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Enterprise Decision Management and Operational BI

Enterprise Decision Management, EDM, is an approach that automates and improves operational decisions and, as such, is an ideal way to implement operational BI. A recent TDWI report reinforced this point of view.

Wayne Eckerson recent report for TDWI called "Best Practices in Operational BI: Converging Analytical and Operational Processes" (download from TDWI here - free registration required) was very interesting and the summary goes like this (emphasis mine)

"Operational business intelligence (BI) represents a turning point in the evolution of BI. Traditionally, BI has been the province of technically savvy business analysts who spend many hours with sophisticated tools analyzing trends and patterns in large volumes of historical data to improve the effectiveness of strategic and tactical decisions. But . This report describes the promise of operational BI and provides suggestions about how to surmount the challenges involved in converging operational and analytical processes."

This is a great summary of the difference between what you might call "traditional" BI and enterprise decision management or EDM. Where BI is somewhat separate, reporting on the business, EDM is woven into the fabric of your business. As Wayne goes on to say

"Using predictive analytics and rules engines embedded within a real-time data delivery environment, companies can streamline processes and automate responses to various types of business events."

Wayne has a nice model of maturity with multiple levels and, in the section on level 4 (Execute Processes), he says that this is "perhaps the most exciting  stage of operational BI". This is the top level of his framework (which is a nice way to view growing sophistication in BI) and he talks about such a platform needing business rules and scoring code (I would say deployed predictive analytics, perhaps using PMML) and being action oriented. While he has a slight focus on event-centric decisions at the expense of process-centric ones - me I think there is a need for both - he uses decision services very much the way I would. Perhaps because of this event-focus he does not include the business rules management system vendors as platforms for operational BI but obviously I would - I wrote an article on rules as a platform for operational BI here.

Wayne ends by giving some great advice on the kinds of processes/decisions that lend themselves to decision management (I call these micro decisions) and makes a strong recommendation not to maintain a rigid boundary between analytic and operational processes. If you enjoy the report, check out these posts on a webinar he gave on Decision Automation from TDWI and this post about a previous report From BI to Predictive Reporting to Predictive Analytics.


Author, with Neil Raden, of Smart (Enough) Systems.

Reproduced from The EDM Blog.

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