Don't believe the hype about hybrids (at least when it comes to decision and process management)
Brett Stineman 270002944C firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  swiss-customs equifax process-management business-rules james-taylor decision-management bpm
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This week I attended the Building Business Capability conference, an event focused on business architecture and technologies used to implement business solutions. During a panel session of business rules software vendors, several of the panelists stated the importance of have a single solution for managing process and rules. I was surprised that this statement was not challenged, because while BPM and Decision Management software can clearly complement each other, there are compelling reasons for using an approach that handles decisions as separate enterprise assets from processes. Several interactions I've had recently with clients provide excellent examples of why this approach makes sense.
The first example is from an interview session with a customer. This client, the Swiss Federal Customs Administration, is the government agency in Switzerland that controls all goods imported and exported out of the country. As with any customs agency, the ability to efficiently and effectively review the declarations of goods is a crucial function. Sounds like a perfect BPM candidate, because after all customs clearance is a process, but in this case the area that they were focused on was the ability to automate the validation of approximately 200,000 electronic declarations per day. The validation of declaration submissions involves over 200 data elements that are evaluated against approximately 500 rules. The Swiss Customs Administration needed a solution that could: 1) maximize straight-through processing of these declarations; 2) scale to meet the constant high volume of decision execution required; and 3) be able to rapidly adapt the rules to handle new regulations and classifications of goods. These three requirements are highly suited to a business rules management system -- after evaluating their requirements, they determined the need for a dedicated business rules solution, not a hybrid process-rules technology.
Another example is at Equifax. At the Building Business Capability conference, Equifax presented on their Interconnect decisioning platform. Interconnect allows companies to leverage Equifax's information on consumers to improve decisions related to customer acquisition, such as credit risk, cross-selling and fraud mitigation. Interconnect uses a combination of Decision Management technologies, including business rules and analytics, and it is designed to be a transactional system which is independent from any process orchestration technology. This provides a high degree of flexibility for the companies that use Interconnect, since they can their own systems to handle the end-to-end acquisition process and leverage Equifax at the appropriate points for automating critical acquisition decisions.
James Taylor (Decision Management Solutions) does an excellent job in explaining the benefits of separating decisions and processes in "Becoming a Decision-centric Organization". Also, for more information on the Swiss Customs Administration and other customer examples, visit our new 9 day-to-day decisions you can make better web page.