Decision fundamentals: faster insight to execution

This is a guest blogpost by Stuart Wells, chief technology officer, FICO

In a previous blog post for Computer Weekly, I discussed six ways that companies can improve their decision making. With this blog I’ll dive into one of the areas, accelerating intelligent solution creation, and show how it can help business managers make well informed, timely decisions without waiting in IT queues.

Less legacy… more innovation

Unfortunately, maintenance of legacy applications means only 16% of the IT budget goes to innovation.

Furthermore, innovation budgets continue to be cut as most companies underestimate the complexity and cost of maintaining applications. Due to this, organisations find themselves with fewer and fewer dollars and personnel to innovate.

That’s where Rapid Application Development (RAD) and Deployment approaches come into play. Not only do they allow enterprise applications to be built much faster, but also decrease application maintenance costs. Less maintenance investment can translate into more innovation.

Putting principles to work

The secret to RAD has to do with complexity and collaboration. I know this is true based on my own experience; I used to be a Java developer, and before that a C developer, and before that I wrote FORTRAN code. RAD presents a sea change in solution creation in three ways:

  1. By abstracting development to an easy-to-use visual interface, developers can be more productive and new developers can be brought up to speed more quickly
  2. By defining a standard extensible way in which integration with enterprise data sources or systems can occur, more systems can be integrated and more code re-used
  3. By automatically generating all the necessary code for tracing and logging needed by operations, the collaboration between development and ops is improved

Sprint builds a customer onboarding system in just nine months

I know that American telecommunications company, Sprint, wanted to rethink the way it did customer onboarding, and wanted to do it quickly. It gets hundreds of thousands of customer applications each week and, for each customer, Sprint needs to figure out the optimal type of device, purchase price, plans that will be offered for selection, deposit required, and so on. The offer made to each customer then needs to boost customer satisfaction, improve the probability of long-term retention, reduce risk, and increase overall portfolio profitability. Those are very complex factors to juggle but, using our ‘Decision Management Suite’, Sprint has saved millions in customer acquisition and setup costs.

Three steps to operationalise insight

To realize the concept of “faster insight to execution,” we focus on three key capabilities:

  1. Business users create strategy design and change: Analysts will want to test out their ideas to check the likely impact they might have on key business performance metrics
  2. Deploying rules and analytics without IT: Business users should be able to push most changes to existing rules and strategies into production with minimum IT involvement, thus both avoiding and reducing IT’s backlog of projects
  3. Real-time or batch decision execution: New rules and analytics should be pushed to wherever these decisions need to be used – in real-time interactions with customers, or overnight in massive batch executions that will generate decisions to be used by downstream systems

In our experience, companies that strike this balance correctly––the right collaboration between business and IT to drive accelerated learning––reap tremendous benefits.

The knowledge we use to make business decisions is constantly evolving. To react nimbly and compete in this fast-paced global market, business users can’t wait in long IT queues. So, business teams need the tools and capabilities to execute on their own, and IT needs to feel comfortable that those tools are going to work well in the overall IT environment. Having the right decision infrastructure is what allows the fresh insight to be generated and operationalised with minimal IT involvement.