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


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What do you need for success in managing business rules as a business proposition, not an IT responsibility?

Guest Post by Alexander Davidge ~~~~~~~ Alexander’s response to the title question, and to my post: http://goo.gl/fn96B … My reply and a prediction below. Firstly Ron, it is absolutely a business space and responsibility. However, understanding the architecture of information and systems will as often as not be required. There are many areas with typically high IT asosociations such as this where the “double deep” professional is needed (workflow management and orchestration, web marketing, business intelligence, etc., etc.) — i.e. individuals who have to know their business or operations subject matter in depth but have a level of mastery over their IT too to really excel. From my limited exposure I would say a common problem is one of incorrect balance.

1. The IT capital or project investment (which is easy to articulate on a balance sheet or business case) overshadows the governance or talent need.

2. The expertise or lack thereof of … a user base oversteers the direction rather than an informed senior level assessment and direction.

3. The urgent and important crowds out the long term, and a business rulebook rapidly becomes riddled with exceptions and loses value and credibility.

So I don’t see it as much about a binary challenge between business and IT responsibilities, but the IT problem being a common and prominent example of a lack of executive sponsorship and stewardship. It’s almost trite to say the fix has to start with an executive appreciation of the value followed by ownership and commitment to making it work. Find a business problem or opportunity which doesn’t fit that profile! So not a very helpful reply I’m afraid. What are your thoughts Ron? Where do you see the malaise being resolved (if at all)? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ My reply … Alexander, Well said. Unfortunately I can’t disagree with any of your points. There are a great many vested interests and other sources of inertia lined up against it. So we’ll just have to keep plugging away with the message, showing success stories, and motivating change. I’ve been at it for the best part of 15 years … I have no intention of giving up as long as I’m living and breathing. Now this part might surprise you. In the long run the whole equation will change. The fundamental problem lies with the fact that business rules still have to be programmed. (Even production rules are programming.) Take programmers out of the business of implementing rules, put business analysts and skilled writers in their place (with appropriate tools), and the current economics of rule management (and IT as a whole) can be improved by at least an order of magnitude. There is a sea change coming, tsunami in proportions. Most people will be blindsided by it. It will happen sometime within this decade. Mark my words.

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Ronald G. Ross

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.