Consider the important decisions being made in your organization every day. Are you confident that these decisions are consistently insightful, efficient, and agile? If not, you aren't alone.
Research by Gallup found that only 24% of U.S. managers strongly agree that the decisions being made by their peers are well thought out. And merely 14% of managers strongly agree that they are satisfied with the speed of decision-making within their organization.
In other words, the big decisions being made at most organizations today are often slow and ill-advised. In a competitive marketplace, that's a recipe for trouble. Achieving business goals with good outcomes depends on your ability to improve decision-making in your organization.
Many organizations work hard to optimize their internal processes. But the decision-making process itself is often overlooked. When the stakes are high, most important business decisions are still being made the old-fashioned way.
The most common method is to rely on key performance indicators. Often, this is supplemented with recommendations from trusted advisors. These advisors may be internal or external to your organization. The problem is that neither KPIs nor advice tell the whole story. Both of these methods are incomplete and subjective.
The good news is that there are effective ways to improve decision-making within your organization. It can be optimized exactly as you would improve any other process.
Any decision-making process depends on several important elements. That may include intuition, experience, and common sense. But those are only part of the equation. It's critical to balance them with concrete, data-driven insights.
Organizations that invest in information-driven technologies tend to make more effective decisions. According to a Deloitte analysis, there is a strong association between effective organizational decision-making and better business outcomes.
The ability to improve decision-making is crucial to business success. As a data-driven organization, you gain three major benefits:
1. Your organization becomes more agile.
When you make decisions based on facts, it allows you to view any situation through multiple lenses. You can confidently analyze business needs, compare options, weigh the known risks, and identify critical success factors.
2. You reach decisions faster.
Using data-driven analysis, you can determine a course of action that dovetails with your organization's strategic objectives. That keeps you from falling into the trap of paralysis by analysis. Plus, it helps you gain buy-in from stakeholders, which enables you to make decisions faster.
3. Your decisions become more efficient.
When you reach conclusions based on a complete understanding of the facts, there is less room for doubt or interpretation. Establishing that level of confidence is a key step toward a successful implementation. It also helps you set milestones and measure success.
Your company is likely sitting on a treasure trove of knowledge. Harnessing it gives you the ability to transform the decision-making process within your organization. If you can access your entire information landscape, then you can derive meaningful insights from it.
Otherwise, you must make educated guesses or decisions based on intuition alone. But with a complete understanding of your content, you can consistently make intelligent, information-driven decisions. The faster your organization can find relevant answers, the better your decisions will ultimately be.
Step 1. Identify and prioritize key decisions.
The first step is to identify which decisions are most crucial. In a perfect world, every decision would be carefully thought out and built upon meticulous analysis of the facts. But the reality is that some decisions are more important than others. Strategic inflection points, for example, should be given the highest priority.
Without some measure of prioritization, it's too easy to sacrifice accuracy in the name of expediency. That often involves lapsing back into the common methods of relying on intuition, experience, and common sense. But putting an emphasis on just getting things done may not be what's best for your organization.
Step 2. Build a single point of entry.
In order to improve your decision-making process, you need to have an overview of all the information necessary to make the right choice.
What makes this challenging is that the relevant content may be spread across multiple silos, and accessing it will require you to break data silos. For that reason, you need a comprehensive virtual knowledge base of your information landscape.
Another source of difficulty is that the important data you need may be evolving quickly. Outdated facts have limited utility at best. For that reason, everything you access needs to be up-to-date.
To make information-driven decisions, it's crucial to build a platform that can access all your content simultaneously, securely, and from a single point of entry.
Step 3. Gain the insights you need to move forward.
To transform structured and unstructured content into a database that is both intuitive and responsive, you need semantically intelligent search. When an enterprise search platform utilizes semantic search, it allows a user to ask questions using natural language, and then figures out the user's intent.
By understanding what the user is trying to ask, instead of simply finding results based on keywords, semantically intelligent search makes it easier for users to find the answers they are looking for. As a result, it extracts better answers and delivers more personalized results.
When users can find more relevant information, it significantly improves their decision-making ability.
In today's digital workplace, it's imperative to break data silos and gain a true understanding of your information landscape.
An enterprise search platform utilizing semantically intelligent search can look at the contextual meaning of the words used in a search and deliver results that are more relevant to the user. By extracting relevant meaning from your knowledge base, you will be prepared to make tough decisions with confidence.
The data-driven insights provided by an enterprise search platform are the key to making decisions in the best interest of your business. Tools such as data analysis and intelligent search allow you to tap the full potential of your knowledge base.
These knowledge management techniques are the driving factors that help you improve decision-making within your organization. Ultimately, that is the key to achieving better business outcomes.
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