Writing for Business

Oct 17 2012   2:45PM GMT

I don’t like it, you don’t like it … but there may be some slight excuse for “decisioning”

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore


I’m carrying on from yesterday’s post on decisioning, which generated some heated responses. The flamebait: “Is “decisioning” an acceptable word?” Among the responses:

@kemulholland: No, “decisioning” is not acceptable in any context except a Dilbert strip. Kill it with FIRE.

@KellyDrill: No no no no no.

@EastBeachEdit: Only if “choicing” is too.

@H_E_Sarah: Not just no, but *ALL-CAPS EXPLETIVE deleted* NO!

@kemulholland: Thanks for starting my day with the post on “decisioning” – I’m awake! My claws are sharp! Let the editing begin!

This morning, I heard from the other side, in a tweet from @intelligentform informing me that “decisioning”  is “actually a technical term in IT, particularly in regards to Decision Management and Business Rules.”

No further explanation was provided and I didn’t really find such a vague allusion satisfactory as an argument. We define technical terms on WhatIs.com. We try to avoid jargon as much as possible and at least mark it as such when we have to refer to it. So I did a little search for a definition of “decisioning” and here’s what I found, among the expected marketing gobbledygook:

From ZootWeb.com: 

The process of obtaining an automated decision based on pre-determined pass/fail criteria.

Although I’m sure there must be a better word, that definition at least differentiates decisioning from human decision-making  — decisioning is an automated decision-making process. I don’t like it, but I can understand why we might want to have a different word for when software makes a decision as opposed to when a human does.

The Free Dictionary allows it as a transitive verb:

tr.v. de·ci·sionedde·ci·sion·ingde·ci·sions  Sports

To defeat by a decision, as in boxing: decisioned his opponent in the third round.

Ohhhhhhh… it comes from sports. I should have known.

I thought I’d run a Google search just to see how many hits “decisioning” gets: 410,000

First time I searched, though, I inadvertently entered Google’s predictive text-generated search term, “decisioning solutions.”

Apparently someone thought it was a cool term to use as their company name. Uh, no.

There were also generic references, as in this article:
Realtime decisioning solutions will be a differentiator for customer service

Anyway, if you’ve finished retching, I’ll give you the numbers for “decisioning solutions”: 41,300.

And you thought “decisioning” was as bad as it got.


Follow me on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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