Unifying Business Rules to Drive Agility in Government

Our final public sector session at PegaWORLD 2014 featured two of our customers – Doug Averill from the State of Maine and Chris Ruwoldt from the New South Wales Transport Management Centre – deliver interesting presentations on how they have been able to unify business rules to drive agility in their respective government agencies. This was valuable not only in terms of where they are today, but because of where they are headed. Specifically, both presenters highlighted how sharing and reusing business rules will help create even more agility for their agencies, over and above what they’ve already achieved to date.

The state government is the largest employer in Maine with approximately 23,000 workers across 14 different agencies. Even though the State has relatively consolidated their IT operations, they still struggle with the amount of legislative change, increasing 7% year-over-year since 2006. The State decided to implement iBPM to adequately respond to these legislative changes. Other considerations factoring into their decision were the needs to integrate with many systems, and ensure multi-channel capabilities to offer their customers a harmonized experience.

The State has adopted an agile methodology approach and a BPM Center of Excellence. Their business people and their IT staff work together to agree on requirements and document the institutional knowledge in the forms of business rules and processes in an iBPM model. The role of the BPM Center of Excellence has been critical to Maine’s ability to leverage common business rules and processes across agencies. 

New South Wales Transport Management Centre (TMC) is responsible for managing traffic flow as well as incidents across more than 18,000 kilometers of road, 5,000 bridges and tunnels, as well as rail, ferry and bus lines. A great example of the Internet of everything, TMC has more than 20,000 remote communication devices that are regularly sending and receiving information about traffic flows and patterns. When faults are reported on any line, the information – using business rules – is automatically routed to the right employee with the right capability in the right group.

The TMC’s business rules equate to traffic laws and are implemented using static road signs, traffic lights, and self-regulation. A wide variety of incidents can be reported by the remote communications devices, plus people and/or workers calling in. Regardless of the source of an incident, the response process remains the same. Traffic flow issues and incidents are problems that need to be solved, and each issue or incident has a number of key characteristics. Business rules are associated with network components and the association between components. For example, a network node on the TMC network normally represents an intersection of two roads, but on a bus route a node represents a bus stop. Business rules can also be used to associate the physical road network with its uses. Once the problem is defined, TMC can determine if a pre-existing solution exists or if an operator has to respond to a new situation. In either situation, business rules can ensure the response is implemented faster and more consistently.

Historically, the business rules at TMC were hard-coded into actual programming that exists within legacy systems. This does not allow for flexibility, including the ability to adapt to new laws and situations. With a model-driven approach and business rules centralized, the TMC is able to use these business rules to help:

  • Improve road safety,
  • Better manage traffic flow,
  • Detect incidents ,
  • Automatically implement response plans, and
  • Improve operator decisioning.

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