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Pick your battles and build decision services

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Last week Richard Hackathorn posted Where to Pick Your Battles and referenced an interesting post by Richard Buckle titled, somewhat incongruously, Need a drink! These two posts made me think about the value of picking decision management as your battle when thinking about upgrading your current IT environment to better support your business. Richard H said:

“Doing IT as the same will result in a chaos far beyond the proliferation of user-created spreadsheet systems of the last decade. Using Web 2.0, leave the User Interface layer to the users, because each will want something different and will want it NOW.”
“Choose, instead, battle lines around supplying quality enterprise information through a Service Oriented Architecture organized by key business processes.”

Interesting. In other words, don’t worry about presentation issues, focus instead on adding value with the data you have and delivering it using BPM on top of SOA. Richard B had said something similar:

“emerging three layer model for enterprise computing built on top of three platforms. At the user interface level, there was the Web 2.0 platform. Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and the ability to externalize applications and data as services formed the core of a middle platform. And behind it all was the data itself, with the technology to keep it fresh and accurate, acting as the back-end platform.”

What strikes me as particularly interesting about these comments is that decision services are the ideal complement to this approach.

  • Decision services allow you to customize otherwise standard processes (after all your processes are probably based on best practice templates from someone like IBM anyway) – article 
  • Decision services are often the most important piece of a legacy application to expose as a service – post 
  • Decision services allow you to deliver value from your data in operational systems, even in real-time/high volume/completely automated systems, because they can embed predictive analytics – article 

In fact I might ALMOST say that there is no need to build any other kind of service in this layer apart from decision services…but perhaps that’s going too far.

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