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How Can I Use Business Rules?

January 25, 2013

While you can get fairly technical when talking about Business Rules and how they can be implemented from a software and workflow perspective (technical overview coming soon with pictures!) I first want to spark a few thoughts with a few ways that business rules can be used. Do you have an idea for how they can be used? Sound off in the comments below, or connect with us on Twitter @DecisionsTweets.



One of the most obvious and simple ways to use business rules is to incorporate them into a flow or business process. Business rules as part of a business process could be used as a way to organize approval flows based upon different data points within the flow. One example of this is a classic loan approval process.

The flow takes in loan applications and based upon a set of rules the loan applications are directed to the appropriate loan officer or other approver or decision maker. These rules could be based upon the loan amount, for example “if the loan is for more than $1000 then send to Manager X”.

As we consider any process and operate within it for a period of time we usually find ways for the process to be improved. Many times a process can be improved by applying a rule for a specific situation. With a fully graphical workflow platform this change can be made quickly, and without writing any code!

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Business rules can also be used outside of a process as a trigger. Let’s stick with the loan processing example. What if you wanted to keep the applicant informed about the status of their application? You could use the following rule in the case of applications being submitted after business hours. “If application is submitted after 5:00pm EST, then send email message X”. With Decisions it is easy to send more than just emails, you could send a text message, or even initiate a voice call using a telephony service like Twilio to let the applicant know that you will get to the application as soon as you return to the office the next day.

To get slightly more technical you would likely want to apply states to each application based upon a set of criteria such as time of submission, or number of approvals, or something along those lines and when the state changes you could create a rule that notifies the appropriate party.



While this particular use will be covered more in depth in our upcoming technical post about how to use business rules as mentioned earlier, I thought it might be good to get the gears turning.

A process is comprised of any number of events. Some events are more meaningful than others. What do you want to track? How do you want to track it? Notifications? You could set up rules as “listeners” that monitor activity and report in a way that you dictate.

Back to our example, you could track how long it takes a loan application progress through the series of approvals to indentify bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement in the process.


Do you have an idea of how business rules can be used? Comment below and stay tuned for the more technical post on this subject!

Carl Hewitt
Prior to starting Decisions in 2009, Carl began in mid 90′s as an innovator in object oriented programming for business. He started his first technology company in 1998 (oop.com) which developed a graphical configuration technology and rules engine. The company was sold to NetDecisions, a global technology company and private equity fund in 2001. As the CTO over technology ventures at NetDecisions, Carl also organized and created Fluency, a voice recognition technology based on the oop.com platform. In 2003, recognizing the potential of workflow in conjunction with other configuration technologies, Carl formed Transparent Logic. Using a .net based platform, Transparent Logic delivered a fully graphical platform for creating workflows, rules and form building suite. Transparent Logic was sold to Altiris/Symantec in January 2008. At Symantec, Carl was the Senior Director in charge of R&D for the workflow team. During his time at Symantec, he created the next generation Symantec Service Desk, based on the workflow technology.

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