Who (or WHAT) Makes the Decisions Around Here?

How we make decisions and the criteria for decisions can, and do, change continually. As we know, the only constant thing in life, is change... But the reason why we make decisions, especially in business, doesn’t change. In business, we make decisions for the old-fashioned reasons: how will it profit my business?

Will the use of decision/business rules engines be a pro or con for your business? That is ultimately where the buck stops. Decisions! Decisions!

What or who makes decisions?

Let us explore some of the reasons why a business should consider the use of decision engines:

  • Streamline and formalize decision making: take a credit application as an example – a decision engine leaves no room for error in the process of doing a credit application, as a credit officer might. A decision engine won’t forget a policy or procedure, make a mistake, get distracted or get emotionally involved in the applicant’s sad story.
  • Quicker transaction turnaround times: faster decisions will lead to happier clients in this drive-through world we live in. People want answers and results instantaneously. A credit officer can only service one client at a time, while a decision engine can process scores of decisions at once.
  • Fewer errors in execution: while people are prone to make mistakes, a decision engine is programmed to stick to the steps and rules flawlessly.
  • Faster logic change: when the criteria for a decision has to change there is no need to change procedures and retrain people – retraining your decision engine is as easy as 1-2-3... change rules, deploy and run.
  • Seamless scaling: up & down scaling of your business becomes smooth and painless while your decision engine automatically adjusts your resources, rather than going through the whole process of hiring, firing and training personnel.

Once you have established that you are considering moving over to a decision engine solution, you are faced with more decisions. There are traditional decision engine solutions, open-source solutions and cloud-based solutions...

Traditional solution providers like FICO, with their Blaze Advisor, Experian Decision Engine, and SAS RTDM have been around for a while and are trusted and tried. They are, however, quite expensive. Although the software is loaded with neat features, it is “expert dependent”. That means that, apart from expensive license fees for the use of the software, the cost of integration and training is high as it is dependent on an expert to implement, integrate and provide user training. Heavy bills accompany such expert service. Experts are also few and far between.

Drools is the usual choice when it comes to open-source solutions. Although it is very versatile, its complexity when it gets to integration and setup is a definite drawback. These solutions also require specialists for IT infrastructure and maintenance. Because “Eclipse” is the predominant environment for these open-source solutions, you are faced with the same scenario of finding “experts” to integrate and operate.

For many new and growing businesses, the cloud-based solutions are more and more appealing. The appeal includes easy implementation, scaling and operational simplicity. Cloud solutions are also geared to enhance the user experience and provide a more satisfying product encounter.

Many of the cloud-based solution providers are also data companies. It is important that a business understands the risks of using cloud solutions for data storage. Risks include the service provider using your data to build other products, data “leaks” and other data security threats and vulnerabilities.

These are a few of the facts that one can take into consideration when making choices regarding the use of decision-making solutions, whether human or computer driven. In the end, there are new ways of getting to a decision, but the motivation is still the same: when I weigh the pros and cons, what will profit the welfare and prosperity of my business the most?