People are asking why current processes are so dumb. For example, why can’t they:
learn from experience?
be more goal-driven?
dynamically balance between conflicting goals?
Some people suggest use of cognitive computing to help make processes smarter. I doubt anybody today really knows how far this idea can be taken. I can, however, say two things with certainty:
If you don’t know what your business rules are (i.e., what rules guided previous executions), can you really expect a machine to figure them out? A machine can undoubtedly identify patterns, but that’s a far cry from demonstrating compliance, guaranteeing consistent results, or customizing appropriately case-by-case.
Suppose self-adapting processes do become reality. The question I have is what will keep such processes from going out of bounds? How do you avoid them doing things that are undesirable, self-defeating or even illegal? These are critical questions that will always bring you right back to business rules.
Ron Ross, Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rules Solutions, LLC, is internationally acknowledged as the “father of business rules.” Recognizing early on the importance of independently managed business rules for business operations and architecture, he has pioneered innovative techniques and standards since the mid-1980s. He wrote the industry’s first book on business rules in 1994.
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It was a more comprehensive, holistic approach to the subject than other training. Emphasis on understanding the business prior to technology considerations was reassuring to business stakeholders.”
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I like the pragmatic reality you discuss, while a rule tool would be great, recognizing many people will use Word/Excel to capture them helps. We can’t jump from crazy to perfect in one leap!
Use of the polls is also great. Helps see how everyone else is doing (we are not alone), and helps us think about our current state.”
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1. If you put a live process in the “ever-learning” loop (proposed by Tom Mitchell years ago, http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~tom/), after a while you would not only “identify patterns” but will continue to learn and improve business rules that govern the process as it keeps working. With modern business analytics in place we are coming much closer to such self-adapting processes.
2. Nothing wrong if in addition to automatically learned rules we also manually create and maintain business rules that prevent the process from producing undesirable or illegal outcomes.
Ronald G. Ross
Jacob, Good points.
When it comes to loops, though, something has to start and continuously refresh the loops. I believe that something is what many people seem to overlook … it’s not as glamorous … It’s all the of following that the company is subject to … acts, laws, statutes, regulations, contracts, MOUs, agreements, terms & conditions, deals, bids, deeds of sale, warranties, prospectuses, citations, certifications, receipts, notices … business policies.
Think ‘compliance’ in the broadest sense. Today, business can’t trace these rules, or explain the results processes actually get. IT must intermediate all changes, from minor to major. These problems are never going to go away.
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