Technology Blogs by SAP
Learn how to extend and personalize SAP applications. Follow the SAP technology blog for insights into SAP BTP, ABAP, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP HANA, and more.
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

This blog on decision tables focusses on capabilities and latest ground breaking capacities of managing business rules in form of decision tables. Everybody who is interested to know about decision table – in general and its future in enterprise big data decision making competency must read through this blog and all related articles that explains, in depth, all the concepts and functionalities of the Decision Table.

Let me start with scratch and explain you what is decision table in general. Decision table is a way in business rules realm to formulate rules of business, company or corporation in a table structure. It  has been a very powerful style to represent business rules which otherwise would have spanned over multiple rows, pages and screens. Business rules articulated in form of decision table are quick to understand, clean, crisp, readable and most importantly compressed.

In concept, decision table comprises of columns and rows where columns describe the definition and operations of the rules and rows represents the value associated with these definitions and operations respectively. The columns are thus classified as 
(1) Condition Column – definition of the rule (2) Action Column - operation to the performed if the conditions are satisfied.

For Example: Let us assume that there is rule in bank credit card department which says, IF the Customer.ID = CUST_120000 has Customer.CurrentBalance Greater Than 2,000,000, THEN set Customer.Type = Gold ELSE set Customer.Type = Silver. This flat rule can be represented in tabular form as:








<= 2000000


                     Figure – 1.1: A decision table to set the Customer type in Credit Card department

More on decision table structures in another blog titled - Modeling Simple Decision Tables

Once the decision table is modeled, we now look how the decision table is evaluated at runtime. For each row of Decision Table, the Conditions are evaluated column-wise from left-to-right in AND fashion. Action value associated with a row – whose conditions are satisfied - are collected in the result set. Let us look back again to the decision table mentioned in Figure 1.1 – For each row in the decision table, the Customer.ID column value is evaluated first followed by Customer.CurrentBalance in AND fashion.  If the conditions are met then Customer.Type is set to Gold or Silver.

While Business rules in tabular format is not new and has been a known concept in market for quite a long time - what we introduce here is decision tables integrated to SAP HANA – a modern in-memory platform. This has created a benchmark by debuting business rules in database layer. Information modeler, data architects or application developers can now update or select the data from the database tables with basic understanding of SQL language – A language that manages database. Decision table exported as Microsoft Excel can later be used by Business users to manage the rules . Business rules in this avatar offers a high degree of decision making capabilities with big data. It advertently inherits real time-performance benefits that SAP HANA offers making it even more powerful, optimized and real time reliable.

Hence, when you think about writing business rules that aids better decision making with big data and performing analytics over the results –Business Rules powered by SAP HANA is the answer. Nowadays big data is the reality of every industry and the key factor that determine the winners will be the the one who would take advantage with the big data decision-making tools like Business Rules On SAP HANA – available from SAP HANA SP05 release.

Follow subsequent blogs to get started with decision table modeling capabilities

Other Related Blogs