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Über dieses Buch

This book is based on a PhD dissertation which was accepted by the faculty of Law and Economics at the University of Bern, Switzerland. The ideas presented were partially developed in a research project founded by the Swiss National Sci­ ence Foundation in 1993 and 1994. This research project was concerned with evaluating the application of database triggers and active databases for the im­ plementation of business rules. We recognized among other things the lack of a methodology for modeling such business rules on the conceptual level. Therefore, this became the focus of the follow-up research which resulted in this book. All this work would not have been possible without the help of several people. First of all, I would like to give special thanks to my thesis supervisor Prof. Dr. Gerhard Knolmayer. He not only initiated the research project and found an in­ dustry partner, but also provided very valuable ideas, and critically reviewed and discussed the resulting publications. Furthermore, I would like to express my thanks to the second thesis supervisor Prof. Dr. Sham Navathe from Georgia In­ stitute of Technology who influenced my work with results from a former re­ search project and who agreed to evaluate the resulting PhD Dissertation.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
Since the industrial revolution manifold organizational approaches have been developed and more or less successfully applied in practice. One of the most recent trends of organizational reflections is business process reengineering 1. Within all these approaches the use of formalized rules is a widely discussed and controversial topic. Most organizations today make an intense use of information technology (IT) in order to support their functions and processes and to finally achieve good positions in a competition which is becoming more and more intensified2. The information systems (IS) as a part of IT encompass a huge amount of often heterogeneously structured and formalized organizational knowledge. This knowledge is often referred to as business rules 3 and many business processes are executed with respect to those rules which either prescribe a certain action or constrain the set of possible actions. In recent years, it has been accentuated that business rules are an important element of many IS; even the notion of a paradigm change has been used in emphasizing their importance for conceptual modeling4. Loucopoulos demands that “all laws and rules governing the universe of discourse must be defined within the conceptual schema. ”5 Though the term business rule is often referred to, it is defined and used rather differently and often confined to semantic integrity constraints6. However, business rules do not only cover data integrity but may also impose restrictions on organizational dynamics; therefore, with reference to Bell et al.7, we define business rules as statements about how the business is done, i.e., about guidelines and restrictions with respect to states and processes in an organization.
Holger Herbst

2. Rules in Organizations and Information Systems

Abstract
Before focusing on business rules and presenting the BROCOM approach, two closely related topics will be regarded: business rules in the organizational theory and alternatives for the implementation of business rules in IS.
Holger Herbst

3. Business Rules

Abstract
IS normally encompass a large amount of business rules; the administration of these rules in a conceptual modeling is only feasible if the rules can be regarded and classified with respect to other facts:
  • • Business rules should be analyzable with respect to organizational facts.
  • • Business rules should be analyzable with regard to their validity, i.e., their correctness with respect to the real world and with respect to their mutual consistency.
  • • Depending on the rule type, the syntax for the specification of business rules has to be more or less restricting.
  • • Different business rule types may be assigned to specific implementation alternatives, e.g., those discussed in Chapter 2.
Holger Herbst

4. Brocom: A Business Rule-Oriented Conceptual Modeling Approach

Abstract
In this chapter, BROCOM, an approach for a business rule-oriented conceptual modeling is introduced. The BROCOM approach emphasizes the use of business rules which are used for the specification of all dynamic properties relevant to the universe of discourse, i.e., of processes and integrity constraints. This focus on a single modeling construct reduces the complexity of the conceptual model and does not force the analyst to artificially separate facts that belong together. The approach is presented in two main sections which encompass the meta model and the modeling steps.
Holger Herbst

5. Views on the Meta Model

Abstract
In the previous chapter, BROCOM, a new approach for conceptual modeling, was introduced which focuses on business rules as a main modeling construct. Such a conceptual model may lead to a large and thus very complex set of rules. In order to reduce this complexity and to enable the communication between all people involved in the IS development, several views on the facts are useful.
Holger Herbst

6. Burro: A Repository System for a Business Rule-Oriented Conceptual Modeling

Abstract
In Chapter 4, a meta model and steps of the BROCOM approach were introduced. The preceding Chapter 5 encompasses the presentation, application, and evaluation of different models for the graphical presentation of views on the meta model. This chapter describes the implementation of BURRO, a business rule repository system which allows the administration of the meta data relevant within the BROCOM approach. In this chapter, the implemented BURRO system will be applied not only to the example rules used before, but to a large part of the case study DOM-2.
Holger Herbst

7. Summary and Outlook

Abstract
The BROCOM approach introduced in this work encompasses an orientation towards business rules which are not only used for the specification of integrity constraints but also to specify the behavior of processes. The specification of a conceptual model may lead to the formalization of business rules; therefore, the aspect of formalization has been discussed from the viewpoint of selected organizational approaches. However, though the topic has been discussed since the beginning of industrialization in the 19th century, the appropriate coexistence of non-formalized and formalized rules in an organization is still a controversial topic. This influences the development of an IS because an IS has to guarantee the necessary flexibility for efficient support of an organization’s business. Thus, only those facts, which should be formalized from an organizational point of view ought to be fully automated.
Holger Herbst

Backmatter

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