Why Write 250 Pages on this Topic?
cheryl wilson 270003VHSH firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  decision-automation predictive-analytics decision-management decision-support business-rules
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James Taylor, a leading expert in Decision Management, just released his new book: Decision Management Systems: A Practical Guide to Using Business Rules and Predictive Analytics. I had the opportunity to interview James about the book in between speaking and consulting engagements.
JT: Sure, the idea behind Decision Management Systems is that they work actively to help you maximize growth and profits. Most operational systems are largely passive – they assume that a human will be along to tell them what to do next. A tremendous opportunity exists for those organizations that can build systems that are active participants in optimizing their business -- systems that can act intelligently on their own.
The compelling thing about Decision Management Systems is that they can learn from the data they store, not just report on it. They can empower users to take action instead of simply escalating their problems to someone else and they can evolve without massive IT investments. Decision Management Systems use business rules, predictive analytics and optimization technology to create systems that are more agile, more analytic and more adaptive. Whether it’s through improving customer service, reducing fraud, managing risk, increasing agility or driving growth, these systems can drive unprecedented levels of business value. And the book provides concrete examples of this value in addition to providing useful guidance for applying these technologies to improve business outcomes.
CW: Why this book now?
JT: It’s been four years since Neil Raden and I wrote Smart (Enough) Systems. In those four years the technology has continued to evolve. Predictive analytics has gone mainstream. Organizations have realized that they must become more real-time and responsive. And the changes in the world economy have driven home how vulnerable we can be if we can’t change and adapt. Essentially, the need for Decision Management Systems has never been greater and the technology is ready. Plus I’ve been able to refine the approach with clients to the point where I was ready to write what I hope is a very practical guide to building these kinds of systems.
CW: Who's the book for? And what will they get out of it?
JT: It’s written for anyone who cares about the systems that power their business. Whether they’re IT people whose day to day role is to make sure that a particular business area operates efficiently and effectively or business people who understand that IT is critical to their business success. It’s not a super-technical book in that it doesn’t require deep technical know-how, but it’s not a lightweight, high-level read either.
I hope it will inspire everyone who reads it by helping them to realize what their systems COULD do – to see what’s possible; to understand that their information systems could be a partner in business and not just something to complain about or be frustrated by.
CW: You call this a "practical guide." Can you talk a little more about that?
JT: The book isn’t a detailed step by step guide – it would have to be much longer to do that – but it’s designed to be pragmatic. I don’t talk about all the things you can do with these technologies, all the ways they could change your business. Instead I wrote the book the way I try to talk with customers – providing direct, useful guidance that can be applied, using the expertise and technology available, to business results.
The core of the book is an outline of the three steps you need to follow to build Decision Management Systems: 1) discover the decisions that matter to your business; 2) build decision-making components; and 3) continuously improve them over time. The core techniques and tasks in each step are described so you can see how to get from where you are to Decision Management Systems.
CW: What would you say are the top takeaways for someone who has no time to read it?
JT: I think the four principles are the most important thing to take away. You need to build systems that are:
CW: For someone who only has fifteen minutes, what pages would you recommend he or she read?
JT: If you believe this kind of system works, read the chapter on the principles and skim the three chapters on discovering, building and improving Decision Management Systems. If you aren’t convinced, read the chapters that talk about the cases and how they changed the organizations that built them and then wrap up with the principles.
CW: Thanks, James. And for our visitors who want to order the book, the book is available on amazon.com and on InformIT, Pearson’s site. You can also save 35% if you buy from www.ibmpressbooks.com. Enter TAYLOR4389. Or you can download a preview chapter now.
About James Taylor: James Taylor is the CEO of Decision Management Solutions, and is the leading expert in how to use business rules and analytic technology to build Decision Management Systems. James is passionate about using Decision Management Systems to help companies improve decision making and develop an agile, adaptive, and analytic business. He has over 20 years working with clients in all sectors to identify their highest-value opportunities for advanced analytics, enabling them to reduce fraud, continually manage and assess risk and maximize customer value with increased flexibility and speed. You can learn more about James Taylor and Decision Management by visiting his dedicated blog: www.jtonedm.com.