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How to use EDM to develop a competency in responding to change

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A post by Randy Littleson on the Kinaxis blog today got me thinking about responding to change. The post discussed how a failure to develop a competency in responding to change leaves you scrambling. One of the key areas EDM is designed to impact is agility – the ability of an organization to sense, analyze and respond effectively to change (discussed before, see this post). Randy makes some good points and then says:

Many companies have invested a lot of money in automating the lowest levels of decision making

Part of the problem is that the way companies have automated low-level decision making is inflexible. Decisions are lumped in with the rest of the process or system and coded the same old way. This makes it difficult to identify and find the decisions when they need to change, hard for the business to participate in changing those decisions and impossible to simulate or analyze the impact of changing those decisions on anything else. Adopting an enterprise decision management approach means focusing on these decisions as separate opportunities, automating them as unique services or components and constantly improving them. It also means implementing them, typically using business rules, in a way that is both easy to change and, more particularly, easy for the business to change.
If the operational decisions are explicit, well understood and automated in a flexible way I believe companies can avoid the situation where managers are (in Randy’s words):

required to make rapid decisions with significant impact but are left to scramble to try to determine the right course corrections to make to respond quickly and effectively.

Clearly not every kind of change can be handled using EDM. However, almost any change that impacts your operations will require you to change the way you make operational decisions – the micro decisions (wiki) that support your systems and business processes. While you still need organizational skills and flexible analysis tools to understand macro impacts, all of this will do you no good unless you can also change the operational decisions readily and accurately. I’ll end with another good thought from Randy:

Companies are conditioned to focus on improving their planning capabilities. That’s a worthy investment, but increasingly it’s how you deal with the fact that things don’t go according to plan that dictate how you do in the market

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