Marwane El Kharbili

Jul 2, 2008

Reaction on EDM/BPM

This is my reaction to the post by James taylor on his blog "Smart Enough Systems" entitled:
Here's why to use decision management not just process management. I have been reading the blog since quite a long time now and must acknowledge that I haven't read the book yet, althoug I have only heard good things about this book. Now to the matter, it is about Enterprise decision Management (EDM) (in extenso BRM= Business Rules Management) and Business process Management (BPM). Please read the post by james first otherwise my answer will be hard to understand. Now here is my reaction:

Thanks for this post and the comments on the ARIS blog. I just wanted to insist on the fact that the synergy between BRM and BPM can only help optimize the business itself and that the community at this stage is not anymore trying to motivate the use of BRM in processes anymore (everybody now sees this and that explains the flourishing of posts on the blogosphere about BRM), it is rather trying to develop concrete methodologies or at least approaches to support such a synergy. Business rules are used all the time in business processes (and not simply in workflows, I insist on this point and will get back to this later). It is just unmanageable to have them all completely or at least partly hard-coded in processes. Moreover, this leads to inconsistencies in the processes themselves, either through inconsistencies in the definition of the business rules, or because of a lack of efficient BR management techniques/tools to make sure changes to the business processes and/or to the rules are done while keeping the business process working correctly. This is even more critical when having a real process-oriented organization (of which there are more and more) which actually really deploys executable versions of its business processes, here, there is even less place for inconsistencies.

The second point I wanted to insist on is that BRM suffers from the same problems (although to less extent) that BPM suffers from. People understand under BRM either the language used to formalize rules or the underlying BRE (business rules engine) responsible for the interpretation and enforcement of the rules. BRM is (a lot) more than that, be it just because of all the methodological aspects it contains. If BRM is to be eficiently allied to BPM, it is going to be done on a methodological and paradigma layer, and not on any technological or system layer. It was in fact a comment to James' post that rminded me of this observation. As a parallel, BPM suffers from the fact that many people link it to a concrete BPMS, vendor, or worse, to workflows. typically, the most interesting and complex rules involve enterprise artifacts, humans, etc. that have nothing to do with workflows.

I will get back to this matter in future posts, but I think the post by james and the one by Kai-Uwe give quite a good idea about what the question really is about.

Marwane El Kharbili.

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