Business Rules for Bluemix brings business rules to the Bluemix platform by providing services in the cloud that encapsulate the business logic of your systems.

What are business rules? And how can they help me?

Things change. A new regulation comes in, an old one is removed. Pricing models are revised. Fraudsters find new ways to game the system.

And when things change you need to update your systems – new privacy laws require that you can hold the data of unsuccessful applicants for no more than 30 days not 90; changes in the market mean the insurance assessment application has a new set of thresholds and margins; the fraud detection system now needs to include a comparison of the rate of deal closure with how long an account has been open.

Traditionally it takes time and specialists to update these systems. Even the smallest tweak can take months to come on-line. But what if you could update these systems almost as soon as the policy changes?

By expressing your policies as business rules that are managed separately from the system code, you can keep your systems current with a minimum of fuss. You change 90 to 30 in the rules covering data governance; you update the rules for preliminary insurance assessment to use up-to-date thresholds; you augment the fraud detection rules to cover the latest techniques. Then you deploy the updates. From the system’s point of view the decision service (deployed bundles of business rules) it calls is the same, but the answers it gives change.

The Business Rules service

With Business Rules for Bluemix you create a Bluemix service that contains your decision services, which your systems call to get answers to business questions. Are these customer records ready for removal? Is this insurance claim worth processing in detail? Could this transaction be fraudulent?

Authoring and modelling business decisions are important parts of the process. To facilitate this, Business Rules for Bluemix introduced Decision Composer, an easy-to-use cloud-based modelling interface that you can use to define your data and your business rules. Business Rules for Bluemix also has an Eclipse-based environment where you author your business rules and deploy them to your Business Rules service.

See also, this short video, which introduces Business Rules for Bluemix and its value.

Decisions in the Hybrid Cloud

Business Rules for Bluemix is designed for integration. You can simply invoke it from your system, include it in a service-based application on the Bluemix platform, or integrate it into a complete decision management solution.

Simple invocation – You run business rules in Business Rules for Bluemix as decision services, which you can invoke from different kinds of applications with a simple REST call. This is true for on premises applications, cloud applications, Web or mobile apps.

Bluemix application – You can combine the Business Rules service with other Bluemix services to build complex applications. For example, you could process content with a Watson cognitive service and use the results as input for a decision service that helps you respond to the content.

Decision management solution – Business Rules for Bluemix is compatible with IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM). You can deploy directly from ODM to Business Rules for Bluemix, and use ODM’s Decision Center to manage the life cycle of your business rules.

You use the Bluemix DevOps services to manage your decision life cycle from development to production. You can flexibly provision new environments for development, testing, pre-production, production, or redundancy, and you can distribute your services in various data centers around the world, and pay just what you use.

Getting started with Business Rules for Bluemix

Your first steps with Business Rules for Bluemix couldn’t be easier:

  1. Log in to IBM Bluemix.
  2. In the Business Rules page of the Bluemix catalog, name your service.
    The name helps you find your service in the list of running services.
  3. Click Create.
    IBM Bluemix creates the service, and opens the service’s management page.

Screen shot showing the management page for a Business Rules service

Management page for a Business Rules service

And that’s it. You’re up and running with a Business Rules service!

From here you can start using your service following the steps noted in the Getting Started tab: install, author, deploy, and call. The Connection Settings tab gives you the information you need to launch the Rule Execution Server console and deploy decision services to the Business Rules service, and the Decision Services tab shows the available decision services.

Further information

The documentation for Business Rules for Bluemix gives more detail about getting started and using Business Rules for Bluemix, and the video Get started with the Business Rules service for Bluemix, runs through a quick example of how to create a service for checking loan applications. You can also check out the tutorial Think big! Scale your business rules solutions up to the world of big data for an example of integrating the Business Rules service with an Apache Hadoop service on Bluemix.

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