How DMN is Different

In a recent article on the LinkedIn Group ‘The Decision Model and Notation (DMN)’, and on his own blog, Bruce Silver elegantly described why DMN is different to (and better than) other means of representing business decision models and asserted that these differences are set to make DMN of crucial importance to businesses that rely on their operational decisions. While I agree with Bruce’s feature list, I have some reservations about some of his observations.

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Who Models Business Decisions?

One of the main motivations that James Taylor and I had for writing our book Real World Decision Modeling with DMN  was sharing our experience of using decision modeling on many large projects and training engagements. One specific question that interested us was: “who uses Decision Modeling?

James recently discussed how Decision Modeling is used. Assuming your organization is persuaded of the benefits of Decision Modeling, which specific project team members are most often tasked with building and maintaining a decision model (using DMN, TDM or any other notation)? We present our project experiences here. Let us know if and how yours are different.

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Why DMN? (In 1000 Words)

At the time of writing there are two major industry standards for modeling business decisionsThe Decision Model (TDM) defined by Sapiens Inc, established in 2009 and documented in The TDM book by Larry Goldberg and Barbara von Halle and The Decision Model and Notation (DMN) an open standard defined by the Object Management Group (OMG) in 2014 and version 1.1 is due to ratified later this year.

In this article we explain why, given the choice, you should model your business decisions using DMN as opposed to any other notation. Decision modelers should understand how TDM and DMN are similar, how they differ and their comparative strengths and weaknesses.

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Invitation: Workshop on Enterprise Decision Modeling in Practice

We cordially invite you to join us in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, for a workshop on how Decision Modeling can optimise your organisation’s management of its most fundamental and valuable asset: the business logic that controls the thousands of automated business decisions it makes every day. We will present case studies, based on real projects, that demonstrate the practical benefits of applying TDM and DMN to the management of business logic at an enterprise scale.

Click here now to find our more details and register for this free workshop in Amersfoort on Wednesday 28th January 2015 from 9am to 4pm. During this workshop you: will learn how The Decision Model (TDM), fortified by elements of the DMN, can be used to structure, manage and optimise your business logic; experience a walk-through of a real decision model and understand the benefits decision management brings at the enterprise scale.

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Invitation: A Hands-On Guide to Mastering your Company’s Business Logic Using the Decision Model

You are invited to a free morning workshop, on February 25th 2015, in London, to experience how The Decision Model (TDM) and the Decision Model and Notation (DMN) can assist your company in managing one of its most fundamental and valuable assets: the business logic that controls the thousands of automated decisions your company makes every week (or even every day).

In this ‘hands-on’, practitioner-led workshop you will learn — by exploring and manipulating real decision models —  how organisations can effectively articulate, communicate, change and control their business logic and the powerful opportunities this provides in eliminating inconsistencies in business policies and quickly changing them to exploit new business opportunities. You will understand how decisions lead to superior integration of business logic with business process. Taken together these allow TDM to deliver business agility and scalable, rigorous, enterprise decision management in a manner business rules alone cannot.

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Invitation: A Practical Guide to Mastering your Organisation’s Business Logic Using the Decision Model

We cordially invite you to join us in London for a workshop on how The Decision Model (TDM) can optimise your organisation’s management of its most fundamental and valuable asset: the business logic that controls the thousands of automated business decisions it makes every day. We will present case studies that demonstrate the practical benefits of applying TDM to the management of business logic at an enterprise scale. Three practitioners will discuss key challenges of applying decision management and TDM and how to overcome them.

Click here now to register for this free workshop in London on Wednesday 9th July 2014 from 9am to 1pm. During this workshop you: will learn how The Decision Model (TDM) can be used to structure, manage and optimise your business logic; see an example decision model and understand the benefits decision management brings above and beyond existing business rules management techniques. You can find out more about the workshop here.

