision and control, workflow scheduling and management Marketing … customer base segmentation, supply chain, brand management, loyalty programs, closed loop Marketplaces and Trading Exchanges … bids and offers, trades, reconciliation Planning … business intelligence, trending, capacity planning, risk assessment, production scheduling, optimization Sales … pricing, discount schemes, contextual product packaging, incentive programs, repeat business, campaigning, cross-selling, lead qualification, consultative sales Security … monitoring, alerts, risk profiling, detection, privacy breach  

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Omissions? My Cumulative List of *Industries* Having Applied Business Rules, Decision Management, and Related Technologies Successfully

Find your industry in this list? If not, please let me know! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Banking, Credit, Financial Services, and Securities and Capital Markets … portfolio management, investment planning, loan origination, online banking, defined benefits, pension management, anti-money laundering Education … scheduling, certification, evaluation, scoring Entertainment and Gaming … royalties, casting, distributions Government, Taxation, Regulation and Safety … targeted inspections, entitlements, citizen empowerment, licensing Health Care … benefit administration, care management, consumer-directed health Insurance and Underwriting … customized plans, risk management, scoring, claims, fraud Manufacturing … product configuration, warranty management, quality assurance, lab procedures Media … promotions, advertising, scheduling Retail … buying trends, discount schemes, deals Telecommunications … provisioning, smart packaging Transportation and Travel … logistics, scheduling, load optimization Utilities … resource allocation, consumption analysis, real-time markets

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