One of the reasons to attend conferences is for the entertainment laid on by organisers, such as the verbal boxing matches in vendor panels. But the first such panel at BRForum this year didn’t live up to expectations [*1], being polite, civilised, and non-controversial.
Sandy Kemsley has already commented on this but 2 points were noteworthy:
- Despite Forrester’s Jon Rymer’s polite chairing and prompting, none of the panelists wanted to commit to rule standards [*2], giving excuses like “we’re waiting for the customers to insist on them”. Stranger still given that the panel included the vendor who co-chairs both the W3C RIF and OMG PRR efforts, and yet another was a vendor who emphasises their PMML and analytics integrations! Left hand, meet right hand [*3]. Funnily, one of the OEM partners of one of the vendors called them out on this in the Q&A, offering to help with standards work! Oops. So there is some interest then [*4].
- One astute question was on the difference between rule management and decision management. Sandy covers the discussion, but really the industry pundits need to spend some time to clarify this area. (For the record, decisions are a subset of (operational) business rules, but I agree decision management can additionally include analytics, BI dashboards, decision lifecycle and state management, etc. So they overlap.) We hit the same terminology-ontology vacuum while preparing the OMG OCEB examinations for business rules in BPM.
 Small compensation for a US conference panel was the novelty of a non-English speaker and real-time translator for one of the panelists. Hoorah for internationalization!
 Disclosure: TIBCO is co-chair of the OMG PRR work and a contributor to W3C RIF.
 Note there is a separate panel on standards later in the week.
 No customer interest? Obviously I imagined the discussion I had last week with a large financial institution on implementing a standards-based rule management strategy, or a few weeks earlier with a large DOD organization on their view of the importance of rule standards. Ho hum.