WebSphere Commerce Enterprise

WebSphere Commerce business policy framework

Business policies are sets of rules followed by a store or group of stores that define business processes, industry practices, the scope and characteristics of a store or group of stores offerings, and how the store or site interacts with customers and other partners. For example, your site may have business policies determining when and how customers are allowed to return products to a store, or business policies that determine what payment methods your store accepts.

WebSphere Commerce provides a framework that allows you to implement your store's business policies in your online store or site. The business policy framework consists of the following parts:
  • Business policies
  • Business accounts
  • Contracts and service agreements
  • Terms and conditions
Business policies
In most instances, you will have predefined business policies for your business that you need to implement in your online store or site. WebSphere Commerce provides a set of business policies that you can use as is, or change to meet your needs.
Business accounts
Business accounts define the relationship between a customer and your business. Business accounts track contracts and orders for customer organizations and configure how buyers from customer organizations shop in a store.
Contracts and service agreements
Before a customer or partner (for example resellers or distributors) can access your store, you must create a contract or service agreement that defines customer or partner access to your store. In the WebSphere Commerce business policy framework, you create contracts for customers and service agreements for other types of partners.
A contract with a customer defines what areas of your store the customer can access, what prices the customer will see, and for how long the customer has access to your site and those prices. All stores must contain at least one contract, as without a contract no one but internal administrators can access your store. WebSphere Commerce provides a default contract that applies to all customers shopping at a store.
Service agreements
A service agreement with a partner (partners may be resellers, distributors, manufacturers, suppliers, or other partners) defines your arrangement with the partner. For example a service agreement with a reseller may define what access the reseller has to your site, whether they can share your catalog, or whether you host a store for them. A service agreement with a distributor may define how customers to your site can receive quotes from a distributor, or how customers can access the distributors site from yours.
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions define how contracts and service agreements are implemented for a particular customer or partner. For contracts, terms and conditions might define what is being sold under the contract; the price of the items being sold; how the items are shipped to the customer; and how the customer pays for the order. For service agreements with partners, terms and conditions might restrict the products the partner is allowed to sell.

Terms and conditions typically reference business policies as most aspects of a site or stores operations are defined by business policies. Terms and conditions provide standard parameters for the business polices they reference. Providing parameters to the business policies allows you to modify the behavior of business policies for each contract.

Business policies in sample businesses
Each of the sample businesses in WebSphere Commerce includes the business policy framework.
Adding business policies to your site
You can add business policies by implementing the business policy framework in your site.