A serious problem in the design of business rules of any kind, or the interpretation of existing legislation or jurisdiction is that most computer programs do not allow us to construct rules in a natural way.
Siebel Tools, for example, lets us use syntax like [Field Name] + [&Property Name] as well as a library of functions. This is hard to “sell” to business users when you want to give them confidence in the translation of the “paper” rules into the “system” rules.
Policy Automation increases our ability to respond to these situations by using “natural language”. This does not mean necessarily that you can copy out existing text word for word, but it does get us a lot closer. Let us see a couple of examples that will introduce key elements of the tools and the practical aspects of rule creation.
Open up your Policy Modelling application, create a new Project called “ODE – Natural”. Set the language to “English American” and the locale to “United States – English”.
Examine the text in the below”Source” document. Notice how the document is broken down into sections. This is a common feature in legal documents. Notice how the document speaks about guests, members and so on.
Using the “Design” files provided (see the previous post) let us compare. Please note, these files are just for comparison purposes and are not optimized in any way. Right-click the “Design” folder (inside the Documents folder) and select “Add Existing File”. Add both the Excel file and the Word file.
Some features that are important to highlight.
- The “1” and “2” and (a)…(c) used to mirror the structure of the source
- The color-coded structure using strict Formatting
- The large, clear descriptive headings in the document
- The full text variable names at the top of the document
- The need to still use functions (ExtractTimeOfDay for example)
Using the Build menu, select “Build and Run” and the default “Run with Web Determinations” option.
Observe that when you click on the “Why?” you are told that Section 2 has been satisfied. When correctly formatted using numbers like the example, rules will automatically generate this kind of summary. This is great for reassuring and familiarizing business people with the rules that map to their source documents.
Proceed to the session, answering that you are 18 years old, that you have spent 14 dollars and that you belong to the Paris club, and that your guest has completed the questionnaire. You should see that you are able to invite guests into the club. Click the “Why” link again.
Again, the formatting has reproduced the structure of the source. Now replace the existing Word file (Right Click, “Remove File from Project”) with another version “Design2”. Observe how the structure of the Word document is slightly different (but the content is the same). In Policy Modelling, the format of the text is all important, since it tells the engine several things
- What the conclusions and main goal are
- What the structure of the logic is (Level 1, Level 2 formatting)
- How to parse the content of your Word file (where the “questions” are)
- What text to ignore (Heading, Comments, Blank Lines)
The formatting is achieved by use of the Policy Modelling toolbar. Rerun your “Build and Run” with the same data as before, notice the “Why?” this time matches the original text, because of the changed structure of the file. (Note in the example below, we set the “closing time” of the club to 6pm…)
In Policy Modelling, there are often multiple ways to write something, but we must balance writing fast (less understandable) and writing well (helping the business understand the correlation with the source text), all the time writing “understandable” sentences for Policy Automation using the correct formatting. We can come close to natural language, far closer than ever before.
Finally, change the computer clock to a “closed” time, or carefully edit the Word document to be “closed”. Rerun and observe you are not even able to begin the question and answers, because :
This is because of another jargon item, which we will discuss in the next post.
PS – the “club rules” used were inspired by documents like this one.
PPS [Note : Orginal Attached Files that belonged with this post have been removed. If you want them please contact the author]