Automation of business processes is typically a major element of the digital transformation plans of companies. In order to achieve this companies should make use of the business rule-modeling capabilities and avoid directly hardcoding business rules in their designs for implementation.
Business rules are applicable to various aspects of an organization , and can be described in various ways. The most common is that the rules of business provide specific guidelines or restrictions regarding how certain daily tasks are to be carried out.
For instance, business rules could be:
- A decision-making structure to approve invoice processing in which only certain managers are authorized to accept invoices with the specified amount
- Formulas that could be utilized to calculate expenses or revenue
- Policies that require its employees to cooperate with an approved list of vendors
When business rules are developed independently of process implementations They provide a robust and flexible method to enable organizations to move faster towards achieving their goals and be more responsive to the changing needs of business .
How do Business Rules Aid Process Automation?
In the real world the business rules may not always be formalized However, as more and more companies go through the digital transformation in the coming years, creating and automating business rules could assist organizations to more efficiently reach their objectives.
Traditional automation techniques typically require hard-coding business rules in process workflows. But, these rigid process design can hinder the ability of an organization to swiftly implement updates. Because the business logic will alter in time, it could be challenging to identify all affected processes and to make time-sensitive changes to custom-made code or processes, particularly when multiple processes rely on the same set of rules. Additionally, there is the chance having the rule applied slightly differently, resulting in different results. Additionally, the speed at which changes to design are implemented is often dependent in the capacity of the tech personnel as well as the department responsible for IT.
To ensure that organizations are flexible and adaptable, certain software for process automation can create business rules independent of automated processes. This allows companies to isolate their businessess rules from the processes processes’ logic. In other words staff don’t have to go through each procedure and alter each application for the policy manually.
Additionally, business rules are available in a format that is easy to read for the experts in domain who are responsible for the business policies of the company and are likely to not have the programming expertise. This permits them to make modifications to their processes without the involvement of developers or affecting the basic infrastructure. By using this method, organizations are able to keep flexibility, while reducing the time in updating policies of the organization.
Common Types of Business Rules
To accommodate different types of policies and decision-making business rules can be described in various ways. Two popular kinds of business rules are the formula rule and the decision table.
Formula rules allows employees to manage calculations in a non-code format like formulas that can be created using Microsoft Excel. Once a formula is established it is able to be reused when needed in different processes. If the formula has to be changed, it is only the formula must be modified without the need for an end-user to modify code or alter each of the processes. A lot of standard formulas are integrated into the software like formulating an average or sum, date, and maximum, among others.
The decision table is an extremely useful feature that allows non-developers to express congruous conditional choices and “if-then” algorithm in a simple manner, such as spreadsheet-style tables. Decision tables employ columns to define the criteria, and rows define the outcomes that are appropriate. Approvals, acceptance criteria for applications and checks on loan eligibility are all examples of general scenarios where decision tables are used and maintained by specialists in the field themselves.
In conventional approaches they can be encoded in the form of process designs, which leads to complicated implementations that require developers to implement manual adjustments as new requirements arise. If complex logic is modelled in a table this creates a more visual and readable layout that is simpler to maintain for both the business and IT.
How Does Business Rules simplify Automation Design
Think of a general invoice approval process as an example of a business procedure that an organization could automate. These kinds of processes could include complex approval systems that cover several cost centers and decision-makers which differ based on the kind of invoice as well as the invoice amount.
If modifications must be implemented, it may take a long time to make changes when you are using business rules built directly in the processes. The below diagram shows an outline of the way in which an invoice approval process could be carried out.
In the real world the conditional decision algorithm that decides which level of management should accept an invoice with an amount of a specific amount could be embedded within the overall process structure. If a manager is able to change roles, or the threshold for an invoice has to be altered it will necessitate a technical worker to make the adjustments directly within the process design. This isn’t an easy task especially in complex systems in which skilled technical personnel could be better utilized in higher-value projects.
Instead of constructing the approval logic directly in the automated process the logic of the decision could be designed independently as a rule of business making it easier to design and allowing for greater the flexibility. In this case the logic of the decision is best represented by a decision table, as illustrated below.
In the event of an invoice in the input The decision table will automatically identify the most appropriate approval entity to produce the output. The output is accessible to the workflow design to work using.
This table of decision-making provides an easy format for experts in the domain to upgrade, test and then deploy the changes as needed without disrupting the core implementation or relying on IT to make updates. After the implementation of the decision table, previous process can now be simplified down to the below.
Because many business processes involve complicated conditional logic the use of decision tables can significantly simplify the design of processes. Furthermore, the administration of the decision tables could be shared with the business, while IT and administrators of systems are more likely to be involved in the more advanced aspects of design of the solution.
Advantages of Business Rules
The use of business rules as a part of process automation software platform offers a variety of benefits. This includes:
Domain experts can centrally decide and make modifications to the policy logic themselves. Updates can be applied immediately to the relevant processes, without having to wait to wait for an appropriate technical resource be available.
- Greater efficiency
With employees spending less time doing tedious updates, they can concentrate more on activities that add value.
If the business rules are changed, all processes which reference the rule will be altered in line with the updated rule.
- Increased security
Organizations can effectively show the way certain outcomes were achieved when the business rules are clearly identified and recorded.
- reduced complexity
Business guidelines are displayed in simple formats that do not require any programming skills, like diagrams and tables, and are re-usable in the right processes.
With the numerous benefits business rules bring and many benefits, they should form an integral part of business’ automated business processes. By putting business rules at the top of the list in a way that is easy to understand IT and business will be able to better collaborate to move the business forward.
Business rules allow for improvements in efficiency, efficiency and flexibility. They are part of a solid process automation system and help companies improve their future-proofing. For over three decades Laserfiche’s automation of processes and the capabilities of content services have helped facilitate digital transformation for companies across the globe. Business rules are another part of Laserfiche’s feature set where domain experts are empowered to implement policies and rule changes independently, while uniformity and compliance remain in place throughout business operations.
To find out more about the ways that business process automation tools will increase productivity and efficiency for your company, check out our Buyer’s Guide to Process Automation.