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April 2014: Volume 15, Issue 4
ISSN: 1538-6325


Designing Decision Tables - Part 1: Basics
By Ronald G. Ross

Decision tables are an excellent means to represent the decision rules on which an operational business decision is based. But many decision tables are too technical. They are aimed at software developers, not business people. Do they have to be that way? No! Your approach should stay as close as possible to formats intuitive and natural for business people.

In this month's column, Ron Ross explains that decision tables are a key technique for business analysis. In this first part of a 3-part series he introduces you to the fundamentals of what you need to know to understand and design business-friendly decision tables effectively.
[ read more ]

What Is the Color of your World?
By Drs. Silvie Spreeuwenberg

We call these days 'the dark days'. Where I live, the days are short and cold at this time of the year. But now the shortest day of the year is behind us and I look forward to the light days. The sun that wakens me will energize me and give me a feeling of freedom and opportunities. I believe that feeling is the origin of what SBVR terms 'the light world assumption' — everything is permitted except where explicitly prohibited by some rule. Contrast that to a dark world assumption, where everything is forbidden unless explicitly permitted. In this month's Rule Observatory, Silvie Spreeuwenberg shares her observations on 'light world' vs. 'dark world', outlining the main differences and summarizing the benefits of choosing the right color of your world.
[ read more ]

Measuring the Real Time Intelligence of Your Process Via Agility
By Jim Sinur

As processes become more intelligent, we will likely want to measure the level of intelligence. In his series on becoming a 'smarter' business, Jim Sinur has described the "ISAA" [Intelligent, Social, Agile, Autonomous] framework. This month he covers the first "A" portion of that framework: Agile. Jim describes five levels of process agility that build on each other.
[ read more ]

Focus on What Makes Your Business Smart: From Interpretation to Implementation - Steps 5 – 7: The Technical Steps
By Gladys S.W. Lam

Completing the series Focus on What Makes Your Business Smart: From Interpretation to Implementation, Gladys Lam finishes with Steps 5 – 7, which are the 'Technical Steps': (5) Map Vocabulary to Data, (6) Invoke Tool, and (7) Execute. In these steps, Ms. Lam will

  • illustrate how three different technologies implement the business rules and decisions specified in the earlier steps.

  • show how the business deliverables can be used to validate results.

  • remind business analysts of where they bring the most value.

[ read more ]

Ontological Modeling
(Part 15)

By Dr. Terry Halpin

In this series of articles, Terry Halpin has been discussing ontology-based approaches to modeling, with a main focus on popular ontology languages proposed for the Semantic Web, such as the Resource Description Framework (RDF), RDF Schema (RDFS), and the Web Ontology Language (OWL). Last time he discussed modeling of unary facts, and extended the comparison of identification schemes to compound reference schemes in which all components are mandatory. In this fifteenth instalment, Terry focuses on compound reference schemes in which some components are optional.
[ read more ]

Process Analysis — Additional Techniques
By Kathy A. Long

In a previous article, "Overview of Analysis Techniques," the Top Five analysis techniques were covered with a promise to provide an overview of additional techniques used by process analysts. This month, Kathy Long covers some of the other analysis techniques and outlines a variety of typical problems found in business processes, aligning those to the techniques introduced in this article. She also briefly discusses which process modeling techniques are the most useful, depending on the type of problem and type of analysis being used
[ read more ]

John Zachman's Concise Definition of The Zachman Framework
By John A. Zachman

The "Zachman Framework" is quite popular, and (not uncommon for something that has been used and explained for over two decades) some of the evolved descriptions have drifted from being true to intended meaning. Is The Framework a metamodel? (Yes.) Is The Framework a methodology? (No!) In this month's column, John Zachman provides his concise definition of just what The Zachman Framework is (and is not).
[ read more ]


Bringing Enterprise Business Rules Management to Inland Revenue
By Michelle Murray

Inland Revenue (IR) is the New Zealand government department responsible for the collection of over 80% of the government's revenue. IR also collects and disburses social support programme payments and provides the government with policy advice. Like most tax and revenue organisations around the world, in the last 25 years IR had implemented vast IT code changes in one main tax system. Most of the business logic — the business rules — had been buried in this complex, legacy IT code.

