Rules Fest Live: James Taylor / Decision Services need more than rules

on October 12, 2010
SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Management Platform

Like Carlos, I will disclose our relationship with James Taylor.  We worked together at FICO where he was in charge of the Marketing for the products Carlos and I were responsible for, Vision/Roadmap and Development/Architecture respectively.  I agree with Carlos, a clustered world of ex-FICO!

James killed the projector and did a “talk only” presentation.  His talk covers 5 points:

  • Decisions matter more than rules do: Decision Management is more than a technology, it is a discipline.  Let me rephrase that point.  I personally believe that the value is in the QUALITY of the decision that you make and not the mere fact that rules are automated.  Like I commented in the panel yesterday, the emphasis must shift from Automation to Improvement.  When we focus on decisions rather than implementation of business rules, we make progress in that direction.
  • Execution is less important than management: During my tenure, close to 100% of the customer that selected Blaze Advisor were interested in the Business User interface.  This was the #1 reason they decided to use BRMS technology and more specifically Blaze Advisor.  The point that execution performance is not that important after all is something we drilled into in this post about Inference.  Algorithm is what IT often focuses too much on.  My personal opinion of course.  This is why we trust brilliant people like Charles Forgy to take care of these concerns.  That being said, we, as an Industry, need to improve our Business User Interfaces.
  • Your data knows where (some of) your rules are: Data can be mined to build some rules in your projects.  Tune into Carlos’s presentation tomorrow about Big Data to learn more about that.  Carlos loves to say “an ounce of knowledge is worth a ton of data” but in that instance he will argument that data is actually invaluable in COMPLEMENT to expert judgment.  I do agree that the synergy of Analytics and Business Rules is extremely powerful.
  • Data depth can improve its width: If Analytics are not yet your thing, you can catch up here.  The point James is making here is that Analytics can be leveraged in decision services.  The way we phrased it before was more around increased precision by using analytics in rule premises.  The additional benefit of using predictive analytics in decision services is that they can suddenly be leveraged in what we call a “universal decision engine”.  Analytics can be available to more systems.
  • You can’t use the same rules on every transaction: This flies in the face of the consistency angle we have been preaching in the Business Rules world but I think that what James really means here is that “you can (space) not use the same rules on every transaction”.  Subtle?  This is the champion / challenger idea that you have the opportunity to apply different rulesets for a single decision service.  statistically sound segmentation allows you to monitor simultaneously the business performance of each ruleset during a given time period.  Google has democratized this concept for web sites with its Google Optimizer free service.  The same concept applies to decisions in the champion / challenger paradigm, also known as experimental design.

Learn more about Decision Management and Sparkling Logic’s SMARTS™ Data-Powered Decision Manager

Search Posts by Category


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.