3 Reasons Rules Architects Are Adopting Decision Modeling:  #2 Expanded Traceability and Impact Analysis

Traceability and Impact AnalysisLast week I started a series on decision modeling for Rules Architects by describing how a decision model in DecisionsFirst Modeler engages your business partners. This week I am going to explain how decision modeling enables traceability all the way to the knowledge sources that drive rules, and impact analysis all the way to the business objectives.

A modern BRMS provides good tools for rules-level traceability. Seeing which rules use which data fields and tracing rule execution on historical transactions are a key element of the transparency delivered by a BRMS. A modern BRMS also does a great job of showing you the impact of a change to the rules, letting those who change the rules run suites of tests or simulations against historical data. Being able to quickly visualize and assess the business impact of a change to the business rules is a key feature of a BRMS. Rules architects know that BRMS level traceability and impact analysis is necessary for success, but it is not sufficient.

Integrating a decision model with the rules in a modern BRMS using DecisionsFirst Modeler lets you take traceability to the source. Decision models capture the original sources of the rules in your BRMS as Knowledge Sources. Knowledge Sources represent real documents such as policies and regulations, the expertise of subject matter experts or analytic model results.

Knowledge Sources are where change begins. A decision model makes it easy to trace a new policy or a changed regulation to the decisions based on it and then to the decision tables, decision trees or rules that implement that decision. Business entities like Customer, Order, Supplier or Location are captured too. Which decisions use that data can be seen in the diagrams you build and DecisionsFirst Modeler also keeps track of all the Decisions that use a piece of data across all your diagrams. Easy, business-friendly traceability.

And when there are rules changes, a decision model in DecisionsFirst Modeler lets you take impact analysis further. A decision model in DecisionsFirst Modeler linked to a BRMS implementation shows exactly how a change to the rules will impact the business.

A decision model makes it easy for business experts to find all the decisions (automated or manual) that will be impacted, directly or indirectly, when the implementation changes. The SME sees who needs to be informed or give permission, because those decisions are mapped to the organization’s responsibilities. They can see which processes involve any of these decisions. And most importantly they can see which business metrics will be impacted so they can make sure they understand the change in terms of its impact on business performance.

BRMSs like IBM’s ODM and Red Hat’s JBoss BRMS are great at delivering rule-centric traceability and impact analysis. Integrating your BRMS implementation with a decision model in DecisionsFirst Modeler extends that to a business-level, decision-centric traceability and impact analysis too.

Next week I’ll wrap up by describing how decision modeling lets you use an agile not waterfall approach to write the rules.

Want to learn more about decision modeling? Check out our white paper on Decision Modeling with DMN.

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