Decision Management’s ‘Epsom Salt’ Problem

July 8, 2011
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Epsom Salts

Have you looked at a packet of Epsom Salt recently? Here’s a product that describes itself as

 

Epsom Salts

Have you looked at a packet of Epsom Salt recently? Here’s a product that describes itself as

  • a soaking aid for minor sprains and bruises
  • a saline laxative for the short term relief of constipation
  • a plant nutrient for vigorous lawns, flowers, plants, vegetables and trees

Three very different uses – after all, how many laxatives would you put on your garden or in your bath? Every time I see this product packaging I chuckle. It just seems so unlikely.

What, I hear you ask, does this have to do with Decision Management?

Well, I am often asked what’s better about systems developed using a Decision Management approach. The answer is that Decision Management delivers systems that are more agile, more analytic and more adaptive than traditional approaches – “It’s more agile, its analytic, and its adaptive too!”

Just as it looks odd to see one product marketed for soothing muscles, as a laxative and to make your garden grow greener, it can seem a stretch that one new approach will make your systems better in all three of these ways. I have been working with these kinds of systems for the better part of a decade and they really do:

  • More agile
    Decisions are high change components. Managing them as distinct components and extricating them from the processes, systems and events that need them makes them easier to find and change. Using business rules to manage the logic in the decisions makes it quicker, easier and more reliable to make the changes you need when you need them.
  • More analytic
    The power of analytics lies in the power of analytics to improve the way you make decisions. Predictive analytics in particular are most effective when applied to the kind of repeatable, operational decisions that matter to systems. If you have decisions identified, decision-making services built and a business rules platform for implementing and using your models then you are much more likely to put your analytics to work.
  • More adaptive
    Decisions take time to play out and sometimes you don’t know what the best approach will be. A separate decision-making service can easily embed the kind of A/B testing or champion/challenger testing you need to keep learning what works, keep adapting to changing market conditions and customer preferences.

So get that big bag of Epsom Salt and start building Decision Management systems.