October 05, 2010

The Knowledge Supply Chain

It was quite an honor giving a joint presentation yesterday with John Zachman & Leon Kappelman at SIMposium 2010 in Atlanta, GA.

I presented a case study on "Building Mobil's Knowledge Base and Knowledge Supply Chain." We talked about how Enterprise Architecture and Knowledge Engineering helped preserve, share, and automate The Knowledge of the corporation.

This was the right time to introduce new ideas we've been working on with customers for a while.

  • The Knowledge Wars™
  • The Knowledge Supply Chain™
  • BIZRULES® RuleMart™
  • BIZRULES® RuleMall™
  • Ruling The Cloud (sm)

You'll hear more about this at RulesFest next week

You can hear more about these ideas, plus get the technical version of this case study, next week at RulesFest 2010 in San Jose, CA. 

TWITTER:  @BizRulesInc  #BIZRULES | #simposium2010 | #rulesfest

December 12, 2008

Agility Alliance - New open social network connects technology gurus and business masterminds

Agility Alliance - New open social network connects technology gurus and business masterminds

I’d like to reach out and invite all my IT/business friends to join the Agility Alliance, a free online network that helps bring together technology experts and business leaders:     

The Agility Alliance network is an open social network, for experts, by experts. We’d like to keep it technical, friendly, open, fun, and non-commercial (i.e. no marketeering).

If you are into BRM, BRMS, BPM, BPMS, CRM, SCM, EDM, CEP, etc. there is a group for you. If not, create a group! It's flexbile so you can create your own group, blog, or forum to share with all of us.

If you're a programmer, analyst, designer, architect, engineer, business executive, VP, CTO, or CIO, and you are a leader in your field, or you want to hear what the leading minds in these fields have to say, join the network and become a member of your favorite group.

I hope this network becomes a place to share great ideas, learn from the best, and find "the best of" links to blogs, presentations, videos, and discussions in your favorite topics. Mine, as many of you know, are managing rules and knowledge.

What do you know? Share... Show and tell. This is not the place to sell.

It’s pretty open and flexible, so you can add groups, blogs, photos, slides, videos, chat, links, forums, tutorials, articles, etc. There are individual pages each member can customize, and each member gets his/her own blog (if you want it). You can post articles, templates, links, and add discussions to the forum. Invite your friends and colleagues to join. If you can’t figure out how it works, ask your kids!

Two months ago the idea of building a professional network for rulebase experts and knowledgebase exeprts was first proposed at ORF2008. I loved the idea. I started creating it, but it didn't feel right. Something was missing.

A big problem in our field is that business people talk dollars and IT people talk data. Alignment, or lack thereof is the biggest complaint CIO's have had for years.

Creating a closed network for just the top rule experts in the world was an awesome challenge, but I also wanted CIOs to have access and see what these genuises have to say. Business people need to hear what geeks have to say.

Geeks landed us on the moon; But business people paved the path and led the way.

We all need to bridge the gap between business and technology. I am extremely confident that the Agility Alliance network will help connect business and IT experts.

The time is right to create a network of IT experts and business leaders. The network is just a few days old, so this is just a start.

The rest is up to you.


September 12, 2008

Bosch drives into the rule engine market

Bosch has joined the club. On September 8, 2008 The Bosch Group acquired Innovations Software Technology. Both companies are based in Germany. This move heats up the BRE/BRMS market consolidation that was already sizzling:

Sep. 2008 –The Bosch Group acquired Innovations Software Technology
Jul. 2008 - IBM announced their intent to buy ILOG
Nov. 2007 – RuleBurst acquired Haley Rules
Oct. 2007 – SAP acquired Yasu
Aug. 2007 – Trilogy acquired Gensym
Oct. 2006 – Planet Group acquired ACI Worldwide
Jan. 2006 – Trilogy acquired Versata
Jan. 2006 – MDA acquired Mindbox
Sep. 2005 – Fair Isaac acquired RulesPower

(click to see the new BRE Family Tree

Oracle and Microsoft entered the business rule engine (BRE) market by building their own rule engine technology. Competitors, however, took a different approach. Global technology leaders IBM and SAP acquired BRE vendors ILOG and Yasu. Insurance software vendor MDA acquired BRE vendor Mindbox. And rule engine vendors Fair Isaac and Trilogy acquired smaller BRE vendors RulesPower, Versata, and Gensym.

