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Enterprise decision management and delivering agility

Mike Kavis had a post today "Built to change, Architected to last" in which he discussed a nice new concept from the folks over at BEA - Dynamic Business Applications. These, he says, have four characteristics:

  • Built to change (flexible)
  • Embody business processes
  • Adaptive
  • Agile

Business processes require business decisions so making this work is going to require services that embody business decisions - decision services. These services are also, in my experience, one of the most often changed components so thinking about them helps you get set for "change time" and using business rules to write maintainable code ensures that these services deliver on your need for agility not just in terms of being easy to assemble but easy to change also. Mike also talks about the need to "move away from creating reports and move to creating information". I would go further and say you need to change your thinking about BI and think about enabling your systems to make decisions, not just delivering data or even information to people.

While on this thread of agility I also recommend Michael Hugos who published "The three laws of agility" recently. Michael's laws are:

  • Agility is now a must have
  • Agility requires simple solutions
  • Agility requires an understanding of the law of diminishing returns

The compelling need for agility is something Neil and I discussed in Smart (Enough) Systems. In fact the chapter on why you need Smart (Enough) Systems was recently excerpted in the Business Rules Journal, in three parts - The Need for Smart Enough Systems Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. You can make systems simpler by externalizing the necessary complexity in decision services and if the law of diminishing returns drives you to standard processes, then your unique data and unique decisions help you resist the commoditization of process.

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