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May 5, 2009

Transparency at Organizations - Linking Business Intelligence and Decision Making

Filed under: Data Integration — Tags: — Olga Belokurskaya @ 4:37 am

Kurt Schlegel, an analyst from Gartner, declared:

Despite huge investments in business intelligence (BI) software and platforms that have resulted in a more informed workforce, most companies still fail to link BI to “the last mile” of business decision making.

The connection between BI and decisions it affects influences greatly the transparency at organizations.  Moreover, the lack of such connection prevents BI from getting the full credit it deserves when it results in good decision making.

The BI lifecycle is made up of three stages:

  • organizing, cleansing and collecting data
  • delivering data, often in the form of reports
  • applying BI to decision making

This third stage is, probably the most important, according to Schlegel. Although most organizations have matured through the first and second stages, very few of them jumped to the third stage. However, most are ready to do this. Schlegel recommends organizations develop decision support systems in order to make the transition. It will allow them to use BI-related analysis and reports to experiment with more “what if” scenarios that track how a decision was made, with what data, and by whom.

Schlegel also called on the BI mega-vendors to invest more resources in developing decision support systems, though such technology is unlikely to become very profitable for them. But such environments could be really beneficial for decision makers, allowing them to remotely collaborate in discussions around assumptions, incorporate relevant BI analysis and other decision inputs, and explore and gain consensus around the pros and cons of alternative courses of action. Moreover, this “collaborative software” could also provide a record of how decisions were made – information that now is frequently lost once the process is complete. Such records would give organizations greater transparency into how decisions are made, so they would be able to identify trusted decision makers and reuse successful decision patterns.

One more Schlegel’s recommendation for companies is to begin a cultural transformation focused on developing decision optimization as a core competency.

Start with a corporate education effort around decision-making best practices, and provide opportunities for decision simulation to socialize the value of transparent decision making and create a common corporate vocabulary to drive a cultural shift.

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