I asked David S. Kim, Managing Director and CEO of Innovations Software Technology, to share his thoughts and tell us what this means to customers, end-users, and to the rules market. Here’s what he had to say in our email discussion.

How does the Bosch acquisition of Innovations compare to the other acquisitions and consolidation in the rules industry?

“The big difference is that we were not acquired to have our product line integrated into a stack of other software. We were acquired to be the core of a new software and systems company within The Bosch Group. We will be creating new technologies and value chains within Bosch and open the door to new lines of business,” Kim said.

Continue reading "Bosch drives into the rule engine market" »

September 03, 2008

October Rules Fest (Oct. 22-24) is moving to a larger hotel in Dallas

October Rules Fest, the conference on rulebased and knowledgebased systems, is moving to a larger hotel, the Sheraton Dallas Hotel on October 22-24.

ORF is a three day gathering of the best and brightest speakers in the rules engine and knowledge base industry.  This conference on business rules technology features the inventors and scientists behind rules and knowledge management technologies, systems, and methodologies.

See the conference flyer for more information about the agenda, sessions, sponsors, and speakers. Cost is $150 and you can register here. So far people have signed up from Germany, Australia, UK, Singapore, Canada and the US.

Speakers include:

Dr. Charles Forgy, Inventor of the Rete algorithm
David Butler, Countrywide
Chris Collard, Dell
Dr. Jacob Feldman, Open Rules
Dr. Gopal Gupta, University of Texas at Dallas
Rolando Hernandez, BIZRULES
Dr. Richard Hicks, EZ-Xpert
Dr. Leon A. Kappelman, University of North Texas
Dr. Dan Levine, University of Texas at Arlington
Carole-Ann Matignon, Fair Isaac
John McQuary, Fluor Corporation
Jason Morris, Morris Technical Solutions
Michael Neale, Drools / Red Hat
James Owen, Knowledge-Based Systems Corporation
Mark Proctor, Co-author of Drools, Drools / Red Hat
Gary Riley, creator of CLIPS
Daniel Selman, ILOG JRules Rule Studio Team Lead
Carlos Seranno-Morales, Fair Isaac
Lawrence Terrill,
Edson Tirelli, Drools / Red Hat
Art Tortolero, Enterprise Rules Architect

What others are saying about ORF:


May 22, 2008

2008 October Rules Fest in Dallas, TX

October Rules Fest, the conference on rulebased and and knowledgebased systems, will be held in Dallas, TX on October 22-24, 2008. ORF is bringing together for the first time in one place the inventors and originators of key rules technologies and methodologies such as:

  • Dr. Charles Forgy, inventor of the Rete algorithm that drives many of today's leading Business Rule Engines such as ILOG, Fair Isaac, and Haley
  • Dr. Dan Levine, noted AI/Neural Net scientist
  • Daniel Selman, software architect and ILOG JRules Rule Studio team lead
  • Edson Tirelli, Drools/Red Hat
  • Gary Riley, co-author of CLIPS (where Inference/MindBox and Haley Rules originated)
  • Greg Barton, Infinimeme
  • James Owen, KBSC, rules consultant, noted author, and visionary
  • Larry Terrill,
  • Mark Proctor, co-author of Drools
  • Michael Neale, Drools/Red Hat
  • Dr. Richard Hicks, noted Validaton and Verification sicentist, creator of EZ Xpert, Texas A&M Univesity
  • Rolando Hernandez, Chief Rules Architect, BIZRULES and creator of the VISION business rules methodology 

The seminars and presentations will be ideal for both CTOs, technical architects with rules experience, and developers new to business rules development. There will also be tutorials and introductions to business rules architecture, technologies, and methodologies for CIOs, managers, and analysts who want to learn why knowledge and rules matter.

Dallas Rules Group is a new business rules user group formed in January 2008 by folks interested in business rules architecture and development, knowledge acquisition, knowledge representation, knowledge engineering, AI (artifiical intelligence), expert systems, and enterprise rules integration.

