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Why Business Rules Are Important in Real-World BPM

This is a quick blog to shine some light on James Taylor’s Webinar on business rules and decisions in BPM, and their relationship to business process. 

Why is this important? 

Here are a few things I’ve observed over the last year from researching SAP customer usage:

  1. Decision-making is a potential bottleneck in processes. Even if your process is automated, but your decision making isn’t, your bandwidth is only as large as the number of authorized decision makers you have.
  2. Ensuring consistency between processes. Maybe you have different processes that to make similar decisions – for example, credit worthiness of a customer in different sales channels. If your high volume channel has automated policies, but your low volume high touch channel doesn’t follow the same exact policy, you have a mismatch. Unless this is for a real reason?
  3. Simplifying processes. Lack of rules in a process shows up in two ways: a) complex if-then-else flows in the business process; b) extra steps and people needed to “decide” what sub-process flow, or to make manual transformations to information & data associated with the work flow.
  4. Adding intelligence to composite applications to improve user adoption. If you make applications smarter so they pre-fill related data and tailor themselves to the specific context of the user and the process instance, you’ll make it much easier for casual business users to engage with a process. This is instead of creating a process that requires more power users to handle overly complicated data entry tasks – see below for specific example.
  5. Optimizing and perfecting processes. Decisions, policies, and rules can be used to define the parameters of how your process operates. They also offer an ability for your company’s automation to “learn” without having to significantly re-alter company automation. Yes I know, this point needs a hard hitting example. I’m finding some smallish examples, but expect to have better stories I can share in the next year.

A Real World example

Perfect example related to master data governance:  one partner implemented a BPM flow with a “global MDM expert” and then a “local MDM expert”.  The other partner implemented a single global master data governance flow where business rules took care of the “local MDM expert” step.  In the latter case, the local MDM expert spent their time refining rules, and thus scaled their decision making a lot more.

Coming soon the next SAP BPM book “Applying Real-World BPM in an SAP Environment”

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