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Business Rules Management Systems often promise to deliver business user rule maintenance. However, most business users don’t want to “maintain rules” any more than they want to “write code”. They want to run their business better. They want to:

  • Relax their underwriting policies
  • Reduce their risk exposure
  • Retain more customers even if it costs more
  • Promote slow-moving products
  • Catch a new kind of fraud
  • Enforce new regulations
  • and so on…

To get business users to maintain the rules in Decision Services without them feeling like programmers you must:

Present rule maintenance as a business function.

  • It cannot look like they are being made to maintain code.
  • It cannot look like it was designed for IT people.
  • You should avoid pseudocode as much as possible
  • It must look like they are doing what they want to do – changing the way their business runs.

Make the environment familiar.

  • Have it use the same layout and style as other systems they use routinely.
  • Make sure it uses their terminology and expectations.
  • Make the overall environment as intuitive – to this group of users – as possible.

Integrate the process of rule maintenance.

  • It should seem like a seamless process to go from a business task to changing rules.
  • It should let them do rule editing when it makes sense for the user, for instance when they see a report telling them something should be changed.
  • It should be integrated with their performance monitoring and other dashboards and portals.

Make it secure & controlled.

  • Audit trails and security to prevent unauthorized changes.
  • Easy to use release management so business users can package up a set of changes and deploy them.

Provide impact analysis and simulation.

  • Give business users the ability to simulate the impact of a proposed change in business terms.
  • Allow business users to see which decisions use which rules and consider the impact of a particular change.

Deliver an environment that prevents them from making errors in the editing of rules.

  • Use graphical metaphors like decision tables that have a defined structure or use templates to ensure new rules conform to a defined structure.
  • Use templates to expose parts of existing rules to business users for ongoing maintenance.
  • Provide verification and validation tools that are integrated with the rule maintenance environment.
  • Automate testing tools so business users can run tests immediately and easily when considering a change.

Business users can and should be able to maintain a significant percentage of their rules. It just takes a certain amount of thought and planning.

Related Briefs:

  • Business Rules Management Systems Defined
  • Advantages of Business Rules

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