Analytics & Optimization Making BI productive

Jan302006

Meridith Levenson wrote an interesting article on Business Intelligence: Not Just for Bosses Anymore in CIO Magazine. There are some great comments in here:The new system hasn't made the business better - at least not yet - only better informedA classic comment on BI. Reporting and understanding are great but knowing what your problems or bottlenecks are is just the beginning. You must be able to change in response.Today, the big potential for BI is using it at the operational level to improve business processesWell certainly the big potential for "business intelligence" though not perhaps "BI" in the classic definition. I remain unconvinced that using the same technologies that help executives understand their business to help operational staff improve their execution of a process or, more dramatically, improving the way an automated process runs, is viable.the core of BI is still reporting rather than process managementYup. Hence the distinction above between "BI" and "business intelligence"CIOs who don't use BI to...

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Analytics & Optimization Business rules and temporary applications

Jan302006

Interesting post on ZDNet - The age of the temporary application is here. Made me think about EDM and business rules in the context of a temporary application. The article had some great comments:But there's also a huge sea change taking place at the highest levels, and we're seeing it happen through a convergence of trends, including on-demand, software as a service, and of course, SOA. Standardization makes this possible — in interfaces, messaging, service delivery, and hardware components. It's all become hot-swappable.Yup - more and more things making applications more and more "hot swappable". But what does this mean for technology? He goes on to say:Under this model, we can build and disassemble applications as business needs change. That could include services maintained within the enterprise and accessible via a common repository, as well as on-demand services available from an outside vendor or partner.Well clearly if you are building these "hot swappable" applications then you need to be able to enforce policies, manage risk and...

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Analytics & Optimization EDM and “the next big thing”

Jan272006

I like the EDS "Next Big Thing" blog and saw this post - Elevator speech about the next big thingBeing able to proactively manage the complexity created by massive change through the application of new levels of automation. We live in a world of exponential change. It is overwhelming our ability to absorb and comprehend what’s going on. Automation and context aware computing techniques will be used to focus on managing our attention, bringing the information to us in a way we can both comprehend and taking appropriate action, wherever we are in the world. Now when I read this I was struck by how relevant an EDM approach is to delivering on this elevator pitch: Massive complexity requires automation - the complexity is increasingly in decisions and so a focus on automating decisions is required. The use of predictive analytics to predict appropriate actions and of business rules to deliver on these actions is key. The ability to use optimization tools and scenario analysis to both analyze what-if scenarios and plan possible responses to potential...

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Analytics & Optimization Cross-platform approaches are the future

Jan272006

Interesting little snippet on the SOA blog – Survey: Java EE, .NET neck and neck. Clearly lots of companies are going to end up deploying systems to Java and .NET over the next few years. Add in the long tail of legacy COBOL applications and you have a typical heterogeneous environment. One of the attractions of a business rules approach is the separation of decision logic from the "plumbing" of applications. While an SOA approach – developing business rules as services – helps a lot, it can also be very effective to use a business rules management system that let’s you externalize all the rules, manage them in a repository and then deploy them as .NET services, Java services or COBOL programs while still ensuring that you can manage the rules once to ensure consistency. There are business rules management systems out there that support multiple deployment platforms from a single repository – Blaze Advisor is one.

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Analytics & Optimization EDM: A platform for strategic decisions

Jan222006

EDM is often thought of as the platform for the better decisioning of the millions of operational decisions typical within an enterprise. These are the relatively “little” decisions – such as providing a call center response to an individual customer - that individually don’t have a large impact on the organization, but collectively do. Reading an excellent article by John S. Hammond, Ralph Keeney and Howard Raiffa titled “The Hidden Traps in Decision Making,” in the January 2006 edition of the Harvard Business Review, I was struck by how EDM can be a platform for the better decisioning not just of the millions of small impact decisions, but also for the better decisioning of the very high impact strategic decisions made by senior executives at companies. As Hammond, Keeney and Raiffa point out in their article, high level strategic decision making can often be sabotaged not just by the usual suspects such as a lack of information, defined alternatives, or complete cost-benefit analysis, but by the very way the human brain works! It appears that there...

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Analytics & Optimization Are there any standards under development for business rules?

Jan182006

The lack of standards currently in the business rules space makes interoperability hard. Although many of the technical deployment standards are supported as deployment options by rules vendors, the standards specific to rules are limited: JSR-94 - some information on this first rules standard can be found at javarules.org. It is a fairly limited standard but fairly well supported by the major vendors. OMG Production Rules Representation - a standard for rule interchange under development by the OMG. More details on their site. W3C Rules Interchange Format - another standard under development by W3C. More information here. Hopefully the OMG and W3C ones will come together. It is also worth noting that these standards lack end-user customer participation so those interested should think about signing up. In answer to the questions posed in the comments: The leading vendors are active in both standards. Doubt they would invest the time if they weren't planning on supporting them. I suspect that failure to merge them might result in one getting more support...

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