Decisions and Processes


(c) 2013 Decision Management Solutions

Do you step through a process as you try to achieve your goals?

Or do you make a series of inter-related decisions in getting to the goal?

Your answer will determine your approach to optimizing your activities as you navigate a complex, dynamic environment on your way to your goals. If you are thinking of your activities in terms of a process, you are likely to be more set in your approach. After all, processes are a set of pre-defined activities that you expect to stay consistent for some period of time. Yes, processes will evolve and improve over time – but not right away. What are the chances that you are following an outdated process?

A decision-centric approach recognizes that there are choices to be made in every activity – and that each choice has to be informed by insight. The insight could be subject matter expertise, a business policy or an algorithm mined via advanced analytics. This is where there is the most scope for improvement – both in terms of sophistication and experimentation, and in terms of the speed of change.

So, you still need to act – possibly in a pre-defined series of activities bundled into a ‘process’ – but you need to shift your focus to the series of decisions that show up at every turn. That is how you stay agile and become smarter, embedding insights from your experts and from your data into your business operations.


8 comments for “Decisions and Processes

  1. July 8, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Gagan – Interesting comparison! I agree that decisions are more effective than processes.

    However, I would also argue that the choice will depend on the goal. Any one of the above will not satisfy every situation. Also, there is a hybrid where a process provides the framework within which decisions can be made.

    Would like to hear your thoughts on that.


  2. July 9, 2013 at 7:29 am

    @Aviral – You are right. Not every situation calls for a decision-centric approach. If your environment is not changing rapidly and the ‘rules’ of the game are fairly stable, then it makes sense to focus on processes and optimize them.

    Regarding the hybrid approach, automated decisions will almost always be operationalized by being deployed within processes (as services). So you will have a hybrid implementation in most situations. The goal should be to keep the process as simple as possible by extracting decision-making out.

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