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Differences between process (BPMS) and rules (BRMS)

Interesting post by James Taylor (Fair Isaac / Enterprise Decision Management - a Weblog) about BPMS and BRMS...

"Well at a pretty basic level I think BPMS and BRMS are fundamentally different:

BPMS is about "How should it be carried out?"

  • Standardize processes
  • Facilitate collaboration and compliance
  • Workflow Definition and Management
  • Process Automation
  • Activity Monitoring and Exception Alerts
  • Process Reports
  • Integration Broker

BRMS is about "What should be done?"

  • Standardize operational decisions
  • Facilitate decision automation and maintenance
  • Centralized Business Rules Repository
  • Straight Through Processing
  • Decision Broker "
Good stuff.

My thoughts on BPMS (process) and BRMS (rules) are that you need both. You need a process management tool to manage manual processes and execute automated processes that know HOW to "do the work". You need a rule management tool to manage and execute business rules and make decisions that "decide WHAT work to do".

So in general the rules engine (BRMS) fires rules that decide what processes to run and in what order. Some processes do have simplistic rules for branching form one process to the next. That's OK, because those rules are probably system rules as opposed to business rules anyway. More complex deep rules, of course, belong in the rule engine instead of the process engine.


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