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William McKnight

Hello and welcome to my blog!

I will periodically be sharing my thoughts and observations on information management here in the blog. I am passionate about the effective creation, management and distribution of information for the benefit of company goals, and I'm thrilled to be a part of my clients' growth plans and connect what the industry provides to those goals. I have played many roles, but the perspective I come from is benefit to the end client. I hope the entries can be of some modest benefit to that goal. Please share your thoughts and input to the topics.

About the author >

William is the president of McKnight Consulting Group, a firm focused on delivering business value and solving business challenges utilizing proven, streamlined approaches in data warehousing, master data management and business intelligence, all with a focus on data quality and scalable architectures. William functions as strategist, information architect and program manager for complex, high-volume, full life-cycle implementations worldwide. William is a Southwest Entrepreneur of the Year finalist, a frequent best-practices judge, has authored hundreds of articles and white papers, and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His team's implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won Best Practices awards. He is a former IT Vice President of a Fortune company, a former software engineer, and holds an MBA. William is author of the book 90 Days to Success in Consulting. Contact William at wmcknight@mcknightcg.com.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in William's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

I was at the Business Rules Forum in Orlando yesterday to present and take in a few seminars otherwise. I'll report on a few here. First, I'll report on "Beyond Subject Matter Expertise" by Steve Demuth at ILOG.

What does business DNA look like? Process is heart and soul of how things get done. Then, decisions go into those processes. Similar to how we've evolved, you can change DNA without becoming a new business.

Process describes the how of the core activities of the enterprise. A decision determines the what of enterprise activity and it's typically automatable or human, but not a mixture.

Automated decisions are ubiquitous (i.e., commissions, cross-selling, fraud.) The talk then focused on how to automate a decision intelligently. Sometimes, it's a decision table, sometimes a rule flow (flowchart.) How to turn analysis into rules: model the landscape, understand the business goal, and formulate and formalize the solution. The last step is where your business rule management system (BRMS like ILOG, Fair Isaac) comes in. A value-added step at that point is to add simulation on historical data, perhaps in your data warehouse. Then, analyze the simulated outcome.

Then, Steve talked about numerically characterizing history to evaluate those outcomes and predict the best solution to take. It's about predictability and likelihood. For example, in a group of transactions, how many will be fraudulent or how many will take-up the cross-sell offer?

Then, Steve talked about planning and scheduling with BRMS and how it can create a (for example) optimized nurse schedule for a hospital and deal with the inevitable last-minute decisions that must occur based on last-minute no-shows. This is an example of creating the adaptive enterprise - one that adapts to business changes. However, to get there, we need to break down the hedgerows between business departments, specifically IT and business groups.

Finally, 80% of a business' problems are about being better at what you do. Business rules can help. 20% of the problems are about being something different than what you are. Both this "adaptation" and "creation" (potentially "destruction") are necessary.

Technorati tags: Business rules, Business Rules Forum

Posted October 29, 2008 8:28 AM
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