Build Decision Management Systems Around These Four Principles

Though generally it is larger organizations that designate certain tools as Decision Management Systems, in actuality companies of all sizes are working with one or more toolsets that would qualify for that designation. The definition isn't very widely known, and the term is one of those that can be loosely used to cover a lot of ground, but the benefits of such systems are pretty cut and dried: increased competitive position, better risk management, improved customer service and increased ability to take advantage of fleeting opportunities.


In Chapter 4 of his "Decision Management Systems" book, James Taylor describes the principles of decision management systems and describes how to determine whether your system qualifies as one. The entire chapter is available for free download to IT Business Edge users in the IT Downloads library, and is well worth the read.


Decision Management System Process





The four principles that define decision management systems are:


  1. Begin with the decision in mind.
  2. Be transparent and agile.
  3. Be predictive, not reactive.
  4. Test, learn and continually improve.


At first glance, all four seem simple.


Of course you'll start from the necessary decision, and work your way back to develop the system, right?


But as Taylor explains, you have to not only identify repeatable decisions that can be performed automatically, but also decisions that are made repeatedly by the business in support of a defined goal. You may be working with strategic, tactical or operational decisions, or all three, but you have to define them first. And you have to keep in mind that a function or a process is not a decision, and neither is a set of data.


The focus and granularity that distinguishes the decision management system is what creates the opportunities for improvement listed above. For those companies that determine those benefits are worth the effort, Taylor walks us through the process of identifying the decisions within the functions that broader, more traditional information systems address.

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