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Decisions are not the same as processes and should not be managed as though they are. Companies need both process agility AND decision agility.
The value of keeping business rules, specifically the business rules that drive business decision-making, separate from the specification of a business process that needs a decision made include:
In the end it comes down to the fact that process agility is not the same as decision agility. If agility is about sensing and then (correctly) responding to a business change I should be able to make various kinds of change depending on what is called for. If I need to change my process then I may well have to also change some rules in the decisions used by those processes and I may well find it easiest to discuss the changes needed to the process in terms of "process rules". The reverse, however, is not true. I might change the decision as to what offer to make, what price to use, what shipment date to promise without in any way changing the process of completing the order. This is decision agility and a unified process/rule view is not going to help.
One of the main causes of confusion comes from failing to differentiate between rules as a way to describe behavior (the business rules approach, you might say) and the specification of decisions using business rules. Business rules are declarative, atomic and business-friendly and so make a great tool when describing process flow or event correlation. CEP engines and BPM tools alike should support rules constructs for this reason. However, managing business decisions is a separate activity that also requires rules and typically requires far more rules, rules that change more often and rules that have more domain knowledge within them. These kinds of rules are better managed using a separate business rules management system (BRMS) so that they can be shared and reused across decisions, across processes and across systems.
There are some other things to note:
Author, with Neil Raden, of Smart (Enough) Systems.This post is reproduced from the EDM blog
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