"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." — Charles Darwin
No one doubts that business agility is important. It's a competency that enables organizations to be fast and first — first to introduce new products, first to embrace new business models and first to pioneer new markets. Business rules are a crucial enabler of agility because they offer levers by which business managers can implement competitive strategy, promote and enforce policy, and ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Unfortunately, most organizations have little awareness of business rules because they're buried in code within legacy systems, poorly detailed in long-forgotten documents or, worse, stuck in people's heads (and we can only hope they haven't retired). For these organizations, the cost of change is high, the speed of change low and the impact of change unpredictable.
At the opposite extreme are the few organizations that have defined business rules in a separate repository so they can be changed at will and applied enterprisewide at the speed of business change. For these firms, the impact of change is predictable and governance policies and procedures are in place to foster agility while ensuring business continuity.
So where does your organization fall in this broad spectrum? This article presents a Rule Maturity Model (RMM) that offers a simple, practical roadmap by which organizations can align business objectives with business rule management practices for achieving those objectives.
Rule Maturity Model Basics
The RMM has six levels from 0 to 5. As described above, a Level 0 organization is scarcely aware of the value of rules while a Level 5 organization uses business rules as proactive levers for change and compliance, seeing into the future and gaining momentum over the competition.
Each level of the RMM represents a major business objective with respect to business rule management:
Level 1 = Knowledge of Rules
Level 2 = Agility of Rules
Level 3 = Consistency and Alignment of Rules
Level 4 = Prediction of Rules for Short-term Futures
Level 5 = Stewardship of Rules for Long-term Future