This will be a technical seminar for technical people.  For those interested in the business side of rules, join some of our distinguished speakers the following week in Orlando, FL at the 11th International Business Rules Forum.


October 26, 2007

Leaves are falling off the BRE Family Tree

Just got back from the Business Rules Forum in Orlando. There are lots of interesting changes going on in the market. Below is a quick summary (More to come later). I finally had a chance to meet some of the other bloggers in the BRMS BPMS BI space, like Sandy Kemsley from column 2 and Scott Sehlhorst from Tyner Blain.  James Taylor has left Fair Isaac and is now blogging about Enterprise Decision Management at the Smart Enough Systems blog. Check out those blogs for their take on many of the presentations.

This year BIZRULES was at the Agility Alliance booth.  The alliance has grown since last year when we focused on the business rules experts group. Now our scope includes rules, process, and knowledge management.  Agility Alliance members will start blogging soon over at

Every year at the Forum I like to hand out what I call the BRE Family Tree. This year I didn't update it and, of course, many attendees stopped by to get the latest one. It's a good thing I did't update and print it yet, however, because it would have been obsolete by the end of the conference!

What's happened is that in the last few months, key mergers and acquisitions have taken place.  And vendors with new solid product offerings like Visual Rules are making waves and getting traction in the BRE market.  

BRE Family Tree 2007 October

And the pace seems to be quickening:

  • In August, Trilogy announced their intent to acquire Gensym. As many of you know, Trilogy bought Versata last year. Trilogy's investment and committment to the BR market is impressive. The fact that Val Huber, one of the architects and founders of Versata/Vision Software is onboard and actively involved with their new direction tells me they are very committed to the BRE market.
  • Just a few days ago, SAP announced plans to buy Yasu. That brings SAP into the BRE market.
  • Recently, IBM acquired System Architect from Telelogic. Although not a business rule engine (BRE), SA is used on very large business rule enterprise projects as a rule/process modeling tool. How IBM plans to meld SA with their Rational sw modeling tools is still unclear, but something to keep an eye on.
  • Haley Systems is undergoing a transformation. They were not at the conference this year, and the speculation was that they were or are about to be acquired. Nobody knows. I certainly don't, despite being a Haley services partner. Other Haley partners and customers I spoke with didn't know what was going on with Haley Systems either.

So, who would be interested in Haley? Here's what I think...

Continue reading "Leaves are falling off the BRE Family Tree" »

November 09, 2006

What's new at the Business Rules Forum in D.C.?

I was hoping to blog during the BRF but I just haven't had the time.

Lots of exciting things going on this week at the BRF in D.C. I'll write up some of my mtng notes soon. Here's a preview of some of the things that stand out so far:
  1. Heard from General Electric how they're applying Six Sigma tools and rigor to improve the rule harvesting and rule management process. Pivot tables rule!
  2. Alan Trefler, CEO of Pegasystems (a BIZRULES partner) told me that Excel was a declarative language, then he summarized the last 40 years of computer languages in a very interesting and memorable way
  3. The next day, coincidentally, I demonstrated a declarative rule validaton / rule simulation tool that runs in Excel.
  4. At the panel discussion, someone asked why there are so few government attendees, given that the show is in D.C. One answer was that governmentS like ambiguity, not black and white rules.
  5. Heard some pretty interesting stories in every session I attended.
  6. The IDC keynote slides were really good - one slide in particular caught my attention: it had to do with the relation between business rules in different metaphors.

August 21, 2006

Sarbanes-Oxley panel discussion at the iCoast Tech Show 2006

Below is an excerpt of my opening remarks during the panel discussion on Sarbanes-Oxley Regulation at the iCoast Technology Show in Ft. Lauderdale on August 17th.

Success in the world of business depends on understanding the rules.
You need to know the internal rules and policies of your business. You have to comply with the external rules and regulations that govern your business, industry, and function. Your company must ensure that rules are followed. Your company must enforce the rules. Your company must give staff tools to help them follow the rules, make legal decisions, and prevent them from making illegal decisions.

