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A reader asks – what makes a company ready (for EDM)?

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A reader had an interesting question this week. As a comment to Using decision management to deliver intelligent business performance he asked “What makes a company ready?”. I suspect my closing line “The products are, mostly, ready. Whether companies are is another question…” prompted this.

So, what makes a company ready for enterprise decision management – for taking control of its decisions, externalizing them, managing them and improving them? Well we went into this at some length in the Readiness Assessment chapter of Smart (Enough) Systems but I think there are five main things:

  • How good is your business and IT collaboration and alignment?
    Decision Services and decision management need the business and IT to work together to define and manage the decision logic. While technology can help, you need the organizational reality to match. In practice this is very varied in most companies so look for opportunities in areas where there is either a good working relationship or at least a willingness to try.
  • How available and clean is your data?
    Having good data and information management makes EDM a lot easier. It’s not an absolute requirement – some EDM projects are rules-heavy and analytics-light – but it sure helps. If this is a problem in your organization, take a decision-centric view of the data you need (what helps me make THIS decision) and try and just clean up that portion. Don’t boil the ocean.
  • How much analytic understanding and skill is there?
    Developing analytic models, doing data mining, leveraging the insight that can be gained from your data takes skills you may not have. If you don’t, consider outsourcing it (there are plenty of small analytic shops out there who can build models for you) and start with simple to use models like regression, decision trees and score cards. Don’t forget that just using analysis tools to examine historical data can be a big help when writing rules, for instance. You don’t have to start at a super-high level of sophistication.
  • How good are you at handling organizational change?
    Automating operational decisions will almost certainly cause some organizational change. If changing responsibilities and KPIs is a really difficult tasks at your organization, adopting EDM could be hard. Again, you can start local with an executive with lots of pain or some mental flexibility – just enough to make one decision-worth’s work.
  • Finally, do your managers and executives have an operational focus?
    EDM is about improving operational systems and processes by improving the decisions within them. If you managers and executives don’t care about day-to-day stuff, don’t track operations closely then you will be challenged when applying EDM. Find someone who knows how their business ticks and you will do better.

    I hope this helps. If you want a little more details, here are five posts I wrote on this topic on my ebizQ blog:

    If you like those posts, why not subscribe to that blog also?

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