The Greatest Irony of the Information Age: Business Rules
|This column originally appeared in the Nov./Dec. 1995 issue of the Data Base Newsletter.|
The first half of the 1990s has witnessed a wholesale transformation of business activity. In the course of just a few frenetic years, business activity has become virtually synonymous with personal interaction with computers.
In the process, the very definition of "end-user" has changed irreversibly. Nowadays it is fashionable to call the access-enabled end-user a knowledge worker. The engine of this change, of course, is technological: client-based processing, GUIs, and objects. The question, however, is whether the newly access-enabled are becoming true knowledge workers.
Many companies across the globe are having concerns. Their workers are reaching out into vast parsecs of cyberspace -- only to find great voids where they expected something of substance. Where is that dark matter that keeps the business universe in balance?
What has happened is this. In all the new-frontier excitement of recent years, we have placed most of our efforts into the work part of "knowledge worker," and very little into the knowledge part.
Now it is time to correct this imbalance and to fill the voids. There is a label for this new turning-to-knowledge: business rules. In the second half of this decade, the company that fails to re-orient itself toward business rules is literally one that risks becoming lost in cyberspace.
The business-rule movement incorporates something old (data models), something new (rules), and something borrowed (use cases). It exploits the good ideas of objects -- but goes far beyond them. The goal is to establish a solid base for the knowledge-oriented activity of the business -- that is, to establish real knowledge for true knowledge workers.
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