Data Mining Book Review: Decision Management Systems

January 16, 2012
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DMSI recently read the last book from James Taylor, Decision Management Systems: A Practical Guide to Using Business Rules and Predictive Analytics. As a data miner, I was interested by the subtitle of the book.

DMSI recently read the last book from James Taylor, Decision Management Systems: A Practical Guide to Using Business Rules and Predictive Analytics. As a data miner, I was interested by the subtitle of the book. Although, the book is really well written, I’m a bit disapointed regarding the content for someone in analytics. I was expecting real methodologies and examples to move from analytics to actions in the company. How to successfully apply predictive analytics in the industry. The books only partly answer this question and gives mainly examples of business rules and how they are applied in companies.

If you come from the business side (e.g. C-level), the book may be interesting but the explanations about predictive analytics are quite light and you won’t see all benefits of these techniques in the company. I know that the main focus of the book is not about teaching analytics. It seems also not to be about filling the gap between analytics and action. I’m thus a bit confused about the real objective of the book. It is also explaining concepts at a very high level of abstraction. It is thus not directly usable in practice.

The book is divided in three parts. In the first part, James explains what are DMS and why they are useful for the company. The second part focuses on building these DMS. The third part is about the enablers (people, processes and technology), i.e. the aspects that will allow such DMS to be a successful initiative. Personally, I found the book very interesting starting from chapter 6 (Design and Implement Decision Services). The topic of fraud detection and prevention is very well studied throughout the book.

A very strange choice has been made to repeat in full text the expression Decision Management Systems hundreds of times. It thus make the reading sometimes a bit tiring. The simple use of the abbreviation DMS would have solved this issue. To conclude, I found the book interesting and well written. However, keep in mind that it is written with a very high level of abstraction. You will thus have a clear understanding of the domain, but no practical advices.

Decision Management Systems: A Practical Guide to Using Business Rules and Predictive Analytics