Integration Is the Road Ahead

James   Taylor
James Taylor CEO, Decision Management Solutions Read Author Bio || Read All Articles by James Taylor

The business has long been served by several silos.  In my view the two most important silos in business modeling have been the data approach and the process approach.  It is astonishing to see how little attention there is for business processes in the realm of the data approach and approaches developed from the data approach, such as the business rules approach and SBVR.[2]  It is equally amazing to see how little attention there is for data and associated semantics in the realm of the business process approaches, including BPMN.[1]   The business wants to be served by an integrated holistic approach and not any longer by beautiful silos.

Why is that so difficult to achieve?

The end of the silos will definitely come.  However, it will not always be a smooth ride.  This is a major cultural change.  Let me illustrate by providing the following story:

A few weeks ago I gave a manager four papers written by four different professionals, each well known and recognized in his own field.

An excerpt from the first paper:

"Technical details required for the implementation, such as business rules … are typically specified outside the BPMN standard." (2008)

An excerpt from the second paper:

"…we already have a technique for exploring the nuts and the bolts of product engineering.  It's not use cases.  It's not business process models.  It's not class diagrams or data models.  It's fact modelling and business rules!  And we now have a standard for that — SBVR." (2008)

An excerpt from the third paper:

"It is up to the business to decide about rules, exceptions, results, constraints — but these have to be communicated clearly.  The details of calculations, rules, and decisions should not be left to system implementers or hidden away inside systems.  But this means that the specifications should be 'practically perfect in every way'." (2008)

An excerpt from the fourth paper:

"… the BPMN approach allows activities access to process data at any point in the process activity chain.  All process data is organized in a common poll,…" (2008)

How about Codasyl DDL and DML 1971?

Business wants a complete description of its processes, with all relevant events, messages, data objects, concept definitions, fact types, fact type forms, and rules.  An optimal combination of BPMN and SBVR opens up entirely new possibilities with respect to efficiency in business engineering.  A standard that will provide this functionality is a standard of the integration age.

SBVR and BPMN are welcome standards.  If we want to serve the business with one integrated description then we need to have the optimal combination of these two standards.  Sooner or later, integration of the relevant parts of BPMN and SBVR will become reality, and the manager described above will welcome such an integrative standard.


[1]  Object Management Group (OMG), Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) Specification, Version 1.1, Jan. 2008.  Available as document formal/2008-01-17 at return to article

[2]  Object Management Group (OMG), Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SBVR), Version 1.0, Object Management Group (Jan. 2008).  Available as document 08-01-02 at
SBVR 1.0 and supporting files are available at to article

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Standard citation for this article:

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James Taylor , "Integration Is the Road Ahead" Business Rules Journal Vol. 9, No. 12, (Dec. 2008)

About our Contributor:

James   Taylor
James Taylor CEO, Decision Management Solutions

James Taylor is CEO of Decision Management Solutions and one of the leading experts in decision management.

James works with clients to develop effective technology solutions to improve business performance. James was previously a Vice President at Fair Isaac Corporation where he developed and refined the concept of enterprise decision management or EDM. The best known proponent of the approach, James is a passionate advocate of decision management. James has 20 years experience in all aspects of the design, development, marketing and use of advanced technology including CASE tools, project planning and methodology tools as well as platform development in PeopleSoft's R&D team and consulting with Ernst and Young. He develops approaches, tools and platforms that others can use to build more effective information systems. He is an experienced speaker and author, with his columns and articles appearing regularly in industry magazines.

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