Good Presentation on Mixing Rules and Processes
Sandy has posted a pretty good presentation on mixing rules and process, which pretty well captures how I feel about the subject. I’ve never understood why the rules-vendors out there try to model the process using rules. On the flip side, pure BPMS vendors sometimes fall into the trap of feeling they have to claim to have rules engines because the rules folks will try to claim that they have BPM. I think customers who are interested in both BPM and BR functionality could do themselves a favor by telling vendors up front that they are using separate packages for this functionality – they’re likely to get more candid answers from the sales folks from both companies, as it allows the vendors to play to their respective strengths. I’ve deployed several projects that integrated a BPM platform with a rules product, and its just easy to do via webservices or an API call in all but the most extreme cases. Anyway, enough from me, here’s a link to Sandy’s post. Disclaimer: I used to work for a company that did a lot of work in the configuration space, which has a pretty big overlap with rules. We did heuristic search, constraint satisfaction, resource allocation and pooling, spatial constraints, containment, and we even did massive rule systems that were super fast. Intellectually it was a very interesting field because you take really hard problems (in some cases, problems that you could demonstrate were NP Hard problems) and finding “reasonably optimal” solutions in a very finite amount of time. As I said, intellectually very stimulating. In other cases, it was coming up with very creative ways to use simple rule-based systems to compute very user-friendly user-interfaces in millisecond time against very large rule bases. But one thing I learned for sure: thinking about the world as a set of configuration logic or rules is a different way of thinking, and it just isn’t intended for the average Bear. This is why I don’t see representing “everything as rules” as being a terribly useful way of approaching the world when it comes to involving your organization in the process of business process management or improvement. I consider myself a reformed rules guy, and now, tongue-in-cheek, I see everything as a process! Update: On a (somewhat) related note, a somewhat humorous post from Jim Sinur on how rules might have initiated the real-estate meltdown.