18 years ago, a study into decision-making involving 1500 managers found “the majority of them used intuition to make both financial and strategic decisions”. Experience counts for a lot, but the evidence it’s based on is essential.
No one is an island, and the same can certainly be said for businesses. The decisions made within it should rarely come down to just one person’s opinion or preference, there are many moving parts, departments, and factors to consider. An organisation’s IT department is instrumental in building the foundations for intelligent decision-making.
Here’s what your IT department needs to perfect to make decision-making easier across the business
Provide quality information and data
Data and analytical tools have existed long before the technology we’re familiar with now, but they used to be much slower. Calculations would be by hand (literally - some calculators had a handle you cranked), and pools of data were much smaller, but the end result was the same as it is now - to be informed and make decisions based on that information.
Your IT department, and those handling and making sense of that data, need tools and insights that paint a full picture and leave nothing out. Data can be interpreted in any way someone wants to interpret it, but if it tells as full a story as possible, decision-makers can confidently use it to inform the business’ plans for their future.
Introduce data segmentation
Painting a full picture of data also means having the ability to segment it and take a closer look at details. Different data streams are relevant to different areas of the business, and they won’t be able to use it productively if they don’t have the ability to segment and organise. How data is segmented depends on how it’s going to be used and applied, but the more options users have, the better. It will also highlight what data sources are missing and what to focus on in the next campaign.
Store data safely for future reference
Many businesses compare their activity year-on-year and month-on-month, but there’s intelligence to be found in storing insights over many years. As technology changes and storage solutions are upgraded, an IT team needs to develop a policy on storing historical data. May 2018’s GDPR ruling will make this even more pertinent, as data storage will come under even more scrutiny in terms of permissions.
Measure the impact of decisions already made
Success can be read in the results, and your department is likely to be responsible for collating and interpreting those results. Your team needs to be responsive and able to use that existing data to make it easier for other departments to highlight room for improvement, where a campaign gained traction, and where people ‘dropped off’ and lost interest.
Make it possible to keep up with new demands and projects
If a campaign or product launch is successful, it often falls on the IT department to make sure there are the resources to support activity. All departments can succeed and work together cohesively if the technology department knows what’s expected of them, and other teams within the business know what IT can realistically provide and when. This can include technical support for infrastructure, software and hardware, networks, and appropriate use of data and resources.