• The MicroGuide to Process and Decision Modeling in BPMN/DMN: Building More Effective Processes by Integrating Process Modeling with Decision Modeling
    The MicroGuide to Process and Decision Modeling in BPMN/DMN: Building More Effective Processes by Integrating Process Modeling with Decision Modeling

Entries in Expert Systems (3)


The Past Present and Future of Business Rules

Innovations Software Technology has released my most recent white here.  In this document, I review the early beginning of the Business Rules Approach (BRA), discuss the current practices, and conclude with some predictions.

The BRA has principally evolved from three sources: Artificial Intelligence (Expert Systems and others), Data Modeling, and Business Process Reengineering. Circuitously, expert systems became one of the originating technologies for business rules. In the white paper I explain the differences between the sequential logic approach and the inferencing approach adapted from expert systems.  I have experience with both and clearly my bias is towards sequential, graphical approaches. 

Before I worked for Visual Rules, I led the development of an open source business rules engine, OpenLexicon. OpenLexicon used a sequential approach; however, rules were developed with a language template. My understanding of the sequential approach also includes the lessons learned here.

Certainly, business rules and decisions are critical aspects of enterprise architecture. Yet they are aspect of a larger approach. Business rules have already expanded beyond the outdated paradigm of a process-decider. To remain viable the business rules approach will need to support an expanded vision within the enterprise-one that encompasses and moves beyond supporting a process decision.

Again, the paper is available here.


Diagnostics with Sequential Logic

As a follow up to the expert systems debates, John Deer announced the release of a machine health program based on Visual Rules approach. You can read about it here . Machine health  (preventive maintenance) is a field that has been traditionally dominated by the Expert Systems approach.


The Expert Systems Debate in Business Rules

In a March 12 post, Paul Vincent commented on the ongoing debate about the use of of Expert Systems to implement business rules. I blogged on this topic in a previous posting .Expert Systems (ES) can solve individual problems extremely well. Examples include the diagnostics of conditions with different, overlapping signs and symptoms. The ES is also proficient at finding a solution when uncertainty (salience) is involved.

I think this argument is more beneficial than the tiresome arguments about RETE versus Sequential. This is because the form and content of your business rules is affected by the underlying technology. With ES, a symbolic or 'domain-specific-language' approach is required. Sequential approaches such as Visual Rules only need visual metaphors (Decision Tables or Rule Flows) to solve the problems. Dave McCoy echoed my point here.

My opinion is that, for most business logic problem domains, the aftermath of expert systems based on business rules systems has fostered a extremely complicated implementation methodology.

If you are contemplating a business rules approach to improve your operational performance, then you should consider the tradeoffs involved. Certainly, if you are unfamiliar with these technologies, you should mandate a proof of concept that involves your domain experts.