What is Decision Management?
Modern-day business operations are centered around processes and data. However, when knowledge and expertise are forced into hard-coded, inflexible systems, bottlenecks occur. By adopting and scaling the capabilities of business rules, decision modeling, and machine learning, Digital Decisioning leverages data and expertise to create business value, improve results, and deliver a great user experience to effectively meet today’s operational requirements. For Digital Decisioning to deliver true value, it must initially focus on solving business problems that will, ultimately, contribute to positive and desirable business outcomes. Technology, automation, and methodologies are essential for Digital Decisioning, but they are always at the service of business decisions.
The foundation for successful Digital Decisioning projects is applying a Decision Management approach. Decision Management models business decisions first. These decisions, for the most part, have to do with customers and how you engage with them, deliver services to them, or handle their transactions.Once you have a good grasp of what decisions your business needs to make and how these decisions will advance your business, Decision Management shows which technology and analytics tools you need to invest in and how to integrate them. Finally, Decision Management focuses on the processes and infrastructure needed to ensure continuous improvement and business engagement. To maximize success, adopt a proven approach such as the DecisionsFirst™ approach from Decision Management Solutions.
There are a number of advantages gained by expressing business logic in business rules and using the processing and management facilities included with a Business Rules Management System to work with them.
- The separation of decision logic from mechanical implementation gives you more flexibility to make changes with minimal or zero impact on basic systems operation.
- Business rules are more understandable to business-level people, leading to better business/technical cooperation, reduced implementation times, and fewer opportunities for interpretation errors.
- Business rules are easily segmented into groups for control over functional interaction and management.
- Business Rules Management Systems have interactive testing, execution flow, cross-reference tools, and reporting features to aid in development, testing, and documentation.
- Business Rules Management Systems have predefined rule replacement features to handle system updates without interrupting service to application users.
- Business rules can have explicit times and dates when they should go into and out of effect.
- Rule management templates can be created to let users update, view, or create rules in a controlled manner without knowing anything about syntax or code.
Business rules syntax allows for a great deal of flexibility that you cannot replicate in traditional programming languages. Rules may be written with English phrases such as “If customer’s age exceeds 65 then set customer’s discount to .05”. This type of familiarity lets business policymakers work side by side with the implementation team. Indeed, many business analysts go through rule writing courses and then write rules with no previous programming experience.
The rule developer can also focus on the “correctness” of each atomic piece of logic instead of the sequencing and nesting of if-then-else constructs.
Business rules also provide flexibility for maintenance. In a traditional procedural implementation, the developer would have to understand the chaining programmed in the code for each if-then-else statement or loop. This is a time consuming and high-risk activity. Using rules, it is sufficient to replace, add or remove a rule. The next rule compilation will build a different decision structure that reflects the changes.
Rule templates give rule developers the ability to define specific structured types of rules or replaceable parts of existing rules that should be “exposed” to business level users for rule maintenance or creation. Business managers can make highly controlled and secure changes without ever seeing a word of the underlying rule syntax. Where appropriate, you can release the ownership of portions of the application business logic without running the risk of allowing unintended changes to other application code. This can greatly reduce costs in making incremental business changes to existing applications by taking the burden off programming departments having to work on maintenance releases.
Because the rules are managed and executed as an independent process called upon by your application, they can be updated at any time without requiring recompiles, links, or processing interruptions to your production application. Rule logic can be tested off-line and then introduced into a running application according to your strategy (scheduled, automatic or manual updates).