Being in business is being in the business of decision making. Right decisions, made at the right time, and implemented in the right manner—make all the difference. This surely has become difficult. Things change very quickly, we are far more connected, and we need to act fast while grappling with far more complexity. There always seem to be too many things to keep tab on, and too few ways to make sense of it all.
‘Gut feel’ has been a trusted guide, but it is no longer dependable. Rapidly changing contexts, with unfamiliar cause and effect networks, mean that we need to be far more equipped while making decisions. Studies show that the highest performing businesses leverage data effectively for decision making.
With speed becoming a key element of business strategy, decision making has spread temporally. We require instant access to relevant information, whether on the plane, while having a coffee or between meetings. We need to be able to analyse that in real time, with an understanding of changes that are likely to occur in the future. We have to act on these quickly as well—gather opinions, mobilize teams, align their activities.
This is not limited to just a few roles in the organization. At all levels, people need to make decisions—be accountable and confident. And if organizations can enable its employees with right tools—chances are that they will get it right!
That’s the charter for the business intelligence (BI) implementation in an organization. Employees must have access to data from all relevant sources, in a way that makes sense to them in their context. And, that should be available at all times regardless of location or device they are using. Of course, this must be done in a manner that security and access rules are not compromised.
Informed decision making relies on current and comprehensive information. Relevant information often reside in a multitude of sources—a plethora of databases, documents, spreadsheets, social networks, or web. Access to data models which bring together these sources in a meaningful manner allow decision makers to be equipped with timely information and be not blindsided.
There can be too much information, though. Only through right visualization and summarization, we can understand and analyze it well—generating insights as we draw conclusions. This happens when we are able to visualize information as relevant to the business model. Insightful tools can identify patterns, allow us to analyze scenarios, and plan better. These insights influence decisions in a powerful manner.
Making a positive impact towards our goals require that we act on our decisions effectively. BI can be a key tool making it easy to take actions, involve people, and align teams. Working with information effectively requires collaboration and involvement of relevant people. With scorecards at all levels, everyone in the organization gets aligned to the strategy and maintains focus on the goals.
Powerful decision making is about being able to be confident and accountable. Decisiveness that works comes from being informed, insightful and impactful. The confidence that arises from comprehensive information, deep understanding and ability to implement, leads to results.
(Republished from Advaiya Blog)