Monday, May 16, 2005

A little bit about me (very little)

I’m a very lucky guy.

First, I met my lovely wife Michelle. That was the luckiest thing and the best thing that ever happened to me.

Second, I have been lucky and fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work on many advanced technologies and be on the leading edge of technology.

2000 – present

  • Served as IBM’s Business Rules SME and Business Rules Architect on the largest civilian systems modernization plan in history, the 15-year $10 billion IRS PRIME CADE Business Systems Modernization Project
  • Assisting companies, such as a Fortune 500 transportation company, with their BRE evaluation, short-list and BRE RFP selection projects
  • Leading BIZRULES business rule consulting engagements. See: Customer list

1999 – CES started doing business as


  • Learned about real-time OLTP reservation systems while consulting for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL)


  • Served as EDS Canada's AION Business Rules SME. Helped design and program the Business Rules in Canada's $400 million Income Security Program Redesign (ISPR)Project. (ISP is equivalent to the United States Social Security System). This was my Y2K project, and my first business systems modernization project


  • Learned how to manage offshore/outsourced projects while consulting for Burger King

1995 – Founded Competitive Edge Systems Inc. (CES)

1994 June-Dec

  • Learned how to manage offshore projects while working for BAESA, the Pepsi-Cola bottler in Brazil

During six years at Mobil Oil between 1988-1994:

  • Learned how to work with and interview subject matter experts
  • Learned object-oriented analysis & design (OOA/OOD) and object oriented programming (OOP)
  • Learned how to program object-oriented systems using AION, a completely object-oriented programming language
  • Learned how to program expert systems using AION
  • Learned how to do Knowledge Acquisition, Knowledge Representation, and Knowledge Engineering
  • Learned how to plan, estimate, control, manage, and deliver international projects

1986-1988 While working on a Master of Science in Computer Information Systems with a Concentration in Artificial Intelligence from the UM School of Business (this was equivalent to an MBA degree and studying AI from the practical, business perspective)

  • Learned a lot about A.I, expert systems, knowledge engineering, and knowledge management during graduate school
  • Started developing a knowledge engineering methodology that would later evolve into the BIZRULES® VISION™ business rule methodology
  • Started free-lance writing

1983-1986 While working on a Bachelor of Science in Systems Analysis from the University of Miami School Business:

  • Became an INGRES DBA
  • Apple released the Lisa computer. I played with Lisa. It had a GUI and a mouse. Forget the amber screen on the VT-100 and the VAX. Lisa was cool and it was the new thing
  • Apple released the Mac. My first personal computer was a Mac Plus
  • Started learning about Expert Systems, and Artificial Intelligence. This was the new new thing in the 1980s. This was the beginning of the Expert System Hype Cycle. I was hooked again.

1980-1983 During high school in Miami-Dade County:

  • My best friend Marc had a TRS-80 and we both got hooked on micro-computers and computer games
  • Learned to use the Xerox Star. This had an Ethernet network, the first laser printer, a mouse, a real GUI, the works. This was the first truly object–oriented system that I had ever seen. This is the same system that Steve Jobs saw at Xerox, that inspired him to invent the Mac.
  • Learned to program INGRES relational database management systems (RDBMS)
  • Learned how to do Digital BASIC programming on a DEC VAX 11/780
  • Learned how to do event-driven programming on the Mac


Who Should Read the BIZRULES Blog

You should read this blog if you want to know more about business rule management and knowledge automation. I know a lot about these topics. I’d like to share some of my thoughts, experience and advice with you about documenting, managing, and automating business rules and business knowledge.

I have over 17 years experience designing, building, and deploying rule-based and knowledge-based solutions. This includes harvesting* business rules and expert knowledge from SMEs; documenting and modeling rules; redesigning and simplifying rules; and building intelligent systems using business rule engines and knowledge-based expert systems. I’ve worked with SMEs from various countries, in many industries, and throughout many functional areas. I’d like to share with you some of the lessons and best practices that I’ve learned along the way.

I started learning how to design and build rule-based and knowledge based systems in 1988 when Mobil Oil hired me to develop their global knowledge management and expert system initiative. I left Mobil six years later to start Competitive Edge Systems Inc., a business solutions and technology consulting firm focused on building intelligent rule-based and knowledge-based applications. Founded in 1995, the company started doing business as in 1999.

Through the years I’ve developed a proven and repeatable process for getting knowledge and rules from SME to BRE no matter what industry, function or application you’re dealing with. I know how to work with experts in order to understand and document their reasoning and decision-making processes. I know how to guide experts to explain what they know, how they do it, and why they do it that way. (What, how, and why – I’ll come back to that in a future blog)

In this blog I’d like to tell you about some of the methods and techniques for business rules and knowledge management that work in real life. I also want to tell what you need to know about business rule management and knowledge management, and what you should watch out for.

The more I learn about business rules, the more I realize that there is to know that I don’t know much about yet. Although I have been practicing in this field since 1988, I don’t want to call myself an expert. I read a definition of ‘expert’ years ago that went something like this:

Expert: “ex-spurt”. An ex is a has-been. And a spurt is a drip.

I know how to encode business rules and expert knowledge in computer languages called business rule engines and expert systems. I apply proven techniques and rigorous methods from these fields of Artificial Intelligence: Knowledge Acquisition, Knowledge Representation, and Knowledge Engineering.

Finally, I’d like to share some lessons learned and best practices with you in this blog as well.

I am not a professional writer, but I like to write. I have a lot to say about things that I know and have experienced. I know how to “do” business rules. Rules are what I know most about, so that’s what I want to write about in this blog.

My approach with the BIZRULES Blog and with the Business Rules Knowledge Base™ (see BIZRULES.INFO) is to tell you what you need to know about rules and how to do it. Proven methods. What works and what doesn't. Real benefits and real ROI from real cases. Facts not hype.

If you need specific help such as business rule management consulting services or BRE professional services and solutions, please visit BIZRULES.COM. That is where you should go to get information about BIZRULES® consulting services and solutions.

* I like to call this eliciting, as in eliciting knowledge from an expert. Extracting is another popular term, but ‘extracting rules from SMEs’ sounds like you’re taking something away that they don’t want to give up. Harvesting is the currently-accepted term for what is really a knowledge acquisition process. Harvesting sounds less threatening.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Welcome to the BIZRULES® Blog

This will be our spot on the web to share best practices, tips and techniques for building rule-based and knowledge-based applications. We'd like to share our knowledge and experience on rule harvesting, design, development, and management.

This blog will focus on these related topics:

Knowledge Engineering
· Knowledge Acquisition (Rule harvesting)
· Knowledge Representation (Rule modeling)
· Knowledge Engineering (Rule authoring and development)

Rule-based systems
· Business rule engines (BRE)
· Business rule management
· Business rule management systems (BRMS)
· Rule digitization

Knowledge-based systems
· Expert systems (ES)
· Knowledge management (KM)
· Knowledge base management systems (KBMS)
· Knowledge digitization

But we also want to learn from you and hear what you think. Send us your thoughts and questions. Tell us what you need to know. We’ll do our best to help you or point you in the right direction.

Rolando Hernandez
CEO and Chief Rules Architect

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