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Decision Management at the Heart of Future Enterprise Applications, so Says Forrester Research

(Posted by guest Blogger, Gib Bassett)

Respected technology prognosticators John Rymer and Connie Moore of Forrester Research just published a new paper titled, “The Dynamic Business Applications Imperative” (September 24, 2007, For CIOs).  Rymer and Moore envision a new generation of enterprise application that some IT organizations today are cobbling together in order to meet ever changing business, technical and marketplace requirements.  The paper is peppered with examples of what they term “Dynamic Business Applications” in use at many household name companies.  At the heart of their idea is integration of the “B3 categories” of software – Business Intelligence (BI), Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Rules – that together with Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) will lead to a more agile platform for the mass market composite applications of the future.

There are far too many interesting points to write about here, but some of those I found particularly applicable to Enterprise Decision Management (EDM) were:

  • Dynamic Business Applications will always be composite, never monolithic as are often seen today.  Decision Services blending rules with analytics meet 2/3 of the required functionality of a Dynamic Business Application, as described in the report.
  • The report cites a September 2006 survey of business and IT decision-makers, in which the top two business problems facing enterprise application implementations were “inflexibility limits process changes” and “lack of visibility into process results.”  These two concerns mirror recent reports of convergence among the “B3” technologies cited in the report, and reflect the move toward “operational BI” or “operational analytics” by many traditional BI vendors.
  • CIOs need a strategy to guide both custom application development and packaged application purchasing that considers Dynamic Business Application requirements.  This suggests vendors who can provide applications as well as the tools on which the applications were built stand to benefit most.
  • The report concludes with recommendations, including ways of identifying processes in an organization that must be Dynamic Business Applications.  Decision Yield is an approach that isolates the highest value processes that can benefit most from decision management.  Considering the complexity wrought by rapidly changing applications, it’s not surprising the authors also endorse a strong change management regime to anticipate the governance issues that will arise – again, core concepts in EDM, resolved via an enterprise-wide approach to managing the rules and analytics underpinning operational systems and applications.

I recently blogged about the convergence Rymer and Moore describe, having read it implied and mentioned specifically in several other sources, yet this is one of the most complete and well thought out arguments yet on the probable future of enterprise applications.

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Comments

Dave Dixon

I agree with this in principle, but am curious as to why in practice analytics and business rules are separated. Presumably the analytics somehow inform you as to what the business rules should be. If that's the case, why not just cut out the middle-man and have the analytics provide the decisions directly based on the current information? Is it just technical limitations?

More detailed thoughts along these lines in this blog post: http://blog.provisdom.com/?p=7

I'd be interested in any feedback.

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