Process or Business Rule? This is the question Gartner Analyst Jim Sinur raises in one of his latest blogposts. Although this approach appealed to me from the beginning, I could not get rid of the feeling that this kind of comparison was slightly academic – playing with narrow concepts. Because a process is no more a stupid external routine than a business rule can be extracted out of books. And neither is a “process a bunch of rules strung together in a static or dynamic sequence”, nor “act a business rule as simple constraint/boundary to keep processes on track.”
Following the argumentation for both sides, it seems that the answer will not be found by a diplomatic balancing of these points, as suggested. Because the right answer must reflect the dynamic nature of business operations and process composition, I would rather subscribe to James Taylor’s comment: the crown belongs to “neither rules nor process but decisions … You MUST have the process to fulfill the decision – to take the action you decided on – but it is the decision that rules.”
Mark Norton’s comment is along the same lines: “Decisions are the policy-driven specification of how value is created and recognized by each business. For value to be created, a change of state of “something” must be explicitly acknowledged by the organization, and this acknowledgement is a bespoke, decision-centric activity.”
A change of state is what we call an event. And events drive both businesses and operations. Maybe it is events that fit the crown best. The king is dead. Long live the king.