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The Rule Maturity Model: Five Steps to an Agile Enterprise

Business rules can be used to implement competitive strategy, promote and enforce policy, and ensure compliance, but most organizations aren't even aware of the rules that are buried in code, forgotten in old documents and stuck in people's heads. The Rule Maturity Model offers a step-by-step approach to capturing, managing and mastering rules while investing appropriately for your competitive climate. So, where is your firm on the maturity scale?

"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

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