Decision Intelligence: What Today's CIO Needs to Consider

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More than any other C-suite executive, the CIO plays a key role in the decisions around emerging intelligent technologies.

The concept of Decision Intelligence is generating a great deal of interest among C-suite executives, and it’s of particular interest to the CIO. Leading the way when it comes to the company’s long-term technology strategy and infrastructure design, CIOs have an insider view into the challenges companies face when they try to extract valuable insights from their data—and, as they work to maximize ROI and resource allocation at the same time.

Understanding ‘What is Decision Intelligence?’ Is Just the Beginning

For Decision Intelligence to solve the technical issues organizations today are facing, CIOs must:

  • Spend considerable time perfecting the integration of Decision Intelligence infrastructure with existing systems
  • Strategically allocate work to labor resources based on their area of expertise, versus taking a one-size-fits-all approach
  • Manage the company’s IT projects in a way that encourages accelerated and cross learning within the systems
  • Be flexible enough to pivot when business needs change, putting systems and processes in place that can do the same

Merge Decision Intelligence Technology with Existing Systems

Sometimes, real-estate investors conclude it is better to tear an entire house down and rebuild from the ground up, rather than fixing existing problems. A CIO might reach the same conclusion.

However, it’s not that simple—although building an entirely new technology infrastructure for a large company is rarely, if ever, described as “simple.”

To implement Decision Intelligence, project leaders must achieve buy-in from other stakeholders. Part of the challenge is the fact that humans don’t like change, and they especially dislike radical change. In addition, organizations tend to have at least some reliance on their current systems and processes, and this reliance is reinforced when those systems and processes serve their purpose.

Because of this, a Decision Intelligence system should be able to sync with existing systems; it should have the capability to crawl and explore different technologies, translate and disperse learnings throughout the system, and give insightful responses and feedback. This can usually be achieved by strategically overlaying the new system on top of the existing one. The technology team must invest as much time as necessary to ensure the integration works seamlessly.

Realize the Value of Decision Intelligence by Assigning Labor Resources Efficiently

One major issue IT departments consistently face is underutilizing the highly talented and knowledgeable individuals on the team. Although not done purposely, it’s very common for technology teams to be offloaded with mundane system tasks that are a result of poor infrastructure. All too often, the needs of non-tech executives and managers don’t align with the way the system was designed to function.

A successful adoption of Decision Intelligence results in technology workers being used in ways that maximize the value they can provide. Organizations will need to upgrade their visions of key roles (data engineer, business analyst, data scientist, and others), or otherwise help create the environment in which each person has the space and support to take a more strategic approach to work.

Prioritize System Projects that will Simplify Capabilities in the Future

When strategizing how to begin using Decision Intelligence, CIOs should work with organizational leaders to determine the most pressing business needs. Outside of this, starting with functions that feed into other processes is ideal.

For instance, working on a project that results in the system being capable of showing inventory numbers in real time will make it easier when your focus shifts to having the system provide real-time financial statement data based on different scenarios. Inventory and cost of goods sold affect financial performance significantly, so finishing the first project would place the company several steps ahead towards finishing the second one. It’s akin to freeing two birds with one key.

Intelligent Automation Delivers Flexibility

Fully adopting Decision Intelligence, and the new business mindset that comes along with it, will always shake up an organization. It’s important for technology leaders to understand this and embrace the spirit of flexibility—there will likely be pain points, but it’s essential organizations have someone who leads the way.

The Decision Intelligence mindset is all about making business more efficient by reducing waste. Machines, guided by people, can take on manual tasks so that valuable resources can be rechanneled into other areas that will radically transform the way decisions are made.

The future of decision making is here, now, and it is Decision Intelligence. But this isn’t a one-time challenge. Companies must remain flexible going forward. As Decision Intelligence technology evolves and learns from historical decisions and data over time, these needs will continue to change.

For a company that begins its Decision Intelligence transformation today, there’s no way to predict exactly how high its performance will increase over time—but major companies like Unilever are already seeing those gains, and experts in Decision Intelligence say the potential for growth is exponential.

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