Department of Informatics

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Business Decision Management

INFN50, Informatics, 7.5 ECTS credits

The course is offered on the Master's programme in Information Systems, to exchange students and as a freestanding course.

Course description

The buzz right now is AI with artificial neural networks (ANN), machine learning (ML) and Big Data (to train the networks). We have all heard of Generative Pre-Trained Transformers (GPT) such as ChatGPT. The problem with this in decision making is: How do you explain the opaque decisions taken by an ANN or a GPT-based chat bot? Who’s in charge? Who is accountable? The risk is “Computer says no” as in the sketch comedy Little Britain…

Business Decision Management (BDM) instead deals with transparent and human-readable rules based decision logic in the form of decision tables and expressions, used to manage and automate operational and repeating mass decisions in business processes. Different from today’s AI applications and their enormous foundational models can this decision logic be understood and explained by business experts and maybe even clients and citizens.

BDM is about one of businesses most important assets – the operational business decisions. Many every day, routine and repeating decisions are made e.g. for:

  • Loan application assessments
  • Risk assessments for insurance policy applications
  • Customer ratings on a web shop
  • Taxation in an on-line eService for income tax return 
  • Claim benefits
  • Acceptance of orders and payment
  • A diagnosis, such as vaccination status

Some of these decisions are made manually, but many more are automated in information and IT systems. We meet these decisions every day when we buy things on the web, book flights, make hotel reservations, hire a car and so on.

BDM is tightly connected to Business Processes Management. Business Process Management is about changing or designing business processes. Business Decision Management takes responsibility for the operational business decisions that a business process requires to function and deliver according to business goals. In the course, we work with two OMG standards: 1. Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) for process modelling; 2. Decision Model and Notation (DMN) for decision modelling.

Automation of operational business decisions – decisioning – in BDM applies:

either Business Rules Management (BRM) and BRM systems (BRMS) for finding, authoring, managing, and executing business rules (BR),

or running the decision logic as tables and FEEL (Friendly Enough Expression Language) expressions of DMN on a Decision Management System (DMS) platform.

Many branches of society, especially banking, insurance and the public sector are rule heavy and already use rule-based decisioning. In Sweden, we can for instance fill in our tax return using digital services, which are based on rule-based decisioning. In the USA, an example of a major user of decisioning and support technology is IRS.

During this course, you will work both theoretically and practically, as systems development, with the concept of BDM. You will design decision requirement models and decision logic to automate decisions in processes using a professional DMS: Trisotech Enterprise Suite. FEEL resembles XPATH and advanced formula construction in a spreadsheet programs. Hence, the decision logic development is not programming as in java or C# and you will not build and deploy a system. Having some sort of programming understanding and/or skill is probably helpful but not required.

You will meet industry expert James Taylor CEO of Decision Management Solutions live or on-line. You will also meet BDM professional and trainer Marwim van Overshot at Le Blanc Consultancy. They will provide expert insights and industry experience on BDM.

BDM is an approach drawing heavy industry interest. Through this course, you will have the possibility to acquire highly specialized and unique skills with high market value.

COURSE director

Odd Steen
Associate professor
Phone: +46 46 222 81 98
Room: EC2-231

Odd Steen

Additional information

Course syllabus, in English
Course syllabus, in Swedish

Reading list for Spring 2024

Advanced level A1N
Teaching language: English
Offered: Spring semester


Schedules for all our courses are published electronically in TimeEdit.

You find instructions how to search for your course schedule in the pdf-document TimeEdit - find your schedule.