Australasian Conference on Information Systems
Smit, Zoet, and Slot
Compliance principles for decision management solutions
The fourth principle stresses the importance of being able to trace how decisions were taken. To be able to do so, the activity’s input, applied business rules, and output must be stored. The rationale behind this principle is the ability to check how a specific decision was taken. Take for example a situation where student benefits are wrongfully rejected based on the data and documents delivered by the student. A law in the Netherlands states that students have the possibility to appeal against the decision of a governmental agency. If they choose to file for appeal the governmental agency responsible for providing student benefits needs to evaluate if an error was made and in the case an error was made, correct the error.
Principle 5: Communication with the same standards wherever possible, communication with different standards where desirable
The fifth principle focuses on the utilization of communication standards (BR-related languages). Communication between stakeholders which are involved in the business rules management processes must be aligned. Where possible, the same terms, in different situations should have the exact same definitions. This can be supported by means of a centralized list with definitions that can be utilized by different stakeholders. Where desirable, the same terms have different definitions in different situations. For this, a translation has to be made for each ‘different’ translation of the definition and added to the definition list.
For example, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration forces all employees and partners to work with standard communication protocols. As the size of the organization expands, communication regarding business rules and decisions will get more complex. As standards are applied as much as possible, common languages will be adopted, potentially lowering communication issues and improving collaboration between stakeholders regarding business rules and decisions. However, the principle states that for some (critical) instances organizations should be able to utilize different standards (other than the acceptable ones). It goes without saying that this should be avoided as much as possible.
Principle 6: Decisions, business rules, and data are recorded according to two time dimensions
The sixth principle dictates that decisions, business rules, and data are recorded according to two time dimensions, which is described in detail in our example in table 1.
Principle 7: All business rules refer to a source
Decisions and underlying business rules are based on one or more sources. By referring the actual business rules to a source, organizations can more easy argue why a specific decision has been made. In addition, it also makes impact analysis of changing laws easier. Take for example laws and regulations regarding taxation of income. In the Netherlands alone, this particular law affects over nine million Dutch citizens. When business rules are utilized in (automated or partly automated) decision services, its design should be based upon sources in all relevant and valid legal documentation. This is important so that none of the business rules utilized in the decision services can be questioned regarding legality by the people affected by the decisions it takes.
Principle 8: Gaming only allowed by gamers
The eight principle prescribes that, where necessary, ’playing’ with business rules should be limited.
When Organizations are unable to do so clients possibly start to experiment in order to achieve the optimal results for them. An argument that some participants made is that employees should be allowed to game. The argument they list for this is that sometimes, when applying law reasonableness and fairness, is more important than applying the law by the actual letter.
For example, when clients are able to experiment while applying for disability allowances, decisions regarding the eligibility, duration, and the height of the allowances could be changed (‘played’) to realize more positive outcomes. As stated in the previous paragraph an employee must be allowed to do so.
Principle 9: Transparency concerning decision making for clients and users
The ninth principle stresses that governmental agencies design its services in a client-oriented manner. It is important that clients recognize the services provided and understand the decision-making progress (minimally high-level).
Take for example the process of a request for unemployment benefits. Usually, this process is complex and can run for multiple weeks or months depending on the difficulty of the given situation. A request for unemployment benefits is processed in multiple process activities by multiple departments, employing multiple specialists. To reduce concerns or impatience of clients and users that submitted the request, a portal is available where the progression of the request is shown.