Business rule management systems (BRMS) and business rule engines (BRE) help companies comply with rules and regulations like SOX.

How many of your companies have implemented a business rules management system or business rules engine?

Well, it’s very difficult to comply with SOX, especially 404, without rules technology.

Somebody somewhere is always changing a rule and redefining what it means to comply, and your business must continually adjust.

There is nothing usual about business as usual… because rules are always changing. SOX rules will keep changing. Companies are going from regulated to heavily regulated. The change is constant. And the rate of change is increasing faster and faster. The problem is that software code is very difficult and time-consuming to change. If SOX business rules are hard-wired in code, it takes IT programmers weeks and months to change rules in code.

If business rules are stored in a rulebase, however, instead of hard-wired in code, it takes business people minutes and hours to change the rules in the rulebase, with minimal or no IT involvement

So what? What does that mean to you?

Well, here's your take-away - Here's what your CEO needs to know about rules and SOX compliance:

If your competitor uses rule engines, that means they can change their business rules on-the-fly without having to recode and recompile. They can change their rules instantly, with zero time-to-market, as the business changes, as the world changes, as customers change, as regulations change.

If they can keep up with change, they can stay in the game.

If your company doesn't use rule engines that means you have to go through IT to change your business rules. You have to get a programmer to change the code, test it, debug it, recompile it, test it, debug it, recompile it, etc. It's going to take you a while to change the rules. It might take a few weeks or more likely a few months to change the business rules in the systems, as the business changes, as the market changes, as customers change, as regulations change.

If you can't keep up with change, you're out of the game.

You lose - - They win.

If you don’t have a rule engine that automatically prevents employees from breaking the rules, SOX rules, and instantly detects and prevents fraud, you’re out of the game. You’ll end up watching your stock go from $30 to $3 during lunch. You lose. You’re out of business.

The solution is business rules management.

Smart companies all around the world are using business rules to ensure compliance with the rules, and to enforce the rules, to increase agility so they can change faster, to prevent business mistakes, and to reduce IT system development costs by changing rules in days not months.

One of our clients, a fortune 10 company, is implementing business rule management systems and business rule engines for global statutory compliance, including Sarbanes-Oxley. A $3 million investment in business rule engines, rules harvesting, and knowledge engineering has helped this company greatly increase its chances of across-the-board compliance. This change done via the traditional hard-coding programming approach would have cost $30 million.

So… business rules technology helps business comply with rules and regulations like SOX, helps employees follow the rules, prevents employees from breaking the rules (either accidentally or on purpose), helps government educate people and business about what rules are, and helps government enforce the rules.

If government is using rule engines to catch honest mistakes and detect outright fraud, then the smart business will use rule engines to prevent mistakes and prevent fraud in the first place.

Rolando Hernandez

November 15, 2005

Rules are a Paradigm Shift and the ROI is 10 to 1, according to many Business Rules Forum 2005 attendees in Orlando

(See photos)

I just got back from the 8th International Business Rules Forum, which was held in Orlando last week. I ran into many old friends and met a lot of people who were there for the first time. Also had a chance to hear John Zachman and meet him in person, thanks to my friend Ronald G. Ross (Conference Co-Chair) who introduced us after John's classic presentation.

There were a number of Fortune 500 firms there for the first time, and, as usual, insurance/financial services companies represented the biggest group of attendees.

You could feel the excitement in the air as people shared their success stories about getting buy-in from the business, and war stories about getting IT on-board. Most if not all of the presenters shared lessons learned and best practices to help others avoid similar mistakes.

In the first BRF conference that I attended, Atlanta 2000, I remember many people asking "What are business rules and business rule engines?"

By BRF 2003 in Nashville, people were asking "What do I do with business rules and business rule engines?"

This year at BRF 2005 Orlando, people were asking "How can I leverage the power of rules and rule engines throughout the rest of my organization?"

That says it all. We have finally reached the point where rules have proven themselves beyond a doubt to add tremendous value to the business and to IT. This year many clients stepped forward and presented their own case studies.

There are still a few organizations that don't get rules. Yet even people in those companies get rules.

