I’ve been writing a lot recently about the knowledge economy and what makes a business smart. Let me dig a little deeper. The kind of knowledge I’m talking about might be better described as know-how.
know-how: accumulated practical skill or expertness … especially: technical knowledge, ability, skill, or expertness of this sort
Know-how that you can encode and retain is represented by business rules and the structured business vocabularies (concept models) on which the business rules are based.
Know-how is a subset, a small one probably, of knowledge. Briefly, knowledge can range from practical to theoretical, from certain to probabilistic, and from frequently applicable to infrequently applicable.
At the risk of saying the obvious, you can’t run the day-to-day operations of a business on knowledge that is theoretical, probabilistic, or infrequently applicable. In short, business rules are about know-how management, a strictly limited subset of knowledge management.
Like knowledge, know-how can be either tacit (in people’s heads) or explicit. The classic test for when knowledge is tacit is ‘lose the person, lose the knowledge’. Obviously you want to retain know-how. As a senior manager recently put it, “No organization should depend on absent brains.”
know-how retention: expressing know-how explicitly in a form understandable by business people and business analysts, and managing the know-how, such that it is always available for future reference or use (by those capable and authorized)
The over-time infrastructure needed to retain know-how is provided by a general rulebook system (GRBS). It’s what rule management should really be all about.
from Building Business Solutions: Business Analysis with Business Rules
, by Ronald G. Ross with Gladys S.W. Lam, An IIBA® Sponsored Handbook
, Business Rule Solutions, LLC, 2011, 304 pp,http://www.brsolutions.com/bbs
 Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary