Decision CAMP 2013 – CTO Panel

on November 5, 2013
SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Management Platform

Neil Raden is the host for our CTO Panel at Decision CAMP.  His victims are:

  • our own Carlos – Sparkling Logic
  • Jacob Feldman – OpenRules
  • Gil Segal – Sapiens
  • Mark Proctor – Red Hat

The conversation goes fast to Business Rules and Analytics of course.

Carlos says that Analytics market is much bigger than Business Rules.  SAS only is a couple of billion $$.  The difficult part is the operationalization of analytics, and this is the opportunity for Decision Management.  Deployment of models is made easier.  That was a big discovery for the modelers.

Predictive models can provide additional insight that can improve business rules.

The additional element of the convergence is business optimization.

Jacob jokingly accused Neil of claiming that optimization was very complicated, limiting its adoption.  Personally I think optimization, especially constraints, are fantastic technology, but I have always been wary of the sensitivity of the modeling approach.

Taking a step back, and looking at business user empowerment.  Gil is arguing that business users can be empowered by following a strict and rigorous approach.

TDM is the model – The Decision Model

DMN is a notation – Decision Model Notation

Carlos claims that a single representation cannot satisfy business users for the entire decision lifecycle…  Because exceptions happen over time breaking the selected rule metaphor.  Or because users need a different view for different activities (capture, approval, etc.).  Like developers need different tools, business users need different representations for their decision logic.

Neil tells the story of Gorilla in the Mist, which ended up being a success because they let gorillas write the script.  How do we let business users write the script?

Carlos: business users need collaboration and social features to interact and capture comments

Interesting comment from Neil on collaboration being divide-and-conquer in the way Gil presents it.  Well, sometimes it is.

Why is the business rules market so small?

We need to do better on the user empowerment side.

Jacob disagrees.  It is not small; it is huge.  The biggest obstacle is knowledge.

Carlos says that it is small because it is fragmented.  BRMS are only one way to implement business rules.  They exist in other form in existing systems.  Carlos is hopeful because data is getting much more easily available, creating opportunity for decisions to be automated.

Data is central.  Inducing business rules from data is obviously something we believe in at Sparkling Logic…  Attend our BluePen workshop at lunchtime if you would like to learn more about it or PayPal’s talk on Wednesday.  Jacob invested in rule induction as well.  One good point that Carlos makes is that induced rules are actually understandable by domain experts.  This is very important for regulated industries where decisions are subject to legal compliance.

Mark is not as convinced that automatic rule generation is a good thing…

Why don’t we have more business rules libraries?

Carlos: because we do not have standard data models

Thoughts about Watson…

Machine learning is fascinating.  Carlos highlights that the most fascinating aspect is the ability to forget…  Data is not stationary, so being able to learn and forget is key to adaptive behavior.

What percentage of rules is reusable?

Rules engines are really good at fitting in, inherently.  Business rules captured in a BRMS are protected and reusable.  The key thing though is that they rely on a given object model.  As long as the underlying model is fairly consistent, you are fine.  Replatforming when the data model changes is another story.

Sparkling energy in this CTO Panel!  Great job, guys!

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Sparkling Logic Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based company dedicated to helping organizations automate and optimize key decisions in daily business operations and customer interactions in a low-code, no-code environment. Our core product, SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Manager, is an all-in-one decision management platform designed for business analysts to quickly automate and continuously optimize complex operational decisions. Learn more by requesting a live demo or free trial today.