Business Decision Maturity Model (BDMM)

Early experience with The Decision Model confirms that the Business Decision and Decision Model are assets that gain higher business management attention.

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As such, it is easier to incorporate them earlier in business-driven projects, such as BPM, process imptrovements, and business transformation efforts. That's because business people easily recognize that business value is not found in the individual business rule or business logic statement, but in entire business decisions. Therefore, entire Decision Models (even without details) emerge as the asset that drives toward business objectives. At the same time, the natural connections from The Decision Model to BMM, BPM, and SOA are so compelling that they elevate the management of business decisions to the status of critical technology assets or services. Not only that, but it becomes easier to incorporate Decision Models earlier in systems development projects and enterprise architecture projects. Again, an entire Decision Model (even without details) emerges as an asset that drives enterprise and system architecture in support of business objectives. Thus, the impact of The Decision Model on business, information technology is significant enough to develop a maturity model focused on Business Decisions rather than business rules, and call it the Business Decision Maturity Model (BDMM).

The BDMM and Process (Not Model) Maturity

It is important to note that maturity models address the quality of the implementation of a process. Maturity models do not address the quality of a particular modeling approach, but only verify that it is carried out accurately. So, the BDMM is not a measurement of the effectiveness of The Decision Model as a modeling approach. Instead, the BDMM is a measurement of the Business Decision Management process. The integration of Decision Modeling into this practice, however, elevates the status and importance of the business decision as a manageable asset worthy of its own management process. Thus, the BDMM measures the quality of the Business Decision Management process, where the goal is that a good-quality process delivers high-quality business logic behind business decisions. Improving the quality of business decisions improves the performance of the business itself. Therefore, although the original goal of RMM was to advance the practice of business rule management, the goal of BDMM is to begin and evolve the practice of business decision management. This means advancing business decision governance to improve the quality and agility of business decisions. To date, the only way to do so in a rigorous manner is with The Decision Model.

The Business Decision Maturity Model

The high-level, diagrammatic summary of the BDMM is shown in the figure above. It is important to note that, even though the model defines the maturity of the process, the titles for each given level of the BDMM (Unmanaged, Visible, Agile, Aligned, Predictive, and Autonomic) refer to the qualities anticipated in the Decision Models created at each level, and not the qualities of the process.

Unique Features of the BDMM

The BDMM has two unique features, which are based on experience gained in practice with the RMM. First, like the RMM, but unique among maturity models, the model incorporates a business value vector indicating the business consequence of each level within the model. Second, the model is adaptable for use with an architecture maturity model. Thus, if the organization is already using an architecture maturity model, the BDMM can serve as an adjunct for assessing close alignment between BDM maturity and architectural maturity.

The Characteristics of the BDMM Vectors

The BDMM can be applied to any organization or project of any size, complexity, and maturity. It provides three vectors for each level:

Business Value. The Business Value vector identifies the relevant business consequence of a particular level of maturity in the Business Decision Management process. This is helpful when building a roadmap to, and weighing the risk/reward of, the investment in developing a given level of maturity. Determining the optimum level for a given organization is an important use of the BDMM. This vector is therefore the starting point for assessing the current or target maturity of BDM. That is, organizations use this vector to select a target BDMM level. From here, the other vectors define characteristics and measurement criteria for achieving that level. Each organization may customize a set of characteristics and criteria to measure the actual business value earned from a given level of maturity relative to the benefits suggested by the model.

Business Architecture

The Business Architecture vector describes the maturity of the Business Decision Management process within the Business Architecture. This vector can be customized to align with the organization's business architecture practice. It may use baseline characteristics for architecture maturity as found in architecture maturity models. These characteristics would then need to be modified specifically for Business Decision maturity purposes.

Business Governance

The Business Governance vector describes the maturity of the business governance of the Business Decision Management process and is measured against the characteristics specified for this vector. This is a separate set of characteristics for stewardship or governance in architectural maturity models.

Detailed explanations of each vector for every level of the BDMM is provided in Chapter 20 in "The Decision Model - A Business Logic Framework Linking Business and Technology" von Halle/Goldberg (Taylor & Francis, 2009).