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BA and Beyond 19 Dennis Aarts - Decision management Based on knowledge yet doomed by the lack of it

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Following the publication of DMN (Decision Model and Notation), decision management has become a hot topic in, but not limited to, Belgium. An increasing number of parties claims to provide services related to decision management. They tend to think that decision management is limited to DMN.

However, decision management is simply a new term for business rules management, a research area that became a business discipline during the 90’s, followed by a similar hype. A lack of knowledge about the discipline being practiced, resulted in a large number of failures, strongly reducing the velocity by which the innovative methodology has been adopted by organizations.

During this session we want to give you a short introduction to decision management; what does it encompass and which benefits can be achieved by organizations. Yet, we also want to show you some of the lurking traps, should decision management be applied incorrectly.

- Decision management encompasses more than DMN alone.
- Don’t be fooled by the simple look of business rules.
- If applied correctly, decision management can be advantageous.

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BA and Beyond 19 Dennis Aarts - Decision management Based on knowledge yet doomed by the lack of it

  1. 1. 01 INTRODUCTION EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT DECISION MANAGEMENT, SO WHAT IS IT? PITFALLS DECISION MANAGEMENT
  2. 2. Decision Management 21/03/2019 3The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Origins Traditionally a process is thought of to be solely supported by people and tools. The knowledge that is required for the execution of the process, is considered as being part of the process itself. PEOPLE TOOLS PROCESSES
  3. 3. Decision Management 3The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Origins The separation of knowledge from the processes forms the basis for decision management. The idea is that knowledge guides a process, whereas the process itself only describes the paths that must be followed in the different cases. Traditionally a process is thought of to be solely supported by people and tools. The knowledge that is required for the execution of the process, is considered as being part of the process itself. PEOPLE TOOLS PROCESSES KNOWLEDGE 21/03/2019
  4. 4. Decision Management 4 What is it? Business rules in natural language Based on predicate logic Multiple representation techniques Structure and traceability Business rules management system Multiple representation techniques ⁀ MANAGEMENTDEFINITION Business-oriented platform Business rules engine High integratability EXECUTION The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls21/03/2019
  5. 5. Decision Management 5 Applications KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT KNOWLEDGE BASE DEFINE THE BUSINESS POLICIES CONTROL THE BUSINESS BI / REPORTING RUN THE BUSINESS IT SYSTEMS COMMUNICATION BUSINESS RULES MANAGEMENT MODEL-DRIVEN ENGINEERING / SOA / AGILE DEVELOPMENT The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls21/03/2019
  6. 6. Decision Management 5 Applications KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT KNOWLEDGE BASE DEFINE THE BUSINESS POLICIES CONTROL THE BUSINESS BI / REPORTING RUN THE BUSINESS IT SYSTEMS COMMUNICATION BUSINESS RULES MANAGEMENT BUSINESS RULES MANAGEMENT SYSTEM MODEL-DRIVEN ENGINEERING / SOA / AGILE DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS IT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls21/03/2019
  7. 7. Decision Management 5 Applications KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT KNOWLEDGE BASE DEFINE THE BUSINESS POLICIES CONTROL THE BUSINESS BI / REPORTING RUN THE BUSINESS IT SYSTEMS COMMUNICATION BUSINESS RULES MANAGEMENT BUSINESS RULES MANAGEMENT SYSTEM LOGGING MODEL-DRIVEN ENGINEERING / SOA / AGILE DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS IT SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS RULES ENGINE (BRE) The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls21/03/2019
  8. 8. Applications 6 Knowledge base The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Legislation made accessible Traceability of the source Publicly available HET FACILITAIR BEDRIJF A digital manual on public procure- ment aimed at both the awarding organizations and the tenderers. 21/03/2019
  9. 9. Applications 7 IT system development The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Rules in natural language Complete and consistent Easy to exchange RIZIV The digitalization of disability appli- cations to allow for an automatic validation and awarding. 21/03/2019
  10. 10. Applications 8 Business rules engine The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls No black box for the business Reuse of rules amongst sets Modifiable by the business INFORMATIE VLAANDEREN Offer a platform as a service that provides both data enrichment and a rule engine to other entities. 21/03/2019
  11. 11. 02 PITFALLS DECISION MANAGEMENT SEEMS EASY, BUT A LOT OF MISTAKES ARE MADE PITFALLS DECISION MANAGEMENT
  12. 12. Definition of business rules 10 Selection of projects The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Also for non-IT projects As intermediate solution Adapters should stay objective Although the application of decision management is preferable in a lot of situations, the efforts (time and money) should only be invested if it actually provides an added value. 21/03/2019
  13. 13. Definition of business rules 11 Representation techniques The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Increase readability Techniques can be combined Not always supported by BREs Different representation techniques exist for the definition of business rules. Each technique has its own goals. Therefor the right technique must be selected for each use case. 21/03/2019
  14. 14. Definition of business rules 12 Completeness and consistency The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Prevent gaps / contradictions Both for rules and rule sets Doesn’t assure correctness Each representation technique has methods to ensure completeness and consistency by design. If those methods are not applied (correctly), these properties aren’t guaranteed. 21/03/2019
  15. 15. Management of business rules 13 No interpretation The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Use authentic sources Question everything Prepare validation sessions Usually, the person who defines the rules (especially for the initial rule set) is not eligible to make any inter- pretations. A close interaction with the decision makers is required. 21/03/2019
  16. 16. Management of business rules 14 Solid architecture The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls First design, than apply Multiple levels to consider Highly dependent on platform The number of rules within a rule set can increase rather quickly, let alone the number across multiple rule sets. An architecture prevents from a so-called big bucket of rules. 21/03/2019
  17. 17. Management of business rules 15 Governance The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Ensure reviews take place Multi-layered governance Highly dependent on platform Both the definition and the mainte- nance of a rule set require a reliable governance. Various responsibilities such as the modification and the publication must be assigned. 21/03/2019
  18. 18. Execution of business rules 16 Suitable product The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Make a list of requirements Think also non-functional Avoid pseudo BREs A wide variety of BREs can be found on the market. They all come with their specific functionalities. For a successful adoption a BRE that fits your organization must be selected. 21/03/2019
  19. 19. Execution of business rules 17 Technical influences The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Code like rule definitions Processes vs declarations Sometimes reinforced by BRE Often a BRE is being employed by the IT department. In most cases this results in technical influences, negatively impacting the benefits of decision management. 21/03/2019
  20. 20. Execution of business rules 18 Input data The Business Analysts | Decision management – Pitfalls Limited compared to needs Pre-processing or rules GUI vs headless The input data that is available can have a big impact on the rule set. Therefore, it is important to have a clear view on this data early on in the definition of the business rules. 21/03/2019

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