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Decision Management Flavors

(Posted by guest blogger, James Taylor)

One of the challenges in defining a market space is what to call it. While this may seem like a trivial matter, it affects how people talk about the market and is crucial in giving everyone an agreed shorthand. Years ago some colleagues and I came up with Enterprise Decision Management. The three words were picked very specifically:

  • Decision - because decisions are the key. Not data, not rules, not models but decisions
  • Management - because a one time improvement is not what creates success - ongoing management and improvement is key.
  • Enterprise - because decisions should be taken in a way that reflects the enterprise's philosophy and approach (after all customers and others react to decisions as though they were enterprise decisions so perhaps you should manage them that way).

People get the "E" word wrong repeatedly - thinking it means that a decision must be deployed across the whole enterprise to be useful or that decisions must be connected and shared. While this kind of enterprise-wide approach has value, it is not essential for successful EDM. The E is about ownership and mindset, not scope of deployment. The D and M, however, are rarely confused by people and this has lead to many other phrases:

  • Business Decision Management
  • Customer Decision Management
  • Integrated Decision Management
  • Enhanced Decision Management
  • Intelligent Decision Management

And, of course, plain old Decision Management. All of these boil down to the same thing and, in fact, you could use all the names together and talk about "Enterprise ownership of enhanced, intelligent management of integrated customer business decisions" but that would get a bit long.

  • EDM implies business decisions
  • EDM is typically about customer treatment decisions
  • EDM uses integrated data, often about customers, to make decisions
  • EDM continually enhances decisions
  • EDM delivers "intelligent" or "smart enough" decisions
  • EDM is about decision management

It does not matter which flavor you like. It does not matter if you call it Precision Marketing or Marketing Decision Management or Fraud Decision Management or anything else. What matters is that you see the value in automating and improving high-volume decisions using business rules, predictive analytics, adaptive control and optimization.

Those of you who subscribe to the BPM Strategies magazine might enjoy this Q&A on decision management with yours truly and here are some posts where I have discussed this kind of thing before:


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Jim Sinur

I think there are a couple of issues that are keeping the EDM market from being named and blessed. First is that the analysts firms, by nature, are more technology focused. Most of them sell to IT who think BI is enough. The second is that the business folks are so busy making these decisions, that they do not have time to analyze the decision management process, much less come up with a name.

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