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Taming of the Rules

When I recently took a look at BPM Suites I noted a lack of seperated BREs (Business Rules Engines) in most products.
One of the players in that review, Ultimus, recently shipped its Ultimus Director, a new module for its BPM suite that solves not only the problem of a tightly coupled BRE, but assists in dealing with so-called 'unruly processes' within your processes.
The BRE itself is built upon Ultimus' event based engine and allows you to build rules active at the process or step level. All reusable, of course. Taking a peek at the new product I found the logic-gate based icon set to be easily understood.

Unruly processes occur when the BRE cannot determine how to route a process. This could be because of a misconfigured rule, bad input data, or some other problem occuring with the process. You just don't know, and that's why Ultimus has added the ability to tame these unruly events in its Ultimus Director. The steps taken by the unruly process can be clearly seen in a visual manner, with all associated data. This makes it easy for the rules administrator to determine what went wrong and where, and to make changes dynamically if necessary.

Because the BRE is now loosely coupled with the BPM engine, rules can be changed independently of the process, something that could not be done previously with Ultimus' product. Rules can be imported from other Ultimus servers, supporting a staged environment, as well as rolled back in the event that a rule modification goes awry.

Ultimus' Director is a step in the right direction. By de-coupling the BRE from the BPM engine it is able to gain much more agility in terms of adapating to changing business conditions as well as moving closer to allowing the process experts to make modifications to rules without mucking around with the actual process implementation.