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Putting your ultimate asset to work with decision management

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Syndicated from BeyeNetwork

In a recent piece Data Strategy Journal – DATA: YOUR ULTIMATE ASSET Thomas Redman had a nice intro on the value of data:

An exercise popular in many training courses goes something like this. The class is asked to imagine a fine antique French desk, recently purchased for $20,000. Atop the desk sits a brand new laptop computer, complete with all the bells and whistles, that cost $3,000, and a compact disk that cost thirty cents. The CD contains the only known list of the names and purchases of the organization’s fifty largest customers. Now, the exercise goes, a fire has started and you can only save one of the three. Which do you save?

Of course the answer is the CD because it has the data and the data is worth far more than anything else. Thomas explains why:

data are not just unique; they are the organization’s ultimate proprietary assets.

While I don’t disagree with him, it seems to me that there is more to it than this. If we don’t act on what the data tells us then it is not really much of an asset. So perhaps we should consider the decisions we make with the data to be our ultimate asset. Some of this data is “important for operations and tactical decision-making” and the challenge here is similar to one he describes for data. Just as “too many organizations subordinate ‘data management’ inside their IT departments”, so too many subordinate decisions inside their information systems. To resolve this you need to apply Decision Management.

One of the key values behind Decision Management is that you should manage decisions as a corporate asset. When customers interact with you they consider every decision you take to be a corporate one – that is, a deliberate one. Thus if your website, your call center or your agents make a poor decision, an inconsistent decision or an out of date decision, it reflects on your whole organization. Yet, every day you must make decisions faster, across more channels and product lines. This makes it harder and harder to ensure that the decisions your organization takes are the best ones and the ones you intended to take. You need to find ways to derive insight from that data and push that insight into your operations.

As you move to improve, innovate, automate and even “off-shore” your processes you must face the fact that the differentiation of your company from others increasingly comes down to how you make decisions. You can inject sustainable competitive differentiation into your processes effectively only by identifying the key decisions and using a Decision Management approach to take control of these decisions. Even if your processes look like everyone else’s, making your decisions unique (and better) will ensure customers understand why they should do business with you. Many of your processes remain fairly static over time while the risk assessment, value calculations, policies and regulations that determine the outcomes of decisions within them change all the time.

You can use decision management to develop distinct Decision Services for critical operational decisions – what product to offer, how to price and underwrite a policy, etc – and so make decisions easy to manage, improve and change independent of the processes or systems that use those decisions.

A last word from Thomas. He says “efforts to put all this unique data to work must be led by ‘the business.’  Better still, a Chief Data Officer” or perhaps a Chief Decision Officer.

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