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Predictions for 2009

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I just went back to check and found no predictions on the blog for 2008 (so I get a 100% accuracy rating with no errors) so I thought I would make some for 2009. In no particular order then:

  • Cloud computing will impact decision management.
    There are already at least two decision management vendors offering decisions in the cloud or as a service – Zementis and First Data’s Predigy – and I expect this to grow. I also think that a significant percentage of new adopters for decision management in 2009 will use Cloud or SaaS offerings to get started.
  • More use of analytics by systems rather than people.
    As analytics become more established and more widespread I expect to see more analytic models being consumed not in reports or dashboards but in systems – primarily to improve the quality of decisions being made by those systems. The continued growth of PMML will help.
  • More focus on rules from application and platform vendors
    IBM has bought ILOG, SAP has bought YASU, Oracle has bought Haley. There’s never been so much focus on rules from the big players but so far the impact on them has been small. I expect this to change in 2009 with major announcements and developments.
  • More business rule vendors
    As some big players have been acquired I expect to see more players enter the field. Primarily in verticals with pre-configured solutions but new and interesting products nevertheless. I have seen ThinkAnalytics, Sonetto (First Look coming soon), Be Informed and Erudine recently, for instance, and all of them are interesting but virtually unknown in the US.
  • More rules in Business Process Management
    Intalio and Savvion are the latest BPM vendors to add rules but I don’t think they will be the last. I expect more partnerships and more development in 2009 as BPM vendors realize that rules, especially rules used for decision management, and applying Decision Management to Processes.
  • Business rules to decision management
    More and more I see talk of business rules management being replaced with talk of decision management using business rules. A small change but a significant one and one I expect to continue in 2009.
  • Pre-built decisioning components
    Talking about decisions and getting people to focus on it can be hard in the general case but it is much easier in the specifics of a domain or vertical. I expect a lot of the interesting growth in decisioning to come from pre-built or partially configured decisioning solutions in 2009.
  • Simulation and scenario management
    Chordiant set the bar high this year when it previewed its new decision simulation and management environment – the Visual Business Director. Fair Isaac is talking about simulation capabilities (blog post coming soon) and several other vendors (ILOG, First Data) have interesting beginnings. Powerful simulation and management tools will show a new generation of business leaders the power of externalizing decisions and in 2009 simulation will become a must-have feature.
  • More business user control
    Last but not least I expect to see more offerings that deliver true business user control. And not just over the rules in a decision either. Business user control over and involvement in analytic modeling will go up as the analytic community figures out how to bring non-statisticians into the fold.

I found it interesting to compare this with some BI predictions. FirstKen Rudin had his in What’s in store for Business Intelligence in 2009

  1. Cloud computing will cause a shift in the BI balance of power from IT to business users.
  2. Simplicity will be the driving mantra for both consumers and vendors of BI.
  3. The continued drive for simplicity will cause a shift towards prebuilt analytic solutions with best practices built in, and away from generic toolsets.
  4. Data interpretation will become a significant challenge for new BI users.

Plus Ken pointed to Ted Cuzzillo (who blogs here and who claims to hate making predictions) and who published his 2009 predictions:

  • The few big tools will start giving way to many small tools.
  • Business users will take more of BI back from analysts.
  • Analytics will gain new importance.
  • BI’s focus will sharpen on the human factor.
  • BI will surge in the mid-market.

Clearly the more innovative vendors, cloud computing, analytics and business user control are relevant to both. What do you think? Seen any other good predictions?

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  • Herbert A. Lowe January 7, 2009, 2:17 pm

    Jim,
    I really enjoyed your book, and think you have done a great service for the EDM community as a whole with this site. I agree with most of your predictions, with a few caveats. I believe that cloud computing will play a vital role in decision automation in the future, but not in the form a one that is sold as a service offering available through the internet, as Amazon’s EC2. The truth of the matter is personal computers are only used five percent (5%) of the time, and even a company with only two hundred desktops, having Core Duo or similar processors, has a virtual supercompter sitting idle on their employee’s desktops. In these tough economic times, I can’t imagine any CEO who knows this simple fact, would approve spending even a penny on some plan to dynamically provision machines on the internet. When the dust finally settles, an hype gives way to economic sensibility,  the cloud environment will be re-purposed, unused desktop CPU cycles, memory, and disk storage. In terms of the evolution of EDM products, I predict that innovative start-ups, like Mobile Agent Technologies,  will continue to push the envelope with more feature rich, and well integrated, intelligent software platforms.  Their Einstein Enterprise offering combines  human cognitive theory, with cloud computing, business rules, data mining, predictive modeling, complex events processing, a relational database and a content management system.  As for “pre-built” industry specific analytical models, thumbs down, as knowledge is the only competitive advantage any firm has. If acme widget down the block has the same models as you, then the only firm that benefits is the vendor who sold it to you. 

    Herbert A. Lowell