James Taylor's Decision Management

James Taylor

On event rules and decision management

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Marco posted on CEP (Complex Event Processing) and GPS (Global Positioning System) recently and his examples really show the difference, to me, between event rules and decision management. He listed some great examples of rules that belong in your event processing environment - they are about events. For instance:

  • Trigger when vehicle enters zone B
  • Trigger when zone C contains more than 30 vehicles.
  • Trigger when vehicle xyz has not arrived to zone D between 3-6 am
Now think about the business response to these things. In the last example, for instance, which customers' deliveries are on vehicle xyz and how important those customers are would affect our response. The decision as to the importance of a customer is a business decision not (directly) related to the event processing scenario. Regardless of the technology used it should be managed as a cross-system, cross-channel business asset not buried in the handling of events.
Event rules are not the same as the rules behind business decisions, even if the same language can be used to express both. One is tied to the events and the event handling system, one is not.

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But of course, "events" are what trigger "decisions". "Customer applies for a loan" is an event, and requires a decision on "whether and what to loan" based on current available data, current policies, and available knowledge. Saying "event rules are not the same as the rules behind business decisions" could be misunderstood to as "decisions are independent of events".

But for sure, not all event rules are decision rules. On the other hand all decision rules contain either an implicit (e.g. "loan request decision service") or explicit (e.g. "if loan request event...") event reference.

EDM's "separate the decision from the process" is perfectly correct for SOA and BPM. For EDA and event processing, where the events and associated decisions ARE the process, the mantra is possibly not so clearcut.

James Taylor blogs about decision-management technologies such as predictive analytics and business rules, discussing how they deliver agility, improve business processes and bring intelligent automation to SOA.

James Taylor

James Taylor blogs on decision management for ebizQ, and is an independent consultant on decision management, predictive analytics, business rules, and related topics.

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