I met a programmer/analyst who told me he was "on vacation" at the conference. What he meant was that his employer refused to send him to the conference because they don't believe in rules. He is in IT, and he doesn't want to miss the boat when it comes to business rules. He sees rules as the next leap in technology, and he doesn't want to get left behind. So he took vacation days and paid the $1,500 admission plus travel/lodging to get up to speed. He is very smart and visionary - hopefully his employer will listen to him when he returns and talks about the power of rules. When someone goes to that length to attend a conference, something good is happening there.

Most of the people I met had experienced very positive results implementing business rules into their organization. Everybody I talked to seemed to agree that the ROI is much better than two to one, that it's more like ten times better. My presentation The Knowledge-Based 21st Century Enterprise included case studies on Sun Microsystems and a Fortune 10 company, and they reported 10 to 1 ROI.

Other case studies in my presentation included CitiStreet, AMEX, DuPont, Mobil Oil, the Canada Social Security System, and the US IRS. I also discussed my ideas on how expert systems and business rule are related (especially in the rule harvesting/knowledge acquisition stage), how they can be integrated, and how the BIZRULES VISION Knowledge Engineering methodology can be used to design/build both knowledge-based expert systems and rule-based business rule management systems.

In most cases, the business side was driving the change to business rules and pulling in IT. In other cases, IT was the visionary group leading the way and pushing the business to manage and automate the rules.

Not surprisingly, there were a few customers who already bought a rule engine but were just beginning to explore how to use it.

The IRS presented their latest success stories about a few projects, including the End to End project, that I'd like to write more about later. My friends Terry Moriarty (Conference Co-Chair) and Marty Saulenas have been working on some of the IRS projects recently so I know they are in good hands up there. The IRS still doesn't have a rule engine for CADE, but they are methodically moving in the right direction. When that project "goes", I think it will become a classic case study that helps move business rules to the next level.

Decision trees have clearly become one of the standard ways to document business rules. Many of the BRE rule authoring tools now support decision trees. I remember way back in BRF2000... when I said in my presentation that decision trees, decision tables, and textual are the three ways to write rules, a few people laughed and were skeptical that decision trees were that useful for rules. In my experience working closely with SMEs from all over the world, I have observed that most SMEs "visualize" rules as either decision trees or decision tables. Now that the BRE software vendors promote their decision tree rule editors, the argument of whether decision trees make sense for business rules has been put to rest.

If there is still any doubt, there was even a presentation by Jan Vanthienen, Professor in Business Information Systems, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium titled "Decision Table Experiences in Business Rules and Business Processes: Building Agility"

There was also a lot of talk about SOA and using that as a means to deploy rules-based applications.

The other big topic was about the Semantic Web and how it helps organize the ontology for business rules applications.

And now As I'm going through the mail, I just noticed the Nov. 1, 2005 issue of Intelligent Enterprise on my desk and a business rules article right there on the cover page: "IT Takes a Back Seat: When Business Users Should Drive Rules-Based Apps".

The article is actually called "Business Makes the Rules: Vendors promise to put business staff in charge of rules, but do you really want users messing with mission-critical apps? Here's how four firms are balancing responsibilities for rules," by Michael P. Voelker.

What great timing. This issue of whether business people should actually change the rules was another frequently asked question last week.

I think the mainstream IT media did a pretty good job in 2005 as they began to cover the business rules story. Now that customers seem more willing to talk about their success stories and case studies, I suspect we're going to be reading a lot more about business rules next year.

October 27, 2005

Business Rules Forum presentation on Nov. 10, 2005

Rolando Hernandez, BIZRULES CEO & Chief Rules Architect, will be speaking at the 8th International Business Rules Forum in Orlando, FL. on Thursday Nov. 10, 2005 from 10:15 a.m to 11:15 a.m.

The Knowledge-Based 21st Century Enterprise

Learn how five forward-thinking innovative companies leveraged rules-based and knowledge-based technologies to maintain their competitive edge. Five case studies will explore the strategy, vision, methodology, and actual results / return on investment using BRE/ES tools. Hear, for the first time, how a Fortune 10 company is using rules/process management for digitization and compliance. Take away lessons learned, best practices, and design principles you can apply in your business.
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