Can digital help us become better decision-makers?

By , 14 December 2016 at 08:59
Can digital help us become better decision-makers?
Business

Can digital help us become better decision-makers?

By , 14 December 2016 at 08:59
Tags:
BUSINESS

Every moment of the day, we make decisions. They can be anything from choosing which pair of shoes you’re going to wear for a hard day’s work to deciding which film you’re going to watch at the cinema.

Whatever the case, making them isn’t always easy, especially when you have so many choices and if they’re critical. In the world of business, that tends to be the situation most of the time. No matter what your position is in a company, your job is to excel and produce the best results possible.

And if you make the wrong choice, everything you’ve achieved and put at stake could be about to tumble. Luckily, the way we decide things is changing. Through the power of technology – particularly in the domain of software and analytics – we can be more astute and ensure we take the right course of action.

Tech route

Let’s look at some startups in this space. Doopoll, based in South Wales, is an excellent example. The firm has created an online platform for business leaders and managers that lets them create polls and get feedback in real-time. 

“Think of a typical SME: a CEO, around a dozen directors, 50 or so middle managers and a few hundred other employees. Who makes the big decisions? The CEO and the board. After all, they’re the ones with years of experience and industry knowledge. Who interacts with customers, third parties and new leads the most? The hundreds of other staff,” explains Marc Thomas, creative director at the company, who believes that decision-making is something that should extend to all employees of a company. 

“So, for decades, if not centuries, boards of directors have made decisions based on the knowledge they gained on the way up, coupled to their ever-weakening grasp of the current day market conditions. After all, gathering the opinions of hundreds of junior staff members is a time consuming and expensive exercise; especially analysing all the verbose results that come in. Why do you think staff surveys only  tend to happen once a year?

Connected approach

Scott Brothers, vice president of corporate development at tech firm Oncam, says connected technologies such as sensors and mobile devices play a big part in day-to-day decision-making. He says this tech is automating the most complex business decisions and creating useful data that can be analysed. “One of the biggest ways technology is helping businesses make the right decisions is by making some simple decisions for them; saving them time for the more important issues. Has a venue reached max capacity? Smart video technology can automatically push notifications to staff’s phones. Is a queue moving slowly? The employee working on admin in the office can be alerted to help,” he tells us. “Using a multitude of sensors, bespoke alerts can be tailored to individual businesses’ parameters. As the Internet of Things grows in complexity more decision making will become automated. Some decisions, however, can’t be made by computers and that’s where big-data comes in. “The data available to inform decisions is growing massively – in a retail environment sensors can now track footfall, customer journeys and even which visual displays are creating the best engagement. This data, that would have taken significant manpower years ago, can now be gathered, collated and interpreted in real time – giving businesses everything they need to make smart choices.”

Planning success Planning is a big part of being successful in business, and there are now tools that can ease this process. Chris Purcell, senior product marketing manager at Epicor, says: “Modern tools like enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions can provide finance teams with an end-to-end, central source of information – a single point of record where sales data can be accessed and analysed, including financial data, operational data and so on.

“Finding the right ERP solution for a business can give companies the edge, whatever their size or geographical footprint. Finance executives have a great opportunity to inform the business and drive decision-making, and being able to deliver information that the business needs can prove to be a huge win both personally and professionally.”

There are so many things that could go wrong if you make the wrong decision. We all know that. But this day and age, it’s not something we have to do on our own. Sure, you can always ask friends, family and colleagues for advice, but the fact is, tech has the potential to ease this process and help us deliver better results in the long-run.

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