Business Rule Framework – Empowering Businesses to Run Process Automation in Meaningful Ways

Prashant Mehta, Senior Manager, Global Practices, SAP Technical, Bristlecone

Software applications have come a long way from the time when data, business processes and the rules feeding changes in business processes were all combined. These three components were all part of the software code together. A change in any one of them forced the software vendor to make code changes.

Business rules were the fastest and most frequent to change; the business process much slower, and the software version typically the slowest to change at an annual or biannual cycle. In fact, constantly changing business rules, often driven by changes in the regulatory or compliance landscape, used to necessitate re-coding of the entire software application.

Over time, with the advancements in software engineering, data, processes and business rules have become separated. Separating the rule and the data from the business process in such a manner allows for business processes to be adopted automatically whenever there is a rule change. The birth of the Business Rule Management System (BRMS) in 2005 made this possible. BRFplus is SAP’s BRMS.

SAP’s Business Rule Framework (BRFplus or BRF+) helps businesses provide real-time responses to changes in business requirements with flexible and easy rule administration and maintenance.

Business rules include anything that runs a business, such as policies, procedures, lines of computer code and other business practices. These rules are logical and help determine and control business functions.

BRFplus allows businesses to manage, store and capture rules easily and transparently as they are kept separate from the application code. By separating the rules, making changes and applying new policies and procedures becomes easy – and organizations do not need to depend on IT to apply the changes.

BRFplus provides the following advantages to business teams:

  • Increased transparency
  • Reduced reliance on IT
  • Accelerated maintenance and testing cycles
  • Faster response to change
  • No system downtime needed to apply code changes
  • Clear segregation of duties between IT and business rules
  • Rapid application development due to flexible customization capabilities
  • Better user experience enabled by a modern user interface

Applications that leverage BRFplus are designed in such a way that the constant, static processes remain in the application, while processes that change frequently are managed through BRFplus. The flexible processes may comprise some of the following:

  • Decision Services automating procedures such as claims processing, customer service management, credit approval, etc.
  • Data Validation and Error Detection Diagnosis with monitoring/alerting and detection of invalid data and states
  • Classification and Derivation Classifying of customers, products or risks
  • Matching responsibilities, suitable products and locations
  • Calculation of costs, overhead, risks, surcharges, etc.

The BRFplus rule engine is developed in ABAP and provides a comprehensive application programming interface (API) and user interface (UI) for defining and processing business rules. It also supports functions such as trace, simulation, production transport, and XML export and import.

BRFplus has a component-driven UI built on WebDynpro ABAP, which enables both business and IT experts to access all the features and functions of BRFplus from a single screen using Workbench.

SAP BRFplus is one of today’s leading business rule management systems, due to its flexible, easy and cost-effective implementation. Businesses that leverage BRFplus are able to simplify running business processes and ensure that rule changes are quickly and easily reflected in business applications.

Interested in taking a deeper dive? Download this white paper:
Driving Effective Automation with SAP BRF+