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  • By Geoff Hook
  • In Blog
  • Posted 16/12/2011

Geoff Hook discusses the benefits of adopting a BPM philosophy

It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” – Charles Darwin.

The adoption of Business Process Management philosophy and technologies provide businesses with the ability to become more agile, providing this is backed up by the required culture within the organisation.

According to Gartner research, additional agility can be provided by Business Rule Engines:

The increased emphasis on business agility is driving many organizations to Business Rule Engines, among other agility-focussed technologies” – Gartner Inc.

Business Rule Engines can provide the ability to separate automated decision making systems from the other IT systems and objects such as data and workflow. If implemented well, the rules would be independent of each other and transparent.


This diagram above shows the importance (level 4) of Prediction of rule changes on business in terms of business value.


FICO (Fair Isaac) the well-known Business Rules Company propose the analogy above, the ‘Business Rules Management System’ is the Brain, directing the nervous system is the ‘BPM System’ which in turn runs the organization (the body). Changing the rules upon which the brain (BRMS) makes decisions has an obvious impact on the way the body (organization) operates.

There are different types of impact which can be predicted using the appropriate form of advanced analytics. Impacts could include;

- Direct financial e.g. loans granted, expenses authorised
- Time related e.g. change to customer delivery dates
- Cost related e.g. change to workload

Depending on the organization and the processes involved, the impact could be a major factor in business performance, so it makes sense to analyse the impact of rule changes.

Discrete event simulation integrated with the BPMS and BRMS is one such technology able to provide this valuable predictive analytics support. Probability distributions provided by simulation software can be used to create thousands of synthetic cases to provide test data for the business rules. The simulation software accesses the rules engine to obtain the decision for each synthetic case and quickly generates a large population of outcomes, which provides results that can determine the impact of the rule change. The different possible future business environments that could be encountered are able to be tested using different assumptions and distribution data.


The above diagram shows that Tokens (cases) are generated and assigned characteristics (attributes) such as age, salary etc., the rule is evaluated and the outcome is recorded. If the ‘Refer’ outcome was a manual process involving expert resources this would provide a valuable prediction of workload. The natural extension is to then simulate the process model to determine potential effect on customer service levels.

These are simple examples that can be extended to fit requirements of complex business needs. Lanner simulation is used extensively by major organisations to reduce the risk of change in many areas; the impact of business rule changes when supported by a modern BRMS is a natural extension for simulation.

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