Sunday, February 25, 2007

The BIZRULES Blog has moved to a new address

I finally made the switch from Blogger to Movable Type.

From now on I will be posting to the new blog http://bizrules.info/weblog/. All the old blog entries have been imported into the new blog. Most of the comments have been imported as well.

Hopefully your feeds will move over automatically, but if they don't you will find the usual feed sign up links on the bottom right of the new blog.

So this is the last entry I will post on http://www.bizrules.info/blog. I'll keep this blog around with all the old entries, so any links to it should continue to work.

Why the switch?

I finally outgrew Blogger. The new version of Blogger was a big improvement, but it was just not good enough.

Blogger recently added categories along with a really nice layouts feature to help you design your blog layout. But layouts does not work unless you let Blogger host your blog. Since I want to host my blog on the BizRules.info domain, I finally outgrew Blogger and decided to use something else.

There's a lot of good info out there to help you export your posts from Blogger and import them into Movable Type. Here are some links I found useful:

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Thursday, February 8, 2007

Macro decisions (million dollar decisions)

Macro decisions are strategic or tactical decisions. I like to call them million dollar decisions.

Examples of macro decisions that can be automated using business rules:
  • What is the best product that we should recommend for this customer?
  • What is the best solution for this situation?
  • What is our underwiting strategy and policy?
  • What is our refund policy?
  • What is our pricing strategy for next year?
  • What is our discount policy this year?
  • What promotions should we run?
  • What should we do to improve improve yields and revenue?
  • Where should we locate the new store?
  • Where should we build the plant?
  • Where should we build the product?
  • Where should we hire the employees?

  • What Legal Entity structure should we use for this company?
  • What Legal Entity should we use for this contract?
  • Should we create a new legal entity for this deal?
  • What is the best way to structure this deal?

  • How do we design this plant so as to prevent and contain fires?
    How do we clean up this oil spill?
  • How do we minimize tax and maximize revenue for this contract?
  • How should we record these types of accounting transactions?
  • How do we calculate this quarter's tax provision?
  • How do we solve this customer's mission critical problem right now?
  • How do we troubleshoot this problem?
Thanks to James Taylor at the EDM blog for the idea for this list. If you have any others you'd like to add to the list, please add your comment below.

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Micro decisions (a million little decisions)

Micro decisions are operational decisions. I like to call them a million little decisions.

Examples of micro decisions that can be automated using business rules:

  • Is the customer eligible for the product?
  • Is the customer eligible for the promotion?
  • What discounts is the customer entitled to?
  • What should I up-sell right now?
  • What should I cross-sell right now?
  • What is the highest available commission (HAC)?
  • What is the lowest available fare (LAF)?
  • What credit card does the customer prefer to use?
  • Do I have all the information I need to save this record in the system?
  • How do I work-around the bug or limitation in the system?
  • Who should we assign as the company contact person for this sale?
Thanks to James Taylor at the EDM blog for the idea for this list. If you have any others you'd like to add to the list, please add your comment below.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Jobs: Business Rule Analysts & Requirements Analysts in DC/MD

BizRules is looking for a

- Business Rules Analyst
- Business Requirements Analyst

in the DC/MD area for a long term project. If you are interested and have experience harvesting/discovering rules, defining requirements, or authoring rules in Business Rule Engines (BRE), contact us or send your resume to

JOBS [at] BIZRULES.COM
305.994.9510

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Adding categories to the blog using the new Blogger

I converted to the new version of Blogger so I can finally add categories or labels to each post. Just noticed that as I add labels to old posts, they may show up as "new" items in your RSS feed or news reader. Sorry about that!

A lot of the new features in Blogger such as layouts are still not activated, and as a result I can't add the list of labels or categories to the layout. If anyone knows why layouts may not work, please reach out and point me in the right direction!

So, the bottom line: The answer is... this blog is still a work in progress. I'll keep improving the layout, labeling the old posts, and writing new posts. If you have suggestions, questions or topics for the blog, let me know.

Thanks!

