Bill Craig, a consultant with Service Alberta, discussed their journey with process and rules to create agile, business-controlled automation for land titles (and, in the future, other service areas such as motor vehicle licensing) in the province of Alberta. They take an enterprise architecture approach, and like to show alignment and traceability through the different levels of business and technology architecture. They used a number of mainframe-based legacy applications, and this project was driven initially by legacy renewal – mostly rewriting the legacy code on new platforms, but still with a lot of code – but quickly turned to the use of model-driven development for both processes and rules in order to greatly reduce the amount of code (which just creates new legacy code) and to put more control in the hands of the business.
They see 21st century government as having the following characteristics:
- customer service focus
- business centric
- management and controlled
- architected (enterprise and solution)
- focused on knowledge capture and retention
- collaborative and integrative
- managed business rules and business processes
BPM and BRM have been the two biggest technology contributors to their transformation, with BRM the leader because of the number of rules that they have dealing with land titles; they’ve also introduced SOA, BI, BAM, EA, KM and open standards.
In spite of their desire to be agile, it seems like they’re using quite a waterfall-style design; this is the government, however, so that’s probably inevitable. They ended up with Corticon for rules and Global 360 for process, fully integrated so that the rules were called from tasks in their processes (which for some reason required the purchase of an existing “Corticon Integration Task” component from Global 360 – not sure why this isn’t done with web services). He got way down in the weeds with technical details – although relevant to the project, not so much to this audience – then crammed a description of the actual business usage into two minutes.
One interesting point: he said that they tried doing automated rules extraction from their mainframe applications to load into Corticon, but the automated extraction found mostly navigation rules rather than business rules, so they gave up on it. It would be interesting to know what sort of systems that automated rule extraction works well on, since this would be a huge help with similar legacy modernization initiatives.