Focus on What Makes Your Business Smart: From Interpretation to Implementation Steps 5 - 7: The Technical Steps

Gladys S.W.  Lam
Gladys S.W. Lam Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Publisher, Business Rules Journal and Executive Director, Building Business Capability (BBC) Read Author Bio       || Read All Articles by Gladys S.W. Lam

Step 5:  Map Vocabulary to Data

The audience changes significantly in Step 5.  In this step, business analysts need to collaborate closely with data specialists in IT to ensure the right data is used.

The goals of this step

  1. Identify data sources
  2. Map terms to attributes
  3. Specify static vs. dynamic data
  4. Define cardinalities

Responsible parties

  • Data Specialists —map data to business concepts and business rules

  • Business Analysts —review and validate data specification

Techniques and methodology

  • Data modeling techniques

  • Database administration techniques

Step 6:  Invoke Tool

Business analysts can relax a bit during this step.  Technical developers take over and do their magic.

The goals of this step

  1. Code business logic in the technical platform

Responsible parties

  • Developers — implement

  • Business Analysts —be available to answer questions

Techniques and methodology

  • Techniques appropriate to technical platform

As we all know, different implementation platforms implement your solutions differently.  What is most important to remember is that if you stay focused on the business needs, you will ensure alignment and accuracy.

The following shows some examples of how the business analysis efforts can be used to validate system development efforts.  Keep in mind that the business analysis effort is the same no matter which implementation platform is used.  To illustrate this important point, I provide implementation examples conducted by three different vendors:

  • OpenRules using OpenRules native technology.

  • Oracle using Oracle OPA technology.

  • MVC Pro, an independent system integrator adept in rule engine and non-rule engine implementation platforms.

Figure 1.  Decision structure translated into decision table in OpenRules.  


Figure 2.  Decision table translated to implementation format in OPA.  

It is not necessary or realistic for business analysts to understand the implementation language.  It is, however, important for business analysts to be confident that the rules specified in steps 1 – 4 are implemented as specified.  Step 7 enables the business analysts to do that.

Step 7:  Execute

Business analysts need to participate in this step to validate the results.

The goals of this step

  1. Validate results generated from the system to match the expected results specified in scenarios created in Step 4

Responsible parties

  • Developers —fix issues if required

  • Business Analysts —validate outcome

Techniques and methodology

  • Testing techniques

Again, deliverables produced in Steps 1 – 4 should be used to validate the results.  The following two examples show how different implementation platforms produce results that align with the business analysis conducted.

Figure 3.  Outcome as executed by OpenRules.  


Figure 4.   Outcome as developed by MVC Pro.  

Just Remember…

Plainly speaking, here are some of the main things you need to remember.  Business analysts can bring the biggest value to the business by

  • focusing on what makes the business smart — including business rules, decisions, and concepts.

  • assisting business stakeholders in formulating, extracting, articulating, and analyzing rules.

  • using a structured approach that puts the business in the driver's seat all the way from initiation to implementation.

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Standard citation for this article:

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Gladys S.W. Lam, "Focus on What Makes Your Business Smart: From Interpretation to Implementation Steps 5 - 7: The Technical Steps" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 15, No. 3, (Mar. 2014)

About our Contributor:

Gladys  S.W. Lam
Gladys S.W. Lam Co-Founder & Principal, Business Rule Solutions, LLC , Publisher, Business Rules Journal and Executive Director, Building Business Capability (BBC)

Gladys S.W. Lam is a world-renowned authority on applied business rule techniques. She is Principal and Co-Founder of Business Rule Solutions, LLC (, the most recognized company world-wide for business rules and decision analysis. BRS provides methodology, publications, consulting services, and training. Ms. Lam is Co-Creator of IPSpeak, the BRS methodology including RuleSpeak®, DecisionSpeak and TableSpeak. She is Co-Founder of, a vertical community for professionals and home of Business Rules Journal. She co-authored Building Business Solutions, an IIBA® sponsored handbook on business analysis with business rules.

Ms. Lam is widely known for her lively, pragmatic style. She speaks internationally at conferences, public seminars and other professional events. She is also Executive Director of Building Business Capability (BBC) Conference, which includes the Business Rules & Decisions Forum and the Business Analysis Forum.

Ms. Lam is a world-renowned expert on business project management, having managed numerous projects that focus on the large-scale capture, analysis and management of business rules. She advises senior management of large companies on organizational issues and on business solutions to business problems. She has extensive experience in related areas, including BPM, structured business strategy, and managing and implementing information systems.

Ms. Lam is most recognized for her ability to identify the source of business issues, and for her effectiveness in developing pragmatic approaches to resolve them. She has gained a world-class reputation for fostering positive professional relationships with principals and support staff in projects. Ms. Lam graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.S. in Computer Science.

Read All Articles by Gladys S.W. Lam

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