In this month's feature, Michelle Murray describes IR's transformational journey that includes taking a new approach to managing business rules. They’re moving away from hard coding/embedding business rules directly into IT systems and are taking an enterprise rule management approach. Business rules are centralised and reused across channels, systems, and applications.
[ read more ]

Business Decisions, Business Rules, and Business Processes: Oh My!
By Roger T. Burlton

Every few years another concept emerges that raises the hope of analysts and architects that a new solution to all our challenges has arrived. The current buzz is around Business Decisions, but I feel we have to put it all in context. 'Business decisions' are a great new addition to our ability to design great and adaptable businesses. However, they need business processes to have context and relevance to business outcomes. They need business rules to have a connection to strategy, policy, and business risk. All three need to work together. In this month's In Process column, Roger Burlton explains this, in a recap of his contribution to the panel on Business Decisions at the 2013 Building Business Capability conference.
[ read more ]

Writing Natural Language Rule Statements — a Systematic Approach Part 21: The Syntax of Data Cardinality Rule Statement
By Graham Witt

In this second series on writing natural language rule statements, Graham Witt takes a holistic and systematic approach to writing natural language rule statements. Last time, he concluded his discussion of the types of definitional rule. In Part 21 Graham begins a series of articles that look at the syntax of rule statements in general, starting with data cardinality rule statements.
[ read more ]

Observations on Business Rules, Decisions, and Processes
By Jan Vanthienen

Jan Vanthienen participated in a panel on decisions at the 2013 Building Business Capability conference. In this, the third in a series recapping the perspectives of each of the panelists, Jan shares the observations on the coexistence and the relationship between business rules, decisions, and processes that he contributed to the panel session.
[ read more ]

Business Rules — Seriously?
By Dan Tasker

As a consultant Dan Tasker has seen a variety of templates at different client sites for documenting requirements or use cases, many including a section for recording business rules. Like many BAs he had a basic intuitive understanding of what a 'business rule' is, but he wanted to sharpen that understanding. This month Dan summarizes the key points he learned from the SBVR standard
[ read more ]

The Business Motivation Model: Doing the Right Things
By John Hall

The first article in this series introduced the Business Motivation Model (BMM), an OMG-adopted business-tier specification. This month John Hall, who chairs the OMG's ongoing BMM work, discusses what 'doing the right things' means in terms of how your business is undertaking its BMM 'courses of action' (strategies and tactics).
[ read more ]

SBVR v1.2 Adopted by OMG / BMM v1.2 Approved by OMG Architecture Board
By Donald Chapin

The Object Management Group (OMG) approves new revisions of two business standards that originated in the Business Rules Group: "Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules" v1.2 (available now) and "Business Motivation Model" v1.2 (available in three months). This month our Standards Reporter, Donald Chapin, announces these major milestones, recaps the improvements in both revisions, and announces the ability to browse the concepts they contain on the web.
[ read more ]

Applying Agile to Business Rules Elicitation
By Carole-Ann Matignon

Consider this interesting enigma. On one hand, Business Rules are gaining momentum due to the need for Agility in automated systems. On the other hand, despite wide appeal and adoption, the Agile methodology has hardly been applied to BRMS. Is there a way to combine both aspects of modern agile systems? In this month's column, Carole-Ann Matignon shares her thoughts on this.
[ read more ]

The Relationship of Decision Model and Notation (DMN) to SBVR and BPMN
By Mark H. Linehan and Christian de Sainte Marie

Several recent publications have popularized the topic of "Decision Modeling" — the modeling of business decision logic for and by business users. The OMG has just released an RFP for a Decision Model and Notation (DMN) specification, but that document says little about how DMN might relate to SBVR and BPMN, and there are many open questions. How do SBVR rules relate to decisions? Is there just one or are there multiple decisions per SBVR rule? Is there more to say about how SBVR and DMN relate to BPMN? This month, Mark Linehan and Christian de Sainte Marie provide their perspective on DMN and how it is positioned in the context of the SBVR and BPMN specifications.
[ read more ]


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Register for any session in our upcoming Online Training Series and save 10% when you use coupon code [ Login to get your exclusive discount code ].

Business Analysis with Business Rules: From Strategy to Requirements
Six 1½ Hour Online Sessions
  • June 10-12, 2014 (Online)

    Working with Business Rules: Capture, Specification, Analysis & Management
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  • Sept 30-Oct 2, 2014 (Online)

    Decision Analysis and Decision Tables: All About Modeling Decisions
    Four 1½ Hour Online Sessions
  • November 19-20, 2014 (Online)

  • Business Rule Concepts: Getting to the Point of Knowledge (FourthEdition)
    By: Ronald G. Ross

    Business Rule Concepts, 4th Edition Special Discount to BRCommunity members: $5.00 off! Purchase this book for the special BRCommunity price of $ 24.95. Login to to obtain the special Discount Code

    Building Business Solutions:
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    By: Ronald G. Ross
    with Gladys S.W. Lam
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