Understanding Business Process Rules
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by Joydip Kanjilal
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Business Process Rules – A paradigm shift

When we model a business process, rules are created and associated with the business process itself. These are commonly known as Business Process Rules. These are statements that govern the overall functioning of the application’s business processes. They are defined by the business people, can change frequently over time and are declarative. They define the policies and procedures that govern how the business process of an application would behave. Business Process Rules enhance productivity and promote business process agility and its adaptability for future changes. According to the Business Rules Group, “a business rule is a statement that defines and constraints some business. It is intended to assert business structure or to control or influence the behavior of the business. The business rules which concern the project are atomic, that is, they cannot be broken down further.” 

The traditional business applications have their business processes and business process rules embedded in the application’s code itself. Hence, any change in the business rule would compel the developer to change the application’s source code to facilitate these changes. If we need to change the application’s business process rules owing to a change in the business process of the application, it would be time consuming, error prone, critical and at the same time tedious to change the application’s code, once again to facilitate these business process changes.

This is where a Business Process Rules based approach comes in. A Business Process Rules based approach is a paradigm shift from the traditional way (embedding the business rules in the application’s code) of dealing with business rules in an application. A Business Process Rules based approach promotes isolation of the business rules of an application from its code and, hence, promotes greater flexibility and adaptability for future changes by reducing the downtime for implementing the changes to its business logic. “It is a development methodology where the business rules are in a form that is used by, but does not have to be embedded in, business process management systems.”

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