Decision Modeling & Documentation
Avola allows you to intuitively model and document all your operational, tactical and strategic business decisions, based on The Decision Model methodology. Decision Modeling makes the business logic behind management decisions and business rules transparent and easily understandable by all stakeholders in your organization. This automatically leads to consistency and re-usability of business rules across the enterprise.
Avola is a fully web-based environment that allows you to create and update your decisions from your web-browser. When modeling decisions the key component is the decision table. A decision table is a set of coherent rules, that all lead to the same type of conclusion, where a rule is a row in the table. In The Decision Model methodology, this is called a rule family.
Consider the following example for determining whether a customer is eligible for obtaining a loan from a financial services provider (for instance a bank). In order to determine the loan eligibility of an application, this company looks at the loan amount that is requested, the applicant’s credit score and their type of employment. In order to determine the loan eligibility of the application, the table in Figure 1 is used to apply the business logic to this decision.
In most decision models, a decision consists of more than one of these rule families. In this case for instance, the credit score of the customer is also decided using a decision table. In order to structure these decisions and their interconnection, a decision model can be graphically depicted as a decision tree. In this simplified example this would lead to the decision tree in Figure 2.
The rule families in a decision (in this case loan eligibility and credit score) can be re-used in other decisions. For instance when a credit card application has to be evaluated, the credit score is probably also used as part of that decision. The rule family for calculating the credit score is then re-used automatically.
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- Avola supports multiple versions of a decision (model), which over time gives an organization traceability on what (version of a) decision was in use at a specific time.
- Decisions are divided in the business domains that own them, giving every manager a clear overview of the decisions he or she is responsible for.
- Decisions can be linked to the processes and activities that use them, creating traceability between processes and their decisions.
- For uses outside the platform, Avola supports exporting of decision models to standard formats such as Excel and XML.
Decision Validation & Testing
Avola offers decision modelers powerful, yet easy-to-use functionalities for validating and testing modeled decisions, before submitting them for approval or deployment. This way the business owners can be 100% certain that decision models accurately represent the appropriate logic and lead to the desired business results.
With Avola, rules and decisions can be easily validated using tangible example cases from your business. It allows for tests based on individual business scenarios, as well as batch tests using a set of scenarios. It presents the status of the tests in a clear overview (Figure 3).
For individual test scenarios, the input describing the scenario is entered directly into the modeler, as shown in Figure 4.
For testing a set of scenarios, Avola uses Excel templates for uploading the scenarios you want to test, including the expected results when making the decision (Figure 5).
This allows you to create multiple test batches, each serving their own purpose. For instance a set of tests for current situations or a set of scenarios for simulating expected decisions in the future, but the scenarios can also be based on historic data to compare historic decisions to how they would be decided in this new way of working.
When executing these test scenarios, Avola provides you with an overview of the results of your scenarios in three categories: Succes when the result is the expected result, Warning when execution is successful but the result is not the expected result and Error if there was a problem in the decision execution, for instance when there are multiple outcomes for the given scenario (meaning there is a design flaw in that decision model). For each scenario (individual as well as in batch), extensive trace information is available on how the decision was made. This allows you to check every detail of the test in order to validate its outcome.
Avola provides full auditability and traceability of the decision management lifecycle: from modeling & documentation to deployment & execution. It includes both decision approval flows and version control.
Business Intelligence, Simulation & Forecasting
Avola provides the opportunity to save all kind of data regarding the business decisions that are being made, feeding into your organization’s Business Intelligence. With the possibility of testing historic, current and possible future decisions on predefined data sets, it allows for extensive simulation and forecasting possibilities.
When making business decisions using Avola, complete and detailed information on how this decision was made can be saved. Starting from the basics describing the situation (the input parameters) the decision was made in, the conclusion that was reached (the output) and what version of the decision was used to reach that outcome, up to a complete trace of which rule was hit in every sub-decision that lead to this conclusion. This allows you to create a vast amount of business intelligence on how your organization makes its decisions.
Depending on the type of scenarios you feed the decisions you create, it is possible to simulate certain interesting situations. For instance when using your historic data as input, you could simulate how your historic decisions would have been made when using Avola, or what effect a small change in one of your rules would have one your business processes.
Another possibility would be simulating how a new decision would affect your current business using the same historic data but by deciding on different parameters. Or by providing your (new) decisions with input from market research, Avola could help you forecast how a new customer segment would be handled, helping you tweak and perfect your decision.
1-Click Publishing & Deployment
Avola allows a 1-click deployment of business-approved decision versions. The result is a set of web services that can easily be plugged into whatever business application. With Avola, the business requirement becomes its automation. The executed business rule is always a 1-on-1 reflection of what the business documented, tested and approved.
Avola allows you to model a decision and deploy it to a rule engine with the click of a button (Figure 6).
When the decision is deployed, it generates the code for the rule engine, without any intermediation. This enforces the exact execution of the decisions as they were modeled, thus avoiding the gap between what is specified (the model) and what is actually used in making business decisions (the system).
Depending on the stage of governance the decision is in (test, acceptance or production) it is automatically deployed in a different rule engine environment. This allows for a very quick development cycle, because Avola takes away all the IT work you would normally need for deployments to the multiple DTAP environments. These different rule engine environments can be used in your own different DTAP business application environments as services.