You’re Only As Good As Your Last Decision
Brett Stineman 270002944C firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  business-intelligence decision-management decision-automation offer business-rules
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I know I’m not alone here. I subscribed to a well-known business periodical – receiving a great rate for the online and print versions – but after a couple of years I let the subscription lapse. Since then, for the past 18 months, they have been trying to entice me to become a subscriber again using direct-mail marketing. Every 6-8 weeks a letter arrives with a “preferred” rate; each time the offer is exactly the same, so every 6-8 weeks I prefer to toss it in the recycling bin.
After the fourth or fifth time of receiving one of these mailers, I started to ask myself:
As with most direct mail marketing, I’m sure that these solicitations are being handled by an automated system, of which I am just one entry in some massive database. So, there’s probably no one looking at the history of what’s been sent to me in order to override the autopilot; and the system isn’t sufficiently flexible or adaptive to offer me a more enticing offer or remove me from the mailing list.
Again, I ask myself: Why hasn’t this system been able to infer that I’m highly unlikely to re-subscribe, and therefore change its actions? Why doesn’t it know what’s good for the business it supports?
There is a saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I’m not sure if this is a case of insanity or ignorance, but from a business perspective it just doesn’t make sense to just keep operating based on static inertia. The systems that organizations rely on need to be able to handle variability (from one customer, transaction or process to the next) and be able to act upon the differences of individual situations and interactions.
The reason for this blog is to look at how organizations can bring intelligence and responsiveness to operational business systems, in order to have more personalized interactions and improved outcomes. This will be a group effort, providing different perspectives and insights, but each participant will be focused on the concept of Decision Management, an approach combining software and expertise to automate and improve decision-making. We will look at both fully automated decisions (for example, through an online site, a self-service point-of-sale system or other back-office systems such as the one I described) and decision guidance to personnel (for example, call center or branch/store employees), as well as the implementation and maintenance of automated decisions. If you’d like to read about a slightly smarter system, check out this example.