This category of rules systems in the marketplace is for rules systerms that support rules that are meant to be understood by people, regardless of whether such rules can be automatically enforced or applied by computers. Important business areas include: regulatory compliance; leases; trading terms and conditions; employment contracts; partnership and merger agreements.
An organization requiring technology support for such rules would need:
- A repository in which the rules can be stored in semantic structures that enable analysis and classification, with functionality to support searching, queries, comparison, checking for conflicts and overlaps, etc. It should also support recording of issues and conflicts discovered and decisions on how to resolve them taken by the organization.
- Capability for interchange of the rules with:
- parties to legal agreements (e.g. landlords, customers, suppliers, employee unions)
- interest groups (e.g. trade associations) sharing a common approach and costs
- authoritative sources (e.g. standards bodies, lawyers, professional associations)
- different operating groups within the organization
- Support for creating technology solutions:
- transforming automatable rules to machine-processable form
- mapping non-automatable rules to IS functions that support the people who have to apply the rules
Interchange capability is essential because:
- This area of business is increasingly being standardized and regulated. For example, from June 2006 most new property leases in the UK will have to contain a number of prescribed clauses.
- The volume of such business rules, their complexity and the level of interaction between them means that tools are needed to manage them effectively
- Businesses are increasingly using externally-defined formulations of such rules, from sources such as trade associations and knowledge vendors.