Rules for Dynamic Customer Focused Applications
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting with many members of the InRule User Community during our annual meeting in Chicago. What impresses me each year is not only the value people get from deploying InRule in their mission critical applications, but also the creativity of our customers, using InRule in ways we never imagined. As you might expect, we have many customers using InRule for “Mission Critical” systems– back-end systems like claims processing, order processing, trading. These are systems in which Business Rule technology has been used successfully for many years.
Unexpected Uses of BRMS
I met with customers who are using InRule in unexpected ways. A heating and air conditioning manufacturer embeds InRule in the laptop application its technicians bring into the field to diagnose problems, suggest solutions, and even order the appropriate parts. An ambulance company uses InRule to help provide consistent care to patients. A life sciences company embeds InRule in medical equipment that’s used to prepare tissue for biopsies. Under the covers, InRule is helping pathologists around the world perform better diagnostics more quickly. These are not solutions we might have imagined, but boy, are they cool!
Redefining what “Mission Critical” Means
Increasingly, we’re seeing organizations in both public and commercial sectors redefine what “Mission Critical” means. Today mission critical systems include not only back-end systems, but also customer-facing systems like retail websites and mobile apps as well as customer-focused systems that help employees work with customers, such as CRM or support systems.
The Age of the Customer
We’re in what Forrester calls “the Age of the Customer.” Customers expect personalized and fun purchasing experiences, instant service, and increasingly self-service. As “big data” provides increasingly granular insights into customers and their purchasing patterns, IT is being asked to update systems rapidly to respond to these granular insights so that they can take action before opportunities passes. The scope of this movement is eclipsed only by the accelerating pace at which these changes need to be implemented.
“The age of the customer will place harsh and unfamiliar demands on institutions, necessitating changes in how they develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services. CIOs and their teams will be called on to support these changes, widening their agendas beyond IT (infrastructure) to include business technology (BT) — technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers.” (Forrester, The Role Of The Business Analyst In The Age Of Agile Development, December 2012.)
BRMS: Staying Ahead, Despite an Accelerating Pace of Change
In other words, if the systems don’t keep pace, customers will leave. And guess what: hard coding doesn’t let you make those changes quickly enough. BRMS does. We’re seeing our customers use BRMS to enable them to better keep pace with market place drivers, including the Age of the Customer. According to our 2013 User Survey, 46% of customers use InRule to change applications more quickly. And Forrester’s John Rymer named BRMS as a Key Technology for Customer Facing Systems because only in using BRMS can organizations keep pace. More and more organizations realize that to keep pace, they need to change how they develop and maintain applications. They need to keep rules, calculations, and decision logic closer to the subject matter experts. They are (re)discovering the power of BRMS.
Yes, I’m a rules geek, I admit it. And I’m excited about the possibility of having a lot more company in the Rule Geek Club as the Age of the Customers shines the light on the power of BRMS for all to see.