Analytics & Optimization Outsourcing and business rules – perfect together


CIO Magazine today started a series of articles on outsourcing, including this one on Simple Successful Outsourcing. This article covers the kind of outsourcing that most often works - transactional relationships - with over 90% in the study quoted saying they were happy. The subhead speaks for itself:CIOs who outsource discrete processes that have well-defined business rules are almost always happy with the outcomeWell this is all lovely, but what about a process you want to outsource because you think it has well-defined business rules but it turns out your business rules are different from anyone else's? Are you out of luck or could you still build a transactional relationship while getting the flexibility to control your business rules? Well not necessarily. If your business process outsourcer can use a business rules approach to automate the key decision points in the process and give you control of those decision points, you can "customize" the process without changing the basic repeatability so key for cost effectiveness on your outsourcers part....

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Analytics & Optimization What is the difference between data mining and predictive analytics?


In a recent blog entry, Ted Kemp highlights an article on the basics of data mining. One question I get often is what is the difference between data mining and predictive analytics? Are they different or are they somewhere along a continuum? The article he mentions has an interesting quote:At one end of the spectrum, a customer-profiling data mining model that runs once a quarter may only involve the data miner and ETL developer. At the other end of the spectrum, making online recommendations will require applications developers and production systems folks to be involved, which is usually a big deal.So Warren Thornthwaite clearly takes the view that there's a spectrum because what he calls "a big deal" here is what I would call predictive analytics (likelihood of offer acceptance) embedded in a decision service (recommendation engine) that includes both the analytics and business rules about how and when to apply it. Thus rules and analytics or EDM. However there is some danger in this "spectrum" approach. Warren goes on to say:It's best to...

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Analytics & Optimization Calculating the potential ROI of business rules


David Linthicum wrote a great article in ebizQ earlier this year - The ROI of Your SOA. In it he gives a mechanism for assessing the value of agility:Agility is a strategic advantage that is difficult to measure in hard dollars, but not impossible. We first need to determine a few things about the business, including:The degree of change over time. The ability to adapt to change. Relative value of change. The degree of change over time is really the number of times over a particular period that the business reinvents itself to adapt to a market. Thus, why a paper production company may only have a degree of change of 5 percent over a 5 year period, a high technology company may have an 80 percent change over the same period. The ability to adapt to change is a number that states the company’s ability to react to the need for change over time. The notion being that the use of an SOA provides a better ability to change IT to adjust to needed changes in the business. Finally, the relative value of change is the amount of money made as a direct result of...

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Analytics & Optimization Enterprise Decision Management and Alerts


Larry Goldman makes some interesting points in his article on alerts - Red Alert! All Hands Battle Stations! - and it made me think about alerts in an EDM context. In the article Larry asks thisOrganizations should ask themselves the following questions to see if alerts can benefit them:What would I do if I knew a customer was trending downward? What would I do if I knew a customer was having a bad service experience? What would I do if a customer starting using our product/service differently?If you can think of innovative strategies for any of these questions, you may be a candidate for trigger and alert technology.If you are taking an EDM approach to decision-making, then you are likely to come across alerting in two areas - the responses to the questions Larry poses when the volume of these alerts is very high or where a real-time, as against quick, response is needed and the actual determination of whether these things are true, or not. Let's take the first situation. If you have these kinds of alerts but have them in large volume, you probably cannot...

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Analytics & Optimization Using EDM to give bank customers what they want


In Banks Get Their Bearings Online Evan Schuman covers some of the positive news on how banks are starting to "get it" online.  Although much of the article covers web design and other related topics, a couple of quotes leapt out at me as pointing up the value of an Enterprise Decision Management approach."Another key report conclusion is that customers are hungrier for related banking services and that they want to be sold to more than banks had assumed"One of the key premises of EDM is that customers don't mind being sold to, provided that the selling obeys the rules (privacy, preferences etc) and that it is relevant (targeted, appropriate, cognizant of what has gone before). EDM gives you the tools to assure this kind of targeting (combining business rules and predictive analytics) so that even automated selling can be done in a way customers like and to which they will respond.Among the verbatim comments bank customers told her team was "This bank knows so much about me that I wish they could tailor their offerings to me,"...

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Analytics & Optimization Get set for change time – use business rules!


Interesting link in the loosely coupled blog on Change Time. Phil Wainewright has some great pithy comments about what happens to deployed services:Services have to operate in the real world, where nothing can be taken for granted and nothing is set in stoneI could not agree more. But what do you do if you have a service that you know is going to change a lot? Are there not better tools for building those kinds of services? I think so -and I think those kinds of services will often be decisioning services.  I think you could use a business rules management system like Blaze Advisor to design these kinds of services and protect yourself from change by empowering the business users to take control of the rules in these services.Conventional software tools do a poor job of catering for the change-time phase of the development lifecycle. This is a problem, considering that change-time represents the entirely of the lifecycle except for that thin sliver of design time before a service is initially deployed.All true. Again, often the highest change components of an...