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On supporting decision management and collaborative decision making


Syndicated from BeyeNetwork

Timo Elliot had an interesting post Gartner on Collaborative Decision Making in which he discussed a report from Gartner called The Rise of Collaborative Decision Making (and thanks to Nic Smith of Microsoft for the link). This kind of ad-hoc, collaborative decision making is critical in companies and technology to support it is thin on the ground. In fact this was the topic of an Andrew McAfee post, The Diminishment of Don Draper in which he made the point that unsupported, gut, expert or oracular decisions have some serious limitations:

  • Opaque – you can’t explain them
  • Not amendable – they are take it or leave it propositions
  • Not disconfirmable – there’s no explanation of how they are made that can be analyzed
  • Not revisited – because there is no way to “edit” them

This prompts two thoughts. The first is that the kind of technology David Ullman has been working on (Accord, reviewed here) is worth considering for this kind of collaborative decision making. A decision supported by Accord would be transparent – you could see why you decided the way you did – as well as editable over time so that new data, or new options, could be integrated and evaluated.

The second is that these same characteristics are true of decision made by your front line staff when they interact with your customers. They often can’t explain them, not that anyone really asks, and they tend not to be amendable because the customer moves on afterward, happy or not. There is no way to analyze the thought process of these staff and so no way to revisit them to devise a better approach in the future. And these issues are more serious because we are not talking about the executive team (complete with lots of experience, assistants and analysts, deep business understanding etc) but about your least experienced, lowest paid staff.

In this second scenario one effective approach is to use Decision Management to put the decision making into your systems – into Decision Services that support your systems to be precise. Embedding the policies, regulations and best practices that you want applied as rules and using the data you have to drive analytic models with simply outputs (scores, for instance) gives better decisions to the front-line while ensuring transparency and an ability to analyze your decisions and learn what works so that you can constantly improve.

So figure out how to help your executives and managers collaborate around decisions effectively and use Decision Management to ensure you know what’s going on at the front line.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Howard Fine June 27, 2009, 4:41 pm

    You are so right… I am always looking for an applied methodology that enables me to improve the collaborative decision making options here at our company.

    I recently found, through another posting, a software program that is real close to everything I’ve looked for. Powerful, report generation for archiving the decision process, colaborative (up to five decision makers for a model) and the ability to asign weights to the decision makers and the criteria, since neither are often equal.

    It is a software program that is based on multi-criteria decision making through the use of paired preferencing. That program is called ChoiceAnalyst and a beta of the final release candidate has been made available by its publisher at this link:


    enjoy, I have…. 😉


    Howard Fine
    Director of IT
    The Ben Tobin Companies