Contextualized Business Rule Repositories: Business Rule Organization Through Contexts
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Today?s businesses face an increasing number, complexity, and variability of business rules. Business rules, including the business vocabulary they rely on, mostly apply in specific situations or contexts only, that is, they have a scope limiting their validity. Hence, a business rule organization enabling effective and efficient maintenance, search, and execution of business rules along their contexts is vital to businesses.
Many research fields employ contexts to manage, organize, and reason about knowledge. A context comprises context knowledge, defining a scope, and contextualized knowledge, applying within the scope. Organizing knowledge by contexts facilitates faster knowledge entering and reasoning, reduced knowledge redundancy by organizing contexts in hierarchies, and easier browsing. However, current business rule management systems do not utilize contexts to organize business rules.
We propose Contextualized Business Rule Repositories (CBRs), organizing business rules along their context of application. We introduce the generic CBR model which can be instantiated multi-level: for a specific domain, e.g., the aeronautical domain, and for a concrete application, e.g., ranking of aeronautical messages. Instantiated CBR models, realized in CBRs, explicitly define the application contexts of business rules. This enables, in addition to the benefits of contexts stated above, increased business rule readability and faster business rule execution. To enable effective and efficient business rule maintenance in CBRs, we introduce modification operations for CBR models as well as CBR roles enabling effective separation of tasks and responsibilities. A subset of our modification operations is designed to ensure that CBRs remain consistent. We describe how our proposed modification operations and CBR roles support business rule management in CBRs.