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A roadmap for the elicitation of business rules in information systems projects

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ In this paper we present a roadmap for the elicitation of business rules based on different stakeholders' perspectives, in order to facilitate the processes of structuring, organizing and expressing business tactic and policy in a way that it is close to the business milieu and stakeholders' viewpoints. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper has derived from a combined research practice. Initially, the development of a roadmap for understanding different stakeholders' perspectives and for identifying their views on business tactics and policies was based on well-grounded work on enterprise goal modelling, combined with a theoretical study of business rule ‐ related concepts. The outcome of this work was tested against a real business case dealing with the development of an electronic procurement system in the pre-fabricated construction sector. Findings ‐ As a conclusion, the paper put forward a comprehensive methodological framework for dealing with rule-intensive projects. The proposed roadmap can help IT practitioners in collecting and organizing business rule statements that apply within a particular organization, either towards the implementation of change on a business level, or in the context of specifying the (existing or future) functionality of supporting information systems (IS). Research limitations/implications ‐ The rule roadmap presented here has been coupled with a modelling approach for expressing rules in a structured, consistent manner and for organizing them in a rule repository. Future work includes the extension of this approach to cover design and implementation as part of rule-centric information systems engineering. Practical implications ‐ Therefore, the overall contribution of this work relates to the provision of guidance for identifying business policy and tactics at an intentional level (through the investigation of the rationale behind them) and for transforming relevant models to the operational level, where business rules are linked to business processes, information and systems. Originality/value ‐ Although the business rule concept has been examined from different points of view over the past years, the paper attempts to bridge the gap between approaches that see rules as extensions of business goals, other approaches that consider rules as limitations on the way business activities are performed, and finally, approaches according to which rules constrain the creation, modification and deletion of information entities.

Keywords: Business analysis; Business planning; Information systems; Knowledge management; Maps

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14637150510609381

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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