Business rules, business strategy automation

Business rules or sets of business rules describe the policies, rules, operations, definitions and restrictions in an organization that are of vital importance to achieve their mission.

Organizations and companies in general are environments in which automatic operating systems (computers, machinery, facilities, etc.) coexist with systems in which people play a primary role, not only by contributing their physical work but also their intellect when making evaluations, decisions and communicating with others.

In the case of business operations, some activities are perfectly defined and repetitive enough for their automation to be appropriate, but there are still some tasks where human intervention, and decision making, is necessary and essential.

Therefore, having a low-code tool, with its own business rules engine that facilitates the automation of a large part of company processes, and also integrates human participation is essential for any digital transformation project.

In addition, this approach is practical even at the planning level because it allows you to start with a smoother automation, and daily practice indicates whether it is possible to advance further in the digitization of the activity.

WHAT IS A BUSINESS RULE?

In a broad sense, business rules are always present in the performance of an organization, either explicitly (a salary policy, working hours, the discount to be applied depending on the conditions of the sale, etc.) or implicitly (courteous treatment with clients, a supervisor’s responsibility for his team, etc.) always involving direct or indirect human participation.

However, in the world of process management, the term business rules is reserved for those rules of an explicit nature that can be and are, expressed in an understandable way, registered, traceable and modifiable.

Business rules are closely related to processes, but their existence and personality derives from the very conception of the company as an economic and social entity and its mission is to define its policies and operating modes in a granular way. Thus, they must be defined and maintained independently of the models and processes with which the company operates.

For example, you can create a rule to offer a discount to customers who spend more than a certain amount, but you can later lower the amount of the discount, or even remove it if required.

HOW TO IDENTIFY BUSINESS RULES

Although there is no mathematical formula to identify a business rule, there are some characteristics that can help us discover them:

  • It is repetitive: in general, they are used daily in the organization, and therefore capable of being automated. For example, apply a discount for a certain period to some items.
  • It is objective: they support conditions based on objective and non-preferential parameters. In other words, applying a discount to a customer for purchases over an established amount would be objective, while applying it based on their NIF would be preferential.
  • Deterministic: certain conditions will always produce the same results. They are based on previously established rules. For example, discount percentages established for preferred customers.
  • Operational: day-to-day decisions, which are made in real time, and which are closely linked to the specific characteristics of business operations. For example, setting the price of perishable consumer products each day based on certain input parameters.

WHAT IS A BUSINESS RULES ENGINE?

Businesses and organizations depend on a number of policies, definitions, restrictions, and standards to achieve their goals. And this business logic is what is known as business rules.

A business rules management system allows you to define, centralize and manage the rules to adapt them to new market needs, new regulations or conditions.

A business rules engine is the fundamental part of the system and is responsible for validating and calculating the data to finally supply a decision to the business processes or systems.

The fundamental concept of a system based on a business rules engine and its main advantage over other systems is that it keeps the process objects separate from the process logic. The system recognizes which rules must be applied to which objects for processes to function correctly.

Finally, it is very important that the rules maintenance is in the hands of business users, so it will be necessary to have a tool to define these rules without the need for technical or programming knowledge.

Tomás Martí
tomas.marti@auraportal.com