Analytics & Optimization Working on the railroad – an InfoWorld horror story

Sep152005

InfoWorld has a great anonymous column "Off the record" and one entry, Working on the railroad caught my attention. Now this kind of story is sadly all too common, both in enormously complex "customization" projects for packaged or acquired software and in "build to suit" software. Massive overruns, hard to make it meet requirements, poorly defined requirements, massive enhancement projects after the implementation is "done" and, probably, an ongoing maintenance nightmare. Now I am not going to propose for a second that any technology choice could solve the myriad problems that show up in this story and hundreds like it. However I would like to address how business rules might have helped. If I acquired an application, packaged or from another company, that had been architected with a business rules management system at its heart, how might my experience be different? Well key decisions would be configurable by me so I could change the way the software behaved to better serve my needs. The rules being implemented would...

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Analytics & Optimization Customer Intent Driven Organizations

Sep152005

In an interesting Gartner report, The Next Phase of CRM Is a Customer-Intent-Driven Organization, Michael Maoz about moving CRM to an intent-driven organization. He talks about matching the intent of a customer to the intent of the enterprise. Reading through this, something you will need to be a Gartner subscriber to do, it seemed to me that several things are essential if one is to match the intent of one's customers to one's own intent in a profitable way. Customer-centric information Predictions of likely intent or response based on accurate predictive models Automation to make customer interactions easier, more seamless and more focused on what the customer wants, when the customer wants it A flexible engine for letting an organization to express its intent and have these expressions be managed by the business and deployed to all channels Deep personalization that applies rules to everything known about a customer to deliver targeted interactions that repay the customer's investment in giving information. In otherwords, CRM + EDM can lead to an...

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Analytics & Optimization PDC goes with the flow | InfoWorld | News | 2005-09-14 | By Eric Knorr

Sep152005

In PDC goes with the flow | InfoWorld | News | 2005-09-14 | By Eric Knorr there is an interesting definition of the difference between desktop apps and enterprise apps - workflow and business rules. Although at first sight it looks like Microsoft is announcing a new product to support both workflow and business rules, careful reading makes it clear that they are talking about the use of business rules IN workflow. Those of us who have been working with BPM and Workflow partners for a while realize that there is another class of business rules - those to do with business decision-making. Although it can make perfect sense to embed the rules for a process into a workflow tool like WWF and rules specific to a desktop application in that application's VBA, it does not make sense to embed decisioning rules into these applications. Decisions are, or at least should be, a corporate asset. They should be consistent across channels and processes and should reflect accurately regulations, policies etc. In addition many organizations have thousands of such rules and have to...

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Analytics & Optimization Real-time risk management

Sep152005

The price of fraud by Steven Minsky is a great overview of risk management, especially in how BI can be used as part of an enterprise risk management approach. It is also possible, however, to instantly detect suspicious activity in transactions and thus manage risk in real-time. Taking an enterprise decision management approach by combining predictive analytics, especially neural network models that recognize complex hidden patterns of fraud, and business rules both to capture emerging schemes with no history works well. In addition this approach can minimize unnecessary referrals and interference with legitimate transactions. One example of this is Falcon One(tm), Fair Isaac's software system for combating existing and emerging types of fraud across the customer lifecycle and at every customer touchpoint.   The Falcon One technology consists of a configurable set of detection, case management, and analytic capabilities to address any fraud type. This unified infrastructure enables multiple fraud solutions to work together consistently, sharing data and...

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Analytics & Optimization State of Ajax: Progress, Challenges, and Implications for SOAs

Sep132005

In State of Ajax: Progress, Challenges, and Implications for SOAs Dion Hinchcliffe discusses some of the benefits of the Ajax approach."Practitioners of Ajax get high-intensity user interaction (end-user productivity), asynchronicity (efficient backround processing), web browser access to web services (web service access, reuse, and interoperability, as well as SOA integration), platform neutrality (browser and operating system agnosticity), and the Ajax feature set can be delivered as a framework you don't have to create yourself (developer productivity)"The one thing I would say this is missing is the ability to easily manage the business rules inherent in the user interface. For instance, if I want to ask a policy holder if they have hurricane shutters but only do so in certain states I could use an Ajax approach and code that in the user interface. But, how can my underwriters add new states to this list and how can I reuse this rule when checking the completeness of an XML feed from an agent, for instance? One way is to use a business rules...

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Analytics & Optimization How do business analysts maintain business rules?

Sep132005

The business analyst is responsible for defining the business processes which will be supported and then gathering and organizing the business rules that will provide the foundation for the application planning process. This list of rules will typically be in the form of structured natural-language statements that clearly, completely, and concisely express the rules, facts, policies, and procedures that will be implemented.  Once these statements are clearly listed, the business analyst will work with the developers/architect to identify the objects (business data) which will be referenced by the rules. After the object model and the control flow for the rule project have been set up, the business analyst will write or modify rules using some kind of Rule Maintenance Application. This rule maintenance application should be: Built in a zero-training user interface like a webpage Restricted to terminology familiar to the business analysts Controlled so the business analyst cannot break anything Unique for each distinct group of analyst/business users with...

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