Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS)

Wednesday, 09 March 2011 08:48 administrator
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Business Rules represent core business concepts and policies and the logic that controls or guides them. If you want to put your business analysts (not programmers) in control of the complex business rules of your mission-critical applications, you probably have already committed to the Business Rules Approach.

A well-known advantage of the business rules approach is the externalization of business logic from application code. Externalized rules are placed in a Business Rules Repository that gives business specialists the ability to create, modify, or activate business rules without IT involvement.

Modern SOA-based applications integrate a Business Process Management (BPM) system with a BRM system considering the Rule Engine as another loosely coupled service. When an event controlled by a rule occurs, BPM engine invokes the associated rule service to make application specific decisions. Such a rule service usually receives clearly specified input/output objects and a reference to the business rule sets to be examined during service execution. At run-time, the rule service executes a rule engine passing to it input/output objects and rule sets from the rule repository. To manage the rule repository, different BRM systems provide tools for Rule Authoring and Maintenance, Rule Project Management, and Integration. A good BRMS presents the business logic in the form of business rules that are intuitive for business users, and can be easily maintained by them through a friendly GUI.

Most organizations initially represent their business rules using MS Excel and/or MS Word. Then they select a BRMS system that in most cases provides anĀ Excel-like graphical tool for Rules Management. In contrast to the most commercial BRMS system, OpenRules recommends usingĀ Excel itself as the ultimate Rule Management tool for business analysts. To make this happen, we integrate Excel with a set of Open Sourcetools to support both business and technical people during BR harvesting, automation, testing, and integration. For Rule Project management we recommend using a free Open Source Eclipse, the de-facto standard integrated development environment with plug-ins that support business terms, rules, forms, and processes presented in Excel tables.