What is a Business Rule?

by Grant HEnson

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Businesses operate within a complex and ever-changing environment. To thrive, they must be able to adapt quickly and effectively to new challenges and opportunities. Business rules play a vital role in this process, providing a framework for consistent and efficient decision-making.

What are Business Rules?

A business rule is a condition or constraint that must be met for a business process to be successful. Business rules can be used to govern a wide range of activities, from customer interactions to product pricing.

Types of Business Rules

There are many different types of business rules. Some common examples include:

  • Validation rules: These rules ensure that data is entered correctly. For example, a validation rule might require that a customer's email address be in a specific format.
  • Computation rules: These rules calculate values based on other data. For example, a computation rule might calculate the total cost of an order based on the product prices and quantities.
  • Inference rules: These rules make predictions based on existing data. For example, an inference rule might predict whether a customer is likely to churn based on their purchase history.

Why are Business Rules Important?

Business rules are important for a number of reasons. They can:

  • Increase consistency: Business rules ensure that everyone in the organization follows the same procedures. This can help to reduce errors and improve efficiency.
  • Improve transparency: Business rules make it clear to everyone in the organization what the rules are. This can help to avoid confusion and misunderstandings.
  • Facilitate decision-making: Business rules can help to automate decision-making, freeing up employees to focus on more strategic tasks.
  • Accelerate innovation: Business rules can be easily modified to reflect changes in the business environment. This can help businesses to quickly adapt to new challenges and opportunities.

How to Manage Business Rules

Business rules should be managed in a systematic and organized manner. This can help to ensure that they are accurate, up-to-date, and easy to find.

There are a number of different ways to manage business rules. Some common approaches include:

  • Documentation: Business rules can be documented in a variety of ways, such as in a spreadsheet, a wiki, or a dedicated business rules repository.
  • Modeling: Business rules can be modeled using a variety of tools, such as a business rules management system (BRMS).
  • Code: Business rules can be embedded in code, such as in a programming language or a workflow engine.

The best approach to managing business rules will vary depending on the specific needs of the organization.


Business rules play a vital role in the success of any business. By understanding the different types of business rules and how to manage them effectively, organizations can improve consistency, efficiency, transparency, and innovation.

Here are some additional tips for managing business rules:

  • Get buy-in from stakeholders. Business rules will only be successful if they are supported by all stakeholders in the organization. Make sure to get buy-in from key stakeholders early in the process.
  • Keep rules up-to-date. Business rules should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the business environment.
  • Test rules thoroughly. It is important to test business rules thoroughly before they are put into production. This will help to ensure that they are accurate and working as expected.
  • Document rules clearly. Business rules should be documented in a clear and concise manner. This will help to ensure that everyone in the organization understands what the rules are.
  • Use a business rules management system (BRMS). A BRMS can help to automate the management of business rules. This can free up employees to focus on more strategic tasks.

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