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Why Decision Management? (In 1000 Words)

Do you ever have the feeling that running your business is rather like being on the prow of an ocean liner at full speed in a squall? You may have a feeling of progress, your engine-room may be generating considerable power, but ultimately: your route to the destination is not clearly visible, you cannot discern if the ship is tracking the right course towards that destination and you know that it would be difficult to change course quickly to avoid an obstacle if the need arose. Better, perhaps, to be in the bridge of a fully-equipped motorboat where you have charts that clearly define your destination and your route to it, a GPS which shows you how you are tracking that route and the ability to change course quickly and take advantage of ever changing prevailing circumstances.

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The Role of Decision Management in Financial Compliance

James Taylor, CEO of Decision Management Solutions, and I co-presented a webinar earlier this month to discuss the application of business rules and business decisions in implementing financial compliance solutions.

We agreed that regulatory compliance (e.g., Basel III, FED 5G, FATCA) is a problem well suited to a Business Rules approach. Primarily because:

  • it is repeatable and tractable to automation
  • it demands transparency and traceability (regulations need to be followed and be seen to be followed) which implies the rules need to be expressed in business English
  • regulations change frequently and typically mandate a ‘short time to market’
  • it requires a degree of rigor to cope with the complexity of regulation
  • it stipulates many regional variations in business logic which need to be coordinated

However, we identified five key issues for financial compliance and discussed why business rules alone do not fully address these challenges. In summary, we feel that Business Rules alone does not resolve:

  • how business metrics can be used to monitor the effectiveness of compliance rules
  • ‘big picture’ impact analysis to a compliance rule set when regulations or underlying financial conditions change
  • the need to consistently apply a compliance policy throughout a complex business process
  • the ability to precisely define rule semantics and align them to compliance policies
  • the ability to scale a rule set while maintaining coherence

Decision management can address these issues and the webinar illustrates this with a demo of a compliance decision model using DecisionsFirst Modeler. Please see the recording of the webinar at http://decisionmanagementsolutions.com/agile-and-cost-effective-financial-compliance

If anyone is using decision management (or just business rules) for financial compliance I would be most interested in your views.

 

New Tool Changes the Face of Business Decision Modelling/Management?

The need to cope with ever increasing rates of change in business policies has made agile decision/rule management a vital topic for enterprise architects – particularly where regulators or legal compliance are concerned – we need to involve business SMEs directly in the capture and stewardship of decisions to improve agility and accountability. Regular readers of this blog already know the significant benefits the Decision Model (TDM) offers in this area. But, until now, we’ve been hampered by the absence of cost-effective tools that support TDM and that would encourage mass adoption of the technique.

Our wait appears to be at an end.

The week before last saw the release of another tool to support decision modelling and management: BiZZDesign Decision Modeller. This offering not only boasts cost effective, fully-featured support for The Decision Model framework (including list fact types and messages), but its combination of four other features excites us, as TDM practitioners, rather more than existing TDM tools. In this article we discuss: our experiences of this product, what’s genuinely new about it and how it might change the way enterprises use TDM and existing BRMS/BDMS technologies.

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The Decision Model: Business Rules Grow Up

The world of business rules and business rule management has grown up. Welcome to the world of business decisions—a much more compelling technique with which companies can manage their operational business policies.

Until now business decision analysis and maintenance—the means by which business logic is discovered within current business practices, mined from opaque legacy systems, represented in transparent format and managed as a business asset directly understood by business subject matter experts—has been rather vendor-specific and lacking in rigour and scalability. Many methods are available (e.g., EDM, ABRD and BRS), but all are either lacking in formal structure, subjective and/or poorly supported by tools. Developments of the past few years have changed this.

With the advent of The Decision Model (TDM) and tools (like BiZZDesign, Sapiens DECISION and OpenRules) that support it, an era of new rigour and effectiveness has dawned within enterprise decision management.  TDM, a precise method and framework for expressing business decisions, has addressed many of the flaws of business rules and prompted a slow evolution from business rules to business decisions. We examine these flaws, what TDM can do for you and the promise and power of this approach.

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