Business Rules as Customer Interface

Ronald G.  Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC) Read Author Bio       || Read All Articles by Ronald G. Ross

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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Standard citation for this article:

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Ronald G. Ross, "Business Rules as Customer Interface" (Mar./Apr. 1998)

About our Contributor:

Ronald  G. Ross
Ronald G. Ross Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Executive Editor, Business Rules Journal and Co-Chair, Building Business Capability (BBC)

Ronald G. Ross is Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rule Solutions, LLC, where he actively develops and applies the BRS Methodology including RuleSpeak®, DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak.

Ron is recognized internationally as the "father of business rules." He is the author of ten professional books including the groundbreaking first book on business rules The Business Rule Book in 1994. His newest are:

Ron serves as Executive Editor of and its flagship publication, Business Rules Journal. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences world-wide. More than 50,000 people have heard him speak; many more have attended his seminars and read his books.

Ron has served as Chair of the annual International Business Rules & Decisions Forum conference since 1997, now part of the Building Business Capability (BBC) conference where he serves as Co-Chair. He was a charter member of the Business Rules Group (BRG) in the 1980s, and an editor of its Business Motivation Model (BMM) standard and the Business Rules Manifesto. He is active in OMG standards development, with core involvement in SBVR.

Ron holds a BA from Rice University and an MS in information science from Illinois Institute of Technology. Find Ron's blog on For more information about Ron visit Tweets: @Ronald_G_Ross

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