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Making Better Business Decisions in 2009


Tom Davenport had an interesting post for 2009 – The Year Ahead: Make Better Decisions – and it prompted me to highlight a couple of things you should definitely be planning to do in 2009.

  1. Make a list of the key decisions that drive your business
    Conduct a decision audit, or hire me to, so you know what decisions matter to your business, what KPIs they impact and how improvement in them will drive improvement in your business. With this in hand you can apply the tools and techniques of decision management (business rules, data mining, predictive analytics, optimization etc) where they will make the most difference.
  2. Invest now in tracking decisions and outcomes – decision analysis
    You can’t improve what you don’t measure so if improving decisions is going to make you successful in 2009 then you need to start applying your performance management skills to decisions not just to processes.
  3. Think about the different kinds of decisions you make
    All decisions can be important – strategic ones and very operational ones – but it is useful to classify decisions and to think about how they vary on critical dimensions like repeatability, complexity, regulation and data availability. Look for some research Neil Raden and I did in this space soon
  4. Think about the decisions hidden in your systems and processes
    Tom suggests you look at a decision to see how it should be made. When a decision must be delivered by someone who should not make it (as when a call center representative transmits a product eligibility decision) or when a system must make a decision (as when an ATM makes a cross sell), you need also to think about how the systems involved should make the decision. You need ways to take expertise, tribal knowledge and regulations as well as insight from data and make it work in a systems context.

Decision management is more important than ever in a recession so for 2009, think about making better decisions and think about making sure your systems make better decisions too.


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