We use cookies and other similar technologies (Cookies) to enhance your experience and to provide you with relevant content and ads. By using our website, you are agreeing to the use of Cookies. You can change your settings at any time. Cookie Policy.

Thanks to the still-lean economy, companies are seeking options for obtaining more precise, accurate and effective business decisions throughout their enterprises—and they’re looking to do so faster than ever before.

Not surprisingly, then, one of the hottest current trends in management is the increasing focus on real-time decision management. That right-now emphasis represents a shift away from processing decisions in batches or using decision management for less time-sensitive matters, according to James Taylor, CEO of Decision Management Solutions, a consulting firm in Palo Alto, Calif.

Businesses looking to adopt decision management are often seeking environments involving decisions made in fractions of a second, Taylor says. “There’s no realistic way for people to make such decisions manually.”

FOCUSING ON THE CUSTOMER
Another key decision management trend: A long-standing emphasis on risk and fraud prevention is gradually being replaced by a more customer-centric approach, focused on functions such as marketing, retention and helping guide customers to “the next best action,” Taylor says. “Automating customer decisions can be tied to customer-centricity and other, similar initiatives, linking the system to big corporate objectives,” he added.

Analytics is also becoming a big part of decision management initiatives. “Companies adopting decision management increasingly build dozens, hundreds, even thousands of predictive analytic models as part of their decision management initiatives,” Taylor says. “This is focusing them on industrializing their analytic processes and on effectively operationalizing their analytic models. Businesses should be aware that this is going to create a pull for more scalable analytic processes and tools.”

BUILDING DECISION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Just five years ago, most decision management implementations involved disconnected systems of analytics and business rules, and only a few vertical markets, such as financial services, were even interested, says Neil Raden, CEO and principal analyst at Hired Brains Inc., a consultancy based in Santa Fe, N.M.

“In last few years, analytics have gotten respectable,” he says. Most organizations are now thinking about how they can use predictive analytics and what they can do with “big data” and natural language processing to get feedback on how likely a particular customer is to buy.

Many vendors are tying together existing technologies such as business rules and predictive analytics to create decision management systems, says Mike Gualtieri, a principal analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. In fact, those two technologies complement each other especially well, playing to each other’s strengths and bridging gaps, he added.

As an example, Gualtieri cites customer turnover. Predictive analytics can examine information about a specific customer, determining whether that customer is likely to churn. Because predictive analytics can’t determine which action to take, business rules step in to offer options that customer service representatives might use to address the situation.

Another example involves a chain of retail stores. The chain’s headquarters might run a predictive model recommending that, for instance, stores could increase revenue by selling beer and cigarettes to minors, while business rules would prevent that from actually happening. “The predictive model can’t discriminate; [it just sees] market opportunity,” Gualtieri says. “Business rules can limit risk or implement company policies.”

RE-EXAMINING THE ROLE OF BUSINESS RULES
But some of the more intricate analytics programs have raised questions about just how important business rules are, Raden says. Sentiment analysis and predictive modeling, among other technologies, let companies crunch data as well as determine what should be done with that data.

Such automated and semi-automated tools are moving toward the point where they can soon replace business rules, he says. While this kind of cognitive computing remains in its early stages, he still believes it can significantly reduce demand for business rules technology.

Vendors taking the lead to combine business rules, predictive analytics, sentiment analysis and other technologies will be at the forefront of decision management, Raden predicts.

“It’s not only that the software products are incompatible and require interfaces and have inherent disconnections between them, but you also have isolated groups separated by specialty and geography,” he says. “Once you’re able to weave these different things together, you can look at it as a single process. At that point, decision management, or decision processes, becomes a business process, instead of pieces.”

READER FEEDBACK: Does your company use decision management and analytics? If so, ebizQ editors would like to hear about your experience. Contact Site Editor Anne Stuart at editor@ebizq.net.



About the Author

Christine Parizo is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She's based in West Springfield, Mass. Contact her at christine@christineparizo.com.

More by Christine Parizo, ebizQ Contributor

-1-

1  

Explore Our Topics

  • EDITOR'S BRIEFING
  • Virtual Conferences
  • Webinars
  • Roundtables

BPM in Action

March 10, 2011

The sixth annual BPM in Action 2011 Virtual Conference will explore cutting-edge market developments in BPM and describe how to leverage them for improved business operation and performance. More

View All Virtual Conferences

Smart Case Management: Why It's So Smart.

Date:Nov 05, 2009
Time:12:00 PM ET- (17:00 GMT)

REGISTER TODAY!

Date:Oct 29, 2009
Time:15:00 PM ET- (19:00 GMT)

REGISTER TODAY!
View All Roundtables
  • Research Library
  • Podcasts
  • News

Joe McKendrick: Part II of II: Designing Evolve-ability into SOA and IT Systems

In part two of Joe McKendrick's recent podcast with Miko Matsumura, chief strategist for Software AG, they talk about how SOA and IT systems need to change and grow and adapt with the organization around it.

Listen Now

Phil Wainewright: Helping Brands Engage with Social Media

Phil Wainewright interviews David Vap, VP of products at RightNow Technologies, and finds out how sharing best practices can help businesses understand how best to engage with online communities.

Listen Now

Peter Schooff: Making Every IT Dollar Result in a Desired Business Outcome: Scott Hebner of IBM Rati

Scott Hebner, Vice President of Marketing and Strategy for IBM Rational, discusses a topic on the top of every company's mind today: getting the most from IT investments.

Listen Now

Jessica Ann Mola: Where Will BI Fit In? Lyndsay Wise Explains

In BI, this tough economy and the increasing role of Web 2.0 and MDM are certainly topics on people's minds today. WiseAnalytics' Lyndsay Wise addresses each of them in this informative podcast.

Listen Now

Dennis Byron: Talking with...Deepak Singh of BPM Provider Adeptia

Deepak Singh, President and CTO of Adeptia, joins ebizQ's Dennis Byron in a podcast that gets its hand around the trend of industry-specific BPM.

Listen Now
More Podcasts
  • Most Popular
  • Quick Guide
  • Most Discussed

Quick Guide: What is BPM?

Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Event Processing?

Smart event processing can help your company run smarter and faster. This comprehensive guide helps you research the basics of complex event processing (CEP) and learn how to get started on the right foot with your CEP project using EDA, RFID, SOA, SCADA and other relevant technologies. Learn More

Quick Guide: What is Enterprise 2.0?

A lot of people are talking about Enterprise 2.0 as being the business application of Web 2.0 technology. However, there's still some debate on exactly what this technology entails, how it applies to today's business models, and which components bring true value. Some use the term Enterprise 2.0 exclusively to describe the use of social networking technologies in the enterprise, while others use it to describe a web economy platform, or the technological framework behind such a platform. Still others say that Enterprise 2.0 is all of these things. Learn More