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The end of BRMS

-- Posted by Carole-Ann

I remember the days when BRE (business rules engine) was a hot topic.  The analysts tracked the BRE market, customers looked for engine features, vendors were competing against spaghetti code.  Back then we were a handful of passionate individuals and we believed there was more to it than just execution.  We made BRMS happen.

BRMS made it because it addresses real problems: the management of those business rules.  Having a BRE is better than code for sure but without management you only get another technique of writing code.  Management allows you to make your policies visible, auditable, trackable.  With key features such as the Rules Maintenance Application (RMA) and a truckload of repository services such as versioning, verification, validation, and finally lifecycle management, end users are empowered.  They are part of the picture and they are accountable for the decisions companies make.

BRMS is at its top, with now the attention of platform vendors, and again a handful of passionate individuals are putting into words the real problems that still need to be addressed.

  • How confident are you that this new policy will yield the expected results?  I am not talking about checking that this transaction results into the expected "approve" decision with a rate of X.  The worry here is that those new decisions may cause the overall acceptance rate to go to the roof, increasing risk, or to drop considerably, killing revenue...  What do you do today to assess where your strategies are taking your business?
  • Could you do better?  Expert decisions, meaning decisions made by experts, are very powerful as your people are making your strategies, they know their market, and they know regulations you have to comply with.  That being said, behavioral pattern may not be apparent to the naked eye.  Getting insight from the data could improve tremendously your precision in detecting the goods from the bads and therefore increase your profitablity, lower your risk, etc.
  • Are your coordinated in your decision making?  One anecdote that I like is a customer that decided to use business rules a while ago; they implemented the policies their underwriting group wanted to enforce; unfortuantely they realized that their underwriting practice was at odds with their marketing; they offered poor premiums when they did not decline the very same people they were marketing too!  The good news is that they figured it out and got an opportunity to fix it one way or the other.  Having that knowledge early is critical in a competitive market.  Connecting decisions is about aligning your decision process across functions and getting the right insight at the right time (do not offer attractive retention packages to fraudsters for example).

A couple of years ago, we saw interest in that vision.  Early adopters jumped into the Decision Management bandwagon.  Now this is getting more and more of a reality, Decision Management is officially there to stay (until we reach the next frontier).  BRMS is not dead, but it is becoming a feature rather than the whole thing.

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