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Knowledge Automation: How to Implement Decision Management in Business Processes by Alan Fish

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CHAPTER TWO

Decisions in the Business Process

DECISION MANAGEMENT REALIZES the value of business knowledge by using it to automate operational decisions. So, at first glance, you might think that a decision management project consists of three tasks: identify operational decisions in the business processes, codify the knowledge used to make them, and encapsulate the knowledge in automated decision-making systems. Unfortunately it is not quite as simple as that.

One reason is that the goal of decision management is to improve decision-making, not simply to automate the current process. Collecting existing business rules simply describes what is currently occurring in the business. This may be useful in the analysis of the efficiency of the current process or as a starting point for automation but will rarely be enough in itself.

A second, more subtle reason is that automation will inevitably change the business process around each decision being automated. To assess the costs and benefits of decision management we therefore need to look at the whole process before and after automation. This means that the disciplines of decision management and business process management are intimately related. Two common mistakes are (1) attempting to automate decision-making tasks without redesigning the surrounding business process, and (2) redesigning a business process without considering how the decision-making will be automated. Decision management should always be considered both during ...

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