Business as unusual : data and science can help leaders
Updated: Sep 30, 2020
Impact of current pandemic is testing all business leaders in a brutal way. The challenge for all of us is to make decisions fast, and under great uncertainty. Stakes have never been higher on the outcome of our decisions. How do we make the best decisions in such conditions?
While emotions and intuitions can narrow or expand the span of attention; data and science can provide leaders a good handle on how their values and informal judgement should shape what they do. It is also in our experience that solutions to complex problems such as these ,based on uncertain assumptions are best explored through formal visualization.
In data driven approach, teams across organizations are identifying influencing factors, constraints, risks and relating them to a set of outcomes. These ideas and hypotheses thus modeled with data sets are tested to validate the assumptions and to generate options for informed decisions. It is not to say that we can quantify all assumptions but a probabilistic model may allow us to say which uncertainty the predicted outcome was most sensitive to. Simulation of scenarios with different data sets and different data models expands the options for leaders to take decisions for the outcome and their assumptions.
But this approach may have a practical challenge. Organizations and teams may lack the data agility which means analytics-ready-data may not be available on demand. If changes in data, data sets and data sources are adding days or weeks to make data analytics-ready, it fails the very purpose of generating options for leaders especially in times when business is unusual.
Investments and innovations are being made in this space, as data driven enterprises are building these capabilities and next generation unified data platforms are helping organizations to achieve the real management agility that is demanded by modern business climate.
As Mike Nader of Incorta sums it up in recent discussions “Smart organization needs tools to cultivate a culture of curiosity and that is achieved only when smart leaders have data and insights to play and experiment with.”