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Analysis

There really are new ways to approach old problems
Terry Schurter By: Terry Schurter, Research Director for Process, Bloor Research (Moved)
Published: 22nd May 2006
Copyright Bloor Research © 2006
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Decisionality is a company focused on P2C (Person to Computer) Dialogue—at least that is what they claim to be doing.

The company offers software that allows simple charting of interactions between a person and a computer where the flow charting interface provides the “knowledge expert” a graphical means to develop the interaction. Sound familiar? Then read on.

This is not a rules engine or process platform—not at all. There is no ‘engine’ hiding behind the curtain (like in the Wizard of Oz). Instead, what is happening is the graphical charting process is defining the behavior of a web service.

Now, if you are not up on web services yet (shame on you), web services offer a means for services to be built that can then be used by web sites, applications, scripts, and so on under the web services standard (W3C).

Decisionality includes the automatic building of web services for processes charted in their graphical interface—and when I say automatic I mean completely automatic (click and build)—with (hmm, nice) dynamic checking built in to ensure that human error has not created a process flow that, well, doesn't flow.

This approach to knowledge management is interesting to say the least. At first it may seem overly simple but that should not bias the perspective on value. There are numerous features and design elements that make the current product more than it seems—with plenty of opportunity to enhance the product in the future.

Just to touch on two key points, the web services created with Decisionality do keep history on choices, flow paths and time. These are the feedback elements needed for quickly determining what paths are dominant and where problems may exist. More directly, it is the feedback needed for the knowledge experts to determine (at a glance) if their ‘process’ is performing as expected.

Secondly, the product is designed to enable simple connecting of Decisionality web services together. A process flow reaches an outcome OR it connects to another web service. This is the kind of thing Web 2.0 is all about, not the “slightly better than” current Internet paradigm most people are talking about. Consider the case where knowledge experts develop (monitor, improve and maintain) their specific knowledge web services in an environment where such web services can be pieced together from knowledge experts all over the globe. If that sounds exciting then this product should catch your attention.

There are many uses for technology like this, it is a new approach, and it will take a while to understand just what the best uses are—as well as the limitations. But this technology is indicative of what will be used for intelligent interaction in an increasingly interactive, global world.

The only thing I am unsure of is if I can NAME my web services. Edwin is the resident Decisionality virtual expert. If I can name my web services, can I reserve the name “NEO?”

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