Drivers for Knowing, Analyzing, and Managing Business Rules

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

When we think about how enterprises create or manage business capabilities, the words that spring to mind are People, Process, Information, and Technology, otherwise known as PPIT. But as I often point out to the businesses I work with, there's something missing. And no, the expression I'm thinking of isn't 'business rules'. It's 'knowledge'.

Watch Gladys' latest video blog entry below.

The Importance of Managing our Knowledge

Knowledge comprises strategy, business concepts, business rules, operational business decisions, and key performance indicators (KPIs). In this day and age, experts often like to say that we're in a 'knowledge economy'. But if that's the case, then how can companies gain a competitive advantage without efficient knowledge management?

Knowledge management makes us more agile, more cost-efficient — I've had clients tell me that business rules have saved them up to 75% per project — and more compliant. In the past, several compliance officers have thanked me by telling me that business rules provide them with the necessary traceability to answer to auditors.

Knowing Your Rules Means Knowing Your Business

"I don't know why; the system made me do it" or "Because the system says so" are all things I've heard from people who don't know their business rules. Executives have come to me to say "Gladys, just tell me how our pricing system works — we don't know why our rates are what they are." Yet again, to answer those questions, you need to know your business rules.

Not only do business rules help you understand how your business works, they also ensure that you provide consistent results. All too often, people are provided with different answers according to which employee they speak to; one clerk will say yes to a request, only to be contradicted by the next one. This is symptomatic of an organization that doesn't have the right business rules in place.

Put simply, business rules are there to tell you WHY — why you get a certain rate, outcome, or result, and this is why they are of utmost importance to organizations.

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Standard citation for this article:

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Gladys S.W. Lam, "Drivers for Knowing, Analyzing, and Managing Business Rules" Business Rules Journal, Vol. 21, No. 03, (Mar. 2020)

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.

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