Business Rules Management (BRM) – the right tools and strategy for managing and accelerating your business decisions
By Elena Doll, SAP NetWeaver Product Management – SOA Middleware
Business Rules Management (BRM) helps companies to standardize and optimize their business rules. Shipped with SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment (CE 7.1), BRM gives companies the possibility to define, execute and manage business rules spanning across different business applications used by different departments within an organization.
In today’s dynamic market, conditions change fast and with it also the business rules. The biggest challenge is to manage those fast changing business rules across different software systems and business functions.
As a solution offering from SAP, the SAP NetWeaver BRM isolates the business rules from the applications, which could be both SAP or non-SAP. Externalizing business rules means extracting all the rules and storing them in one central place resulting in higher visibility, centralization and consistency in business decisions.
The typical customer challenges as we know are:
Lack of visibility into business decisions
- Critical business rules are locked in code or databases
- Business has no visibility into how systems take decisions
Inflexible IT systems
- Business rules can be very volatile
- Hardwired business rules make change difficult for IT
- Unacceptably long testing and change cycle times
- High costs of correction and rework
Costly human experts and error-prone decision-making
- Need to maintain a pool of trained experts
- Continuous training and hiring costs
- Very complex rules and error prone and time consuming human decision making
- Business rules not centrally managed
- Scattered across code, manuals and as tacit knowledge
- Inadequate, ambiguous and inconsistent business rules across the enterprise
- High risk of compliance violation
Previously, the whole application needed to be changed if the rules changed as the rules were hidden within the applications and they have been defined in the code itself. It took a lot of effort and time to adapt applications to changes in rules. Developers had to change the code and specialized developers with ABAP and Java skills and knowledge in application logic were needed. The de-centrally managed business rules often led to inadequate, ambiguous and inconsistent rules and decision-making across the enterprise.
In the current market conditions, the focus should be on insights, flexibility and productivity in addition to efficiency. Companies need the business strategy and IT to be aligned. BRM therefore supports a flexible organizational strategy that is able to improve agility to adapt to change. Centralized and code independent business rules lead to reduced costs for changes and an improved visibility for the business.