PS - The labels or categories so far include:
Analyst BestPractice Blog CEO Challenges Conferences FAQ FIC Haley IBM ILOG InRule Knowledge Mergers Mistakes MSFT Obstacles Pega Personal Predictions RETE ROI SME SOX

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Monday, January 8, 2007

Ruling the Corporation - THE STATE OF THE BUSINESS RULES MARKET 2007

THE STATE OF THE BUSINESS RULES MARKET 2007
By Rolando Hernandez, CEO, BIZRULES. January 8, 2007

I've been thinking about what's ahead for the BR market in 2007. Here are some thoughts:
  1. More M&A consolidation in the business rule engine (BRE) market is coming. There are a few small vendors (new and existing) with unique and technology that could be very interesting to the larger players. 2006 saw Mindbox and Versata get acquired. Insession Technologies spun off Resolution EBS. See the 2007 BRE Family Tree for who the leading vendors are today and how they got there.
  2. Look for Microsoft to play a larger role in the BR market, one that helps legitimize the space for those that still don't get BR. Microsoft already has 2 BRE technologies embedded in larger offerings. Yet because it doesn't market these rule engines as separate products yet, they are still pretty much under the radar. One of their BREs is embedded in Vista, so by the end of 2007 thousands maybe millions of client desktops will have a BRE rule execution engine ready to fire rules.
  3. More small BRE vendors will partner with Microsoft and position their BRE engines as a powerful rule authoring tool, integrate their product with Microsoft BRE, and position MSFT BRE as the runtime rule engine. A couple of BRE vendors are already doing this. An interesting possibility.
  4. Look out for alliances between between enterprise architecture (EA) modeling tools and business rule management systems (BRMS) as customers demand more integration with modeling tools and BR tools. As the BR approach gets blessed and accepted by more and more IT shops, BR modeling with play a larger role.
  5. Customers moving to this new BR approach and technology will continue to create business rules center of excellence, as I predicted last year.
  6. Business Rule Engine (BRE) products will become more and more similar. Selecting the right engine will get harder and become more important as the products get more powerful.
  7. BRE sales people are still spending a lot time selling the idea and concept of BR, and wasting too much time looking for the business case to make the sale. Smart customers are already sold on the BR idea. They're not even wasting time putting together the "business case" for using a BRE. They realize they need a BRE and they need it now. A rulebase (rule engine), IT and the Business is quickly discovering, is now just as necessary as a database. So forget the business case for "why the customer needs a BRE". Let's talk instead about "why the customer should buy your BRE".
  8. Renewed focus on rule harvesting and rule development methodologies. At the end of the day if you don't know what your business rules are, or if you don't modernize your rules before storing them in a BRE, it won't matter what BRE you select.
  9. Some companies don't want to bother buying an (BRE) engine. They want to buy the whole car. Look for rule-based packages that OEM a BRE for specific decisioning and advising solutions to become available.
  10. Finally, what I think is the most powerful business rules trend of all: Question Answering. According to Matthew Glotzbach, head of products for Google Enterprise, "Question answering is the future of search". This "new" technology is really a nod back to the classic interactive question answering expert system. You've probably run a Microsoft Wizard to troubleshoot a hardware problem. With a BRE under the hood, and a new marketing label: Expert system, Wizard, whatever, you shall now be called question answering... The marketing gods make it so... well now it looks like the next generation of search will leverage the power of the underappreciated and misunderstood expert system. Fair Isaac came out with SmartForms last year - basically they added in the feature they took out when they went from expert system to business rule engine: the smart interactive question answer front end. Haley is doing the same thing. I'm beginning to realize that when these expert system vendors renamed themselves as business rule engine vendors, what they really did was take out the smart interactive question answer interface. You know, the one where depending on the user's answer, the rules determine the next question to ask the user. Microsoft is beta-testing Microsoft Live QnA. Google is working on QnA as well. BIZRULES is working on the Question Answering Smart Banner Ad. Expert systems are back! Vendors are going to jump on the bandwagon and call their FAQ products question answering solutions. The real QA software will have at least two attributes: interactive and intelligent. Don't be fooled: a static FAQ page is not a Question Answering solution.

James Taylor and friends at Fair Isaac have put together a great list of predictions for the business rules market for 2007 over here and here. I agree and like a lot of these predictions. The more predictions the better. Let's keep it moving, and have fun ruling your business in 2007!

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