Last week TIBCO hosted the first Face2Face meeting of the decision modelling / management experts from FICO, IBM and Oracle representing one of the submission teams for the OMG Decision Model and Notation standard. Although we cannot divulge any details of the meeting results, suffice to say that progress was considered as “good” by all concerned… publication (to OMG) of the first draft of this and the other submissions is due in May 2012.
From an event processing perspective, current decision-based methodologies mostly focus on the “decision as a service” (DaaS?) type models and associated stateless executable artifacts – think TIBCO ActiveMatrix Decisions and TIBCO BusinessEvents Decision Manager, and their equivalents Oracle Business Rules, IBM Websphere Ilog JRules, and FICO Blaze Advisor. Here a decision is something that occurs at a point in time, based on data / information valid at the time of decision, with some explicit process required to revisit said decision.
However for event-based decisions, we can also consider decisions as a continuous operation. This is best illustrated by the “decision” made when some event pattern is identified: the pattern may be identified and/or disqualified multiple times for the same entity, based for example on complex and sophisticated business rules (that may themselves be changing over time). A typical mechanism for this might be inference rules (as seen in TIBCO BusinessEvents). I would expect later versions of DMN to be extended to cover rule-based and continuous-evaluation decisions, but DMN version 1 will likely cover the simpler “Decision as a Process Task” role (where “process task” could be a BPMN Business Rule Activity or a dynamic rule-driven activity). The differences in decision models for continuous versus decision-point based decisions is an interesting area for future discussion!
My thanks again to the participants of the F2F for a successful meeting.