Business rules are becoming more integral to processes all the time — at least according to those of us who are writing about the topic.
As a check on that perception, this month, BPTrends conducted a mini-poll on the use of business rules. First we asked if process people were normally using business rules in conjunction with process analysis — to capture decisions for example. Half said no. Half said yes. and a few said sometimes. It doesn't sound like a resounding shout for business rules — but when you consider that a few years ago process people didn't really consider rules a part of their work — its real progress.
Next we asked how process practitioners were using the business rules when they bothered to document them. The overwhelming response was that they used them in manuals and other documentation. That's fine — its a perfectly good way to support user decision making. It isn't a rousing vote for BPMS tools that incorporate rules. Perhaps as people talk more about rule-based software tools in conjunction, or a companies create more BPMS applications, that will change.
Overall, then, based on a rather small sample, more process people are interested in rules, but they aren't really interested in automating the use of rules at this time.