Business Rules as Customer Interface
|This column originally appeared in the March/April 1998 issue of the Data Base Newsletter.|
Business rules have a wide variety of uses. If you think business rules are just a database integrity thing, think again. I am amazed to find a business rule approach applied in an ever-growing number of ways. The most recent concern is supporting business-to-customer 'interfaces'. Here are several fascinating examples.
Supporting the Supply Chain. A parts supplier must package their goods for the convenience of the finished-goods manufacturers who use them. 'Convenient' is naturally different for each manufacturer. How does each customer define 'convenient'? Through declarative sets of rules.
Integrating Support Services. An international package delivery service wants to integrate their services seamlessly within the automated workstation environments of their customers worldwide. Imagine all the differences across (a) national and sub-national boundaries, (b) hardware/software platforms, and (c) customized GUIs. What approach are they using to establish a standard baseline? Business rules.
Producing the Customer's Contract. Local walk-in betting offices
in a certain European country are required by law to make available to customers
all the rules governing the placing of bets. These rules must cover every
possible contingency. For example, what happens if your bet on a horse race
includes some horse to 'show', but only two horses finish the race? (I don't
know for sure, but I bet somehow you lose your money.) The answers must be
given as a 'contract' to customers. What stuff makes up the contract?
Bet on business rules!
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