Even in their most optimistic moments, business and IT executives will confess that there are two things that consistently undermine their confidence in their organization’s ability to execute a business strategy:
- Not having access to all the relevant facts needed to make the right decision, and
- By the time the organization actually can execute that strategy, the opportunity has either passed or changed in some significant, unanticipated manner.
After investing millions of dollars on IT, companies usually wind up with a hodgepodge of disparate applications and data silos operating in fiefdoms across the organization. The result, fragmented information that makes it hard to get even the most straightforward questions answered. It is little wonder that so many CXOs and line-of-business managers have little or no faith in information technology. While they still consult the data that resides in any given application,
they don’t always trust the information being presented. The reality is that most business decisions are based more on intuition than actual fact. The trouble with intuition, of course, is that it’s hard to distinguish between a gut feeling based on years of experience and a simple case of indigestion.
Gaps Between Insights Gained and Decisions Made
The problem goes beyond information access. In most organizations there is a lag between insights obtained and decisions made. This is often due to the number of emails, phone calls and meetings that have to occur for managers and executives to understand the implications of a particular set of data points, and to agree on a course of action – especially when collaboration needs to occur across different parts of the business.
Numerous organizational behavior studies have shown that groups of people, otherwise known as “the wisdom of the crowds,” make better decisions than any one specific individual. The key to success is the ability to enable people with domain area expertise to easily collaborate around real data and related analytics.
That realization has given rise to what Gartner and other analyst firms call Collaborative Decision-Making (CDM) – a powerful paradigm for stakeholders to collectively participate in decision making in context with the analysis, planning, social insight, and real-time data relevant to the work at hand. The CDM paradigm envisions currently disparate technologies merged into a unified decision-making platform – powering a new generation of decision support solutions in areas such as:
- Operational Business intelligence
- Operational Performance management
- Social CRM
- Manufacturing Intelligence
- Supply Chain Management
All of these capabilities should be built on a collaborative framework to enable teams to easily communicate, exchange information and drive consensus. Unfortunately, most collaboration tools today are simply ‘chat groups’ organized around specific topics. They are disconnected from the actual work itself.
Execution – Turning Informed Decisions into Action
While CDM provides a framework for making better decisions, it can be frustrating when all the time spent collaborating fails to drive a meaningful business outcome. The real goal should be to flatten the decision making process in a way that allows executives and line-of-business managers to make decisions that get executed both faster and, just as importantly, as intended.
Unfortunately, there often exists a gulf between strategic decisions and their tactical execution. As a result, no formal feedback loop exists between decisions and processes. All the context associated with a particular business event is regularly lost. The end result is not only a lack of visibility into the business process itself; the organization has no real way to audit how efficient that process actually is.
In essence, businesses need a CDM+Execution framework that quickly turns decisions made into action taken. That way there is no time for tactical drift to set in. And, managers can finally understand the rhythm of their business, innovate new solutions, and dynamically make changes as required.
What is needed is a next-generation platform that tightly couples collaborative business intelligence (CBI) and corporate performance management (CPM) functionalities to a business process engine in real time. That way there is no time for tactical drift to set in. And, managers can finally understand the rhythm of their business, innovate new solutions, and dynamically make changes as required. Key requirements for this type of next-generation CDM+E platform include the ability to:
- Seamlessly integrate analysis, planning and execution processes in a unified collaborative environment
- Easily interact and exchange information around any data object, process, analytic model, or social insight – all in the context of the team’s real work and information requirements
- Access and analyze both structured and unstructured data – live or static; wherever it’s located; on any smart device
- Seamlessly connect decision-making to workflows
- Tie integrated business processes to a common metadata framework
- Easily link bi-directionally to existing IT systems, data repositories and cloud services
- Combine summary and detailed data throughout the analysis and planning process.
- Track data history and information changes over time to understand why prior decisions were made
- Fully support mobile devices
- Operate in real time
With a Collaborative Decision Making and Execution platform, organizations can extend the power of business intelligence and performance management into line of business operations, and deliver a new level of value to the business, including:
- Accelerate Decision Making in BI and Planning
- Improve Quality of Decisions Through Collaboration
- Transform Critical Business Processes
- Improve Business Agility - Iterate Faster, Adapt Faster
- Deliver New, Collaborative Applications Faster
- Increase Revenue, Reduce Operating Expenses, Increase Innovation
By John O’Rourke, EPM Channel Contributor.
John O’Rourke is Vice President of Marketing at Decisyon. John has over 25 years of experience in the enterprise software industry. Before joining Decisyon, John was Vice President of Product Marketing at Oracle, with responsibility for the company’s market-leading Enterprise Performance Management products. Prior to Oracle, John spent 10 years with Hyperion Solutions as Senior Director of Product Marketing, launching many new products and helping to establish the company’s market leadership in Corporate Performance Management. John has also held Strategic Marketing and Product Marketing positions at Kenan Systems and Dun & Bradstreet Software. John holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Bentley University and an MBA in Marketing from the Boston College Carroll Graduate School of Management. See John’s articles on EPM Channel here.