Friday, September 19, 2008

Is BRMS/BPM a software panacea for the agile world?

Business rules and policies are scattered throughout the enterprise in pieces of software that have these intertwined deeply with the rest of the software. Separating the rules of an enterprise and automating them separately from the rest of the software application can promote accelerated use of these rules. It can also facilitate proper maintenance and re-use of these rules.

Once the rules have been separated, they can be maintained and managed on their own and the Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS) that they become part of can be served standalone to provide the necessary decoupling from the application systems.

As our systems mature in the BRMS realm, they will be used alongside Business Process Management (BPM) systems and in some cases the two will be offered together as a cohesive solution. These systems will provide sophisticated decision systems that will be highly optimized and quick to change.

Hard-wiring of the rules inside an overall application logic reduces agility. Decoupling helps. Does decoupling of the rules from the application logic then provide the necessary pill for agility? Not necessarily, not always. Not if the rules, while being extracted from one system are entrenched in a different one with no easy access. Business Rules Management systems are providing improved management to avoid the hardening and entrenchment but it doesn't all come out of the box. True agility is achieved through proper architecture and right framework.

In my next blog I will go over some of both.