Everywhere we turn, we are surrounded by information in the form of big data and advanced analytics. But when it comes to making a complex decision, we rarely take advantage of these resources. Instead, we turn to the trusted techniques we’ve used in our past; the rules of thumb. Why? Is it fear of the unknown, comfort with the old tried and true, or is it risk aversion?
Typically, when an unknown, complex data analysis method is recommended as the ideal way to resolve an issue, provide greater insight into a situation, or help make an important decision, senior leaders will be reluctant– even if the new technology might provide significantly better direction. As Noble Laurate Daniel Kahneman might surmise, this is an example of the “affect heuristic” where decisions and judgments are guided by feelings of like and dislike, with little reason. The crux of the problem is the lack of understanding and distrust of advanced technologies.
Today’s contemporary technologies are changing our world forever. Our task is to sort through the marketing hype, decipher the “computerese” surrounding these technologies, and understand the capabilities they offer. Organizations must build their competencies throughout their ranks to take advantage of these advanced technologies.
Every organizations’ executives must become knowledgeable and comfortable with today’s advanced analytics techniques. They must approach them strategically and apply them appropriately. They can make sound, rational decisions based on data when addressing new ideas to best understand and interact with customers, offer better products and services, or improve business processes.
Middle managers need a deeper understanding of the technologies and the types of business opportunities and problems that these tools address. Managers must be able to recognize possible applications of the new methods and tools to provide appropriate recommendations to upper management. It is essential that they have the knowledge and skills to guide project teams tasked with the implementation of the solutions.
Recognizing that personnel skilled in advanced technologies are scarce, the organization must develop awareness and skills internally. While consultants will be of value, they lack the depth of knowledge of your business processes to implement significant change. Therefore, it is very important for companies to develop core skills in-house to innovate and take advantage of new opportunities.