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Understanding Business Rules

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Vizions In Motion Understanding Business RulesCustomers are quick to notice inconsistencies and problems with a company’s performance and delivery of its products and services. But how can a company establish those standards and consistencies?

Are business rules actual rules? Yes, they are.  Can they help organize the business operations, product & service offerings?  Yes, they can.  Will they help the company operate smoother?  Yes, they will.  How can they do that?

Providing Company Structure

Business rules shape the company by providing the necessary guidelines and structure for a company to operate. They help establish standards across the organization so that the entire company is operating with the same set of expectations.

The more rules a company has, the more structure and consistency the company has. Of course, there needs to be a healthy balance on the amount of rules needed to prevent a company from being too rigid and bureaucratic.  They should help company operations but as an easy excuse for responsibility or consideration to the human factor.

What are Business Rules

Business rules come in many shapes and forms. They can be factual statements, formulas, derivations or definitions. They can be constraints, criteria and conditions. They help guide your business decisions. They tell you when, how and if you can or cannot do something.  They are specific to a company’s needs and interactions.

These rules must balance the needs of structure against the needs and expectations of its customers. Employees need to understand how and why to apply those business rules. These rules should not be thrown to customers as an easy response to avoid addressing customer questions or requests.

Internal and External Impacts

Understanding business rules is a key step to creating an effective business model. Managing those business rules enables consistency and structure across the entire company.

Just as your customers are quick to point out issues and hiccups, they are also quick to recognize a company’s consistent approach to its products, services and performance. Customers are also smart enough to know when companies are creating rules to bypass their responsibilities.

Do Business Rules Always Win

Can a company’s business rules supersede laws and regulations? Never! And if a company does not have a business rule, does that mean they are not accountable or responsibile? Definitely not!

Government and regulating agencies exist in part to prevent abuse by a company to bypass or exempt themselves from laws that ensure a safe, legal and fair working environment and consumer interactions. But that does not mean that some companies will still try to bypass or override goverment laws and regulations. And how government agencies and regulators address those companies will depend on the agencies’ own set of business rules.

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About the Author

Vizions In MotionAn advocate for clients operate and deliver to their full potential by incorporating business architecture, solution design, strategic planning and change management.View all posts by Vizions In Motion

  1. Andy Moore
    Andy Moore10-27-2011

    I can really leverage the information of your insightful article. I have heard the term business rules but never really understood what they were and what they were for. It would seem that every company should have a full set of defined business rules to properly guide its business.

    • Vizions In Motion
      Vizions In Motion10-28-2011

      @ Andy Moore

      Thanks! We strive to provide information that can be well-utilized by the business and technology community. There are many who know about the concept but may not know the term. A company that expects to build and grow dynamically should definitely have a full set of business rules that are flexible and manageable and not buried within system code. There is a level of skill required to adequately define, coordinate and continuously manage those rules so a poorly managed business rule system can actually do more harm.

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