Decision or Data First?
Blog: Jim Sinur
There is a debate brewing about how the best decisions are actually made and executed. With the birth of Decision Management as a discipline recently, this debate is starting to emerge. There are many technical platform vendors that are pushing “data first” approaches to decisions and digital efforts. It turns out that business professionals are pushing decisions first based on business outcomes. The question is “What approach will dominate?”
The Case for Decision First:
Decisions link the an organization’s metrics and objectives to its operational processes, applications and systems. This is particularly true of known operational goals, targets and SLAs. Decisions are a forgotten first class business object, just like processes and data. Often decisions are not modeled first in order to select analytics, AI Services to create a decision management journey. This needs to change. Even decisions that are related to discovery of opportunities or threats can be better planned than we do today. Decisions should be explicit and not buried or subsumed with processes, applications or program code to support the agility required to manage organizations. Decisions need to be documented and shared amongst business and IT professionals alike. Build and model the decision and then link to the necessary data.
The Case for Data First:
Data offers enormous and growing opportunities to create competitive advantage and operational advantage. Most organizations do not know what data they really have or how important the data they have in their possession. In fact most organizations do not have a significant or complete strategy defining how data really contributes to their organization. There is a lot of dark data in organizations and the amount is expanding and coming at speeds not seen before. Studying pools of accumulated data or kinetic moving data can point out opportunities and threats for organizations. Quite often these are discovery treks that can lead to opportunities at best and dead ends at worst. Many feel that the best opportunities for organic growth lie in data. Look at the data in new ways and take advantage of discoveries.
The nature of the decision context will dictate Data or Decision first. Known operational contexts that have specific goals will likely dictate Decision First. Tactical or strategic situations where management is exploring options or where operational processes and applications are throwing off unknown signals and patterns will require a Data First. It boils down to known or unknown situations. There are situations that will cause both approaches operate interactively.