Decision Management, Tom Davenport and the New BI

December 2, 2008
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Tom wrote an interesting post this week on 10 Principles of the New Business Intelligence and made a couple of really good points:

1. Decisions are the unit of work to which BI initiatives should be applied.
2. Providing access to data and tools isn’t enough if you want to ensure that decisions are actually improved.

I like these two as I think they represent the crux of my worriesabout BI as it is mostly done today – reporting, data warehouses, OL

Tom wrote an interesting post this week on 10 Principles of the New Business Intelligence and made a couple of really good points:

1. Decisions are the unit of work to which BI initiatives should be applied.
2. Providing access to data and tools isn’t enough if you want to ensure that decisions are actually improved.

I like these two as I think they represent the crux of my worriesabout BI as it is mostly done today – reporting, data warehouses, OLAPetc. Unless you are clear what decisions you are trying to improve andfocus on those decisions then BI will not improve them no matter howmuch you invest. This is something Tom has discussed before and aboutwhich I have blogged.

Tom’s graphic has a nice section at the top on automated decisionswhere information and decision have to be tightly coupled. While I likehis sliding scale – from tightly to loosely coupled – I think manyorganizations over estimate how loosely coupled they can get, leavingfar too many decisions to be loosely coupled or even completelydecoupled from the information. Apart from anything else I think itrequires some coupling of decision and information to apply analyticseffectively – you must know what decision you are trying to make tocorrectly identify the analytics you need. Tom says:

8. The more closely you want to link information anddecisions, the more specific you have to get in focusing on aparticular decision.

To which I would add that the more you want to drive the decisionusing analytics, the more closely you will want to link information anddecisions. Managing decisions using Enterprise Decision Managementtightly couples information and decisions allowing for more automationand more analytics.

By the way, if you don’t already own Tom’s book Competing on Analytics, you should buy it.


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