I was excited to be asked to preview the latest work of James Taylor. After all, it's not often that an ex-rock-and-roller turned humble business intelligent (BI) columnist gets the opportunity to hobnob with such an accomplished musician. Ah, I remember Sweet Baby James like it was released yesterday. James Taylor and Steve Miller - now you're talking serious 70s! Whoops, wrong guys ... Never mind. It might not ensure their induction to the rock-and-roll hall of fame, but if the 25 testimonials promoting the book are any indication, Smart (Enough) Systems by James Taylor and Neil Raden should create a stir in the BI industry.1 And my sense after reading the book is that T&R have indeed made a noticeable contribution that can start to guide BI to a next generation of sophistication and utility.

Smart enough systems (SES) help automate decisions that drive day-to-day business processes. If, as articulated by Michael Porter of HBS, "The essence of strategy is choosing to perform activities differently than rivals do," then decisions become fundamental enablers of business strategy. Operational decisions - high-volume with low individual value - are under siege with demands for precision, agility, consistency, and cost-effectiveness. With the ever-increasing pressures of competition, according to T&R, operational decision-making must treat decisions as corporate assets - strategic, managed, visible, reusable and improving. SES focuses on high-performance, compliant, real-time execution of operational decisions, emphasizing agility and evidence-based learning through data and analytics.

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