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  • The Decision Model Book
  • Enterprise Architecture: John A. Zachman
  • Business Process Model Notation: Bruce Silver
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The Decision Model

The Decision Model is a new way of looking at Business Logic. Often called “business rules” before, business logic is what drives the decisions in our business. Instead of trying to manage the logic one business rule at a time, the Decision Model groups the rules into their natural logical groups to create the structure that make the model so simple to understand, communicate and manage.

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Many companies adopted a natural language approach to business rules, building rule expressions by a rigorous process to ensure the vocabulary of the rules are accurately aligned with the business and its enterprise glossary. Now organizations have the opportunity to reduce their costs and increase the quality of their business rules by adopting a new level of rigor that will:

  • Decompose the business logic into its atomic form (to ensure that one piece of logic can be changed without effecting any other piece of logic)
  • Normalize the business logic (to ensure that each piece of logic is used in one place, and the correct place in the enterprise so that it can be more easily maintained)
  • Analyze the business logic to ensure that it has inferential and business integrity
  • Group the business logic in a manner that ensures its re-usability across the enterprise, so that
    • The grouping supports the normalized logic
    • The logic may be easily located and understood
    • The business is maintaining more understandable groups of logic rather than many individual business rules,
    • The grouping supports decision services, a services oriented architectural (SOA) approach
  • Connect the business rules groups to their natural anchor points in the processes, and support a Business Process Management (BPM) approach, significantly simplifying  business processes by removing declarative business logic from the sequential processes.

To accomplish this the Decision Model, builds business logic structures within the scope of a single business decision. Each decision consists of families of business rules, and can be represented graphically. The graphical representation abstracts the detail of the logic (business rules), but can be drilled into to view the Rule Families, which are decision tables (with rigorous principles) of the atomic business rules. The Rule Families are structures that allow for the analysis of the logic of the business rules to ensure their integrity. The Decision Model gives us a graphical way to view the rules at several levels of detail, and each decision is a connection point to our processes, ‘process enabling’ business rules, and simplifying processes. The Decision Model creates business logic compatible with BRMS technology and decision services compatible with BPMS technology.

Experience with the Decision Model has indicated that business rule harvesting, maintenance and management has a significantly lower cost than traditional means. At the same time it promotes a higher level of business understanding of the rules, and simplifies business processes.