The Greatest Irony of the Information Age: Business Rules

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 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.

# # #

Standard citation for this article:

citations icon
Ronald G. Ross, "The Greatest Irony of the Information Age: Business Rules" (May/Jun. 1995)

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

Read All Articles by Ronald G. Ross
Subscribe to the eBRJ Newsletter
In The Spotlight
 Jim  Sinur
 Ronald G. Ross

Online Interactive Training Series

In response to a great many requests, Business Rule Solutions now offers at-a-distance learning options. No travel, no backlogs, no hassles. Same great instructors, but with schedules, content and pricing designed to meet the special needs of busy professionals.