Decision Model and Notation – Rules Engine at Low Code

Decision Model and Notation is an official notation standard for decision rules in business process management. The approach is used to describe and model repeatable decisions in order to ensure that decision fundamentals are reproducible across the board. The goal is to detach decisions from business processes. The simple, graphical representation makes the day-to-day operations of a company transparent. If the basis for decision-making changes, it can be easily adapted. The business process itself remains unaffected.

Decision Model and Notation thus proves to be a valuable support for the decision management of a company. Decision Model and Notation is accessible to everyone. It enables different groups such as CEOs, business analysts and IT developers to work together efficiently in the process of decision making:

  • Managers monitor and manage decisions
  • Operational analysts document decision criteria, record detailed decision models and specify the decision logic
  • IT developers take care of the technical implementation of the automation


Decision Model and Notation can be used independently or be complemented by Process Modeling Notation like BPMN:

BPMN provides a graphical representation of business processes. The symbols are used to model and document business processes and workflows so that it is quickly apparent where in a BPMN process a decision defined under the DMN should be used.

Decision Model and Notation is used in a standardized language. With the DMN standard, operational analysts can capture the rules in easy-to-read decision tables integrated in decision requirements graphs that can be executed directly by an application. This usually significantly reduces misunderstandings between the individual groups and allows for quick changes in production.

What is BPMN and DMN?

BPMN stands for Business Process Model and Notation and is the most widely used standard for working with Decision Model Notation.

As mentioned above, Decision Model and Notation (DMN) is a notation to document and manage decision rules in processes. It allows sequences of company activities that affect daily business life to be better controlled with regard to deviations and are significantly more transparent. At the same time, it allows quick adaptation.

An example of the application is the decision on a loan. Various factors play an essential role here, which can be documented, managed and applied by everyone using Decision Model and Notation.

DMN is therefore very popular, because approvals of expenses, itineraries and document notarizations also require sound decision management.

Decision Model and Notation is composed of decision diagrams and decision tables and thus graphically could represent complex business rules. In contrast, BPMN models a process flow. BPMN can easily be linked to decision diagram using a business rules task and makes decision flows in the BPMN process more transparent. They complement each other and interact with each other.

Therefore, Decision Model and Notation is a tool that not only enhances the modeling of business processes, but can also represent a major step forward for the entire organization.

Why you should use Decision Model and Notation

Decision Model and Notation is equally suitable for all organizations and industries. In particular, companies that often have to make decisions that comply with the law and ensure compliance with guidelines benefit from Decision Model and Notation. This is where risk management comes in, as government regulations always have an impact on risk.

The starting position is the same in many companies: Processing of business rules in traditional information systems are part of the source code maintained by IT developers.

The DMN standard makes it possible by low code that even non-developers can easily and securely take over the creation and maintenance without the need for extensive further training.

Decision Model and Notation is therefore the perfect tool for creating an agile enterprise structure.

  • The documentation with Decision Model and Notation is done in a standardized language.
  • DMN helps to establish automated decision making.
  • Decision Model and Notation creates improved communication between business departments, analysts and IT.
  • DMN can be seamlessly integrated into BPMN.

DMN offers special advantages for companies in the service industries such as

  • Finances
  • Logistics
  • Government
  • Law
  • Health

The benefits of Decision Model Notation

If we take a closer look at Decision Model and Notation, we can see that there are a lot of advantages to moving to decision-based digital business.

Improved transparency

Because Decision Model and Notation is a transparent decision model, all internal stakeholders gain clarity about business processes and can accurately track compliance. With the visual, easy-to-understand representation, everyone can read and understand the Decision Model by low code.

Collaboration of business departments, analysts and IT

With DMN, all departments go hand in hand and can jointly develop visual models that are easily accessible to everyone. Coordination loops are reduced and collaboration becomes more efficient.

Real-time interactions

Because the decisions that were previously made manually are now automated within a process, it is possible to dynamically change business rules in real time. Decision Model and Notation is therefore a key driver of the digitalization of a company.

Conclusion: What makes Decision Model and Notation so important?

With Decision Model and Notation, companies today are able to express years of experience in business process management and decision optimization in a modern graphical and tabular language. With the simple link to BPMN, processes and decisions can be viewed separately.

The current version 1.3 of the Object Management Group is based on BPMN in appearance and exchange format.

Decision Model and Notation consists of three major areas:

  • Graphical elements for decision modeling to visualize dependencies and requirements
  • Decision tables and other tabular expressions to specify the rules that generate output based on the corresponding inputs
  • a “Friendly Enough Expression Language” (FEEL) to ensure good readability in decision logic

Whether it’s strategic decisions, visualizing key performance indicators, optimizing operational processes or accelerating repetitive assessments, Decision Model and Notation is the answer.

The question that often arises: Should I first model processes or decisions?

A simple answer: You need both. Only if processes and decisions are combined in a meaningful way, an optimization can take place in any area.

Modelling Business Rules by No Code with Appollo Low Code Platform

Appollo Low Code Platform supports DMN 1.3 for decision models and decision tables through the seamless integration of Camunda rules engine. Start now for free and try your first business rules linked to a business processes without any coding. Simply create a decision model with related decision tables and assign it to a rule task of your business process or case plan. Publish these models at the click of a mouse and execute them directly online in the Appollo User Portal.

We will be happy to answer any further questions and advise you on Decision Model and Notation. Feel free to contact us!

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