Effective Business Decision Management: How Mature is Your Company?

Effective Business Decision Management: How Mature is Your Company?

Are you effectively managing your business decisions (or indeed rules)? Are you fully in control of those operational decisions your company makes, maybe thousands of times a day or more (possibly using some degree of automation), that determine which customers you will accept, what credit terms you will offer them, what risks you’re prepared to take, what products they might like or need, what prices to charge for them, whether you are compliant with regulatory edicts – in short, the bedrock of your business?

The reason I ask is that the vast difference between various companies’ approaches to operational decision management is a constant surprise to us. For some, the management process is a well-oiled machine: not only are all key decisions automated (this represents the bare minimum in this contest!), but so too is the continued measurement of their effectiveness and alignment with (ever changing) business strategies. Decisions are separate from code, tangible to the business, explicit, agile, measured and optimized.

For other companies decision management is a morass of emails, spreadsheets, confusion brought about by lack of visibility and missed opportunities. For many, despite the acknowledged importance of these decisions, their processes are mired in chaos. “We’re not mature enough for that,” or “There is no need to be so highfalutin,”  some IT managers claim – it seems to us that, when you examine how well the two corporate styles compare in their effectiveness, this denial is just not credible.

So: how grown-up is your company when it comes to decision management? Why not take our quiz and find out? (more…)

Are Fact Models Obviated by the Decision Model?

Are Fact Models Obviated by the Decision Model?

If you model your business decisions and rules using the Decision Model (TDM), it might at first appear that both the information captured in the TDM glossary and the inferential dependencies between rule families in the model itself, together, capture all the same information that might normally be caught in a fact model. All the business terms, their relationships and the fact types than bind them are already in the glossary—why bother to capture them again in a fact model? Would this not cause redundancy and undue maintenance overhead? Our experience of using TDM in the investment banking domain suggests that it is not as simple as that… (more…)

Business Decisions and Business Rules: What’s the Difference?

Business Decisions and Business Rules: What’s the Difference?

Within the past ten years the business rule community has been referring increasingly to business ‘decisions’ in its books, papers and internet forums and somewhat less frequently to business ‘rules’. But what is a business decision? Is it a synonym of business rule? Some certainly seem to use it that way—some tabular rules even come in the form of ‘decision tables’.

Is ‘decision’ a new term for ‘rule’, invented to help with marketing of the same old ideas for comparatively ‘new’ disciplines like Enterprise Decision Management? Are decisions the new rules, or just hype? Or is a decision a genuinely new idea in its own right?  Are business rules and business decisions compatible: can they be used together, or must one choose between them?

This article explains our view—forged by front-line experiences over the past decade—that business decisions and rules are very different things.

(more…)

Are Business Rules Really Owned by the Business?

It is the stated intent of business rule management systems (BRMS) to support a partnership between the business and IT: they empower business users to own, maintain and test their enterprise business rules, whereas IT departments have the responsibility of integrating the rule system effectively with the infrastructure of the organization and preserving the integrity of production systems. In effect, IT are providing the business with a sandbox environment to control the decision making of their enterprise with true agility. But does it work this way in practice? (more…)

Maintaining a Business Rule Repository for the Long Haul

In the vast majority of enterprises that adopt business rules, the aim is to maintain a rule repository over a long period, evolving it to meet the rapidly evolving needs of a business. It is surprising, then, that although much is written about how to analyse, capture and implement business rules, much less has been published about how to maintain them over time. How can you extend the life of your business rules against the ravages of time? (more…)