IDS Scheer OEMs Rules from Corticon

One of the biggest changes to the BPM equation in the past year has been the intertwining of process and business rules. For a long time BPM and business rule management (BRM) did just fine as separate technologies blissfully ignorant of each other, but today users are finding it harder and harder to define the boundary between process and rules. While many BPM suites now integrate business rules in their IT-oriented design and runtime environments, the same cannot be said for the modeling and simulation tools they offer to process analysts.

Now that's about to change. IDS Scheer, maker of ARIS, a leading high-end process modeling tool, has OEMed Corticon Studio and is integrating rule definition into the ARIS tool and repository. Unlike better-known BRM vendors like ILOG and FairIsaac, Corticon's rules do not start from a techical rule language but from a graphical model-driven approach more in keeping with ARIS's target audience. From within the ARIS environment, a business analyst will be able to model both process and business rules, and reuse rulesets saved in the ARIS repository.

For now the integration is a simple rebranding of Corticon Studio as ARIS Business Rules Designer. A new release early next year will rework the user interface to be consistent with other parts of ARIS. Sometime after that the rule specifications will be integrated into ARIS's simulation and performance analysis capability. (The rule engine built into Corticon Studio for rule testing is sufficient to perform the simulation.) All of this is a good thing. It will simplify process models, and will help educate the market on the relationship between process and rules.

I think it could have a beneficial effect on the BPMS landscape as well. The recent history of BPMS has shown that innovative features of standalone analytical modeling tools are quickly copied in simplified form and incorporated in the BPMS's native modeling tool. Adding rules to process simulation models will be harder because they are driven by data, not just by simple activity parameters like task duration and resource cost. But I wouldn't be surprised to see it happen, maybe even before ARIS gets there!