The fact is that BTM remains today as much an art as it is a science and consequently the methods used to support it are still evolving and maturing.
Agility is key
People often have known unknowns and unknown unknowns i.e. things that, until they know more, they don't know they need to know, but don't know.
They will say things like "I we need to achieve this and I need to know more about that. But I don't know exactly what I want, but if you show me something I will be able to tell you if that is what I want, or if it is a bit different".
This is why the "art of the possible" is important and the process to support decision making (and many other things) needs to be agile.
People need to rapidly iterate, through trial and error, until what is needed emerges. In fact the process may even be serendipitous.
The real world isn't perfect but it is the one we live in
In the real world many ad-hoc questions arise and need to be answered in minutes (or within an hour). If the stakeholder gets frustrated and can't get answers based on facts in these timeframes there is risk they will just guess (or go to someone who can make up an answer). These questions may only be only partially thought through, specific questions may never recur, and may change rapidly and iteratively as answers are provided.
Learning is about questions that lead to questions
You can see this even with a small child is trying to understand something. They ask question, which leads to another question and another and another. This is the process of learning i.e. intelligence requires iteration and agility.
Out of the box solutions for BTM decision support can only for the foreseeable future provide a starting point. They can't encapsulate definitive present best practice because best practice is inchoate and changing quickly as the industry as whole learns (unlike in relatively mature disciplines e.g. accounting, architecture, personnel management, etc.)
OTB solutions provide an idea of the "art of the possible" - but it is critical that they not seen as the way things must be done i.e. cast in stone.
As it is inevitable that the questions asked will evolve, it follows that the data required (to answer the questions) must evolve, and the ways in which information is presented (and captured) will evolve. It is enabling this evolution which is critical and it must start with the data (if one things of a model, it is the metamodel).
Four BTM Decision support scenarios
1. Expert answer specific questions for specific users - Ad Hoc questions, needing quick answers, arise all the time. They may be the wrong questions (they may never be asked again). They need to be answered quickly and people will come to an expert is necessary to get an answer e.g. a specific report, number, chart, diagram etc. In answering these question it may be necessary to analyse or present data that is currently not recorded (so data model/metamodel changes are needed).
2. Expert user can get answers themselves - a small percentage of questions that arise will want to be asked and answered fairly often. People will want to be able produce the answer themselves e.g. a specific report, number, chart, diagram etc. It may require some expertise, but it doesn't require an expert.
A small percentage of questions from 1/2 will be of use to many users often (users with no specific expertise or knowledge).
3. Expert solution with generic tools - In some cases generic ad-hoc analytical tools, dashboards etc. may be able to be used to create answers
4. Expert Customised solution - In other cases highly customised and optimised user interfaces and analytics may be required e.g. for tablet, phone and watch interactions (with voice activited interfaces, continuous data collection etc.)
Let us take a non-BTM related every day example - how is my heart health
1. Expert answer specific questions - I go to an expert to get my blood pressure checked, my blood tested etc. These tests may lead to others depending on what the answer are. In the following I just focus on one path (blood pressure)
2. Expert user can get answers - I want to monitor my blood pressure daily and track it
3. Expert solution with Generic tools - I can dump my blood pressure results into a spreadsheet and chart/analyse them
4. Expert customised solution - I have phone based application that monitors and records by blood pressure, sends alerts, and analyses the results (and compares with my diary, my diet record) presenting results on my phone or tablet - when I ask for them
BTM Decision support solutions.
They need to support all 4 scenarios and allow rapid evolution from one stage to the next ideally reusing information and solution elements from earlier stages.
1. Expert answer specific questions - solution needs 5-10 mins work with hour turn around
2. Expert user can get answers - solution needs 10-30 mins work and 1-2 hour turn around
3. Expert solution with Generic - solution needs less than an hours work and 1-2 days turn around
4. Expert customised solution - solution needs a 4-24 hours work and 5-10 days turnaround (and results in an asset)