Tag: Rule Design

Intelligent Advisor Rule Design – Word, Excel or Something Else?

The Intellgent Advisor practitioner has had a very long time to get used to working with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel as the means to construct their policy rules. Rule design has never been easier with the wonderful Word and Excel toolbars, and now in version 12 we have the integration with the Intelligent Advisor Hub Collaboration module,

Let’s look at some of those features and remind ourselves of just how good it is:

Rule Design

The ability to know where an attribute has been used in any and all documents. Select an attribute, right-click and select Where Used. Pin the window and use it to review and correct anything in those documents. Validate the changes in the document and watch the Where Used windows update themselves.

Rule Design - Toolbar

Be instantly aware of conflicts from other users thanks to the Word toolbar and version tracking tools. Avoid costly conflicts by checking before Uploading, Downloading after abscences and use Inclusions to ensure a common approach to Rule Design. Use six levels of formatting to nest your rules and make Reference Tags to ensure that cross-referencing with source documentation is easy.

So where will the future take us. We cannot know of course, although there were some early concepts that crept into a previous release by design or accident. We should never base purchasing or other strategic decisions on this sort of thing, but in a Cloud-centric world it is reasonable to assume that some discussion will be going on as to how to provide a Web-based rule design interface. If you attended any Focus Group events I’m sure it is something you discussed. So here is my question – what is your opinion in respect of Web Authoring? Rather than ask for comments, I’ve put together a 2 minute survey which is below. If you enter the survey I’ll put you in the prize draw to win a basket of goodies from the OPA Hub Website Shop as well.

Rule Design will evolve but where do you want it to go?

Create your own user feedback survey

Rule Design – How Far Do You Go?

Rule Design – How Far Do You Go?

The topic of genericization in rule design came up the other day. I should explain first what was meant, and the easiest way to do that is with an example.

Suppose an OPA Customer conceives a rule that looks a little bit like this

Rule Design OPA 12Some time later, the same customer finds that there are several similar rules, such as the next one below.

An attempt is made to streamline the rules into a more appropriate structure first of all. So a rule might be rewritten to take into account not just a boolean conclusion but something more interesting, such as return codes.

Rule Design OPA 12Shortly after that, as the realization dawns that there are thousands of rules like this, a further effort occurs to streamline the concept even further as shown in the example below.

Rule Design OPA 12Here we can see the rules are broken down in the manner of with input arguments that may be numbers, Booleans and so on. The exact components of each validation are detailed. This is further extended and generalized, broken across Excel and Word (to cope with grouping operators like either) and what have you.

And so the usage of the validations becomes something a little like this (I am exaggerating for effect). Further tables are created to schematize which rules are used in which business context. We shorten the attribute names, create legends, standardize the text used.

Rule Design OPA 12

We are so far away from anything resembling natural language that we might as well be using the Microsoft Win32 API. We have delivered our Rule Design but have we best served the customer? Of course the context is key (the audience for the rule design documents, the purpose of the rules – Web Service or Interview, to mention only a couple of criteria) but the presence of different teams and different competing teams – internal or external – seems to lead to black box designs that only serve to frustrate the customer.

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