- “Analytics” has eclipsed all other keywords searched for on the INFORMS website.
- Big data won’t solve our innovation challenges and we need human judgment.
- Incorporating human judgment with Data Analytics leads to powerful marketing insights.
- Decision Analysis tools produce powerful analytics that drive a day-to-day supply chain operation.
- Embedded decision analysis involves integrating the principles of decision analysis in regular work processes and shifting our focus from delivering decisions to delivering results.
- Applying decision analysis in other domains without wearing the “decision analysis” badge works well.
John Busbice, chief architect of the MIDA® decision support system and chief product officer at Keen Decision Systems, illustrated how marketing, like big wave surfing, is now about leveraging big data to go to where the big waves are. Combining data and judgment provides better results than just using one or the other for marketing mix decisions. Statistical methods can help us find patterns but they are limited to what we can see in the data. Human judgment can be creative and logical but it is limited by instinctual biases. Using the strength of one to counteract the weakness of the other makes for a powerful combination. Combining Decision Analysis with data analysis allows us to systematically incorporate human judgment. By incorporating human judgement as prior probability assessments, John does Bayesian updates and develops marketing mix models that learn from data.
Vikram Naidu, Finance Leader for Print and Digital at Chegg at time of this writing and current VP of Finance at Lyft, shared how he uses the tools of Decision Analysis, in particular, the Tornado diagram, to identify key metrics that drive the value of a book purchased on their site. These metrics then drive supply chain operations, with targets that are monitored and fed back into Vikram’s model. Vikram has created a decision process where, without much fanfare around Decision Analysis, he is able to focus the organization’s conversations around uncertainties that really matter. Thus, he focuses on basic conversations around clarity on the problem to be solved and uses modeling to help key stakeholders appreciate uncertainty in their operations.
Clint Korver, a former DA consultant, serial entrepreneur and presently a Managing Director at Ulu Ventures, noted that he was far more effective when using the principles of decision analysis without a “decision analyst” badge. He used the example of a colleague who struggled as a decision analyst. This person became a high-performer when he moved over to business development and applied decision analysis principles without the fanfare of consulting. The key to his success was in adapting the language of decision analysis to his applied domain. Clint also gave his own example, where, as a venture capitalist, he is judged by the standards of his profession – the quality of the companies he invests in. He uses Decision Analysis heavily which makes him unique and stand out. People care about his approach only because he delivers results with it.
- start focusing on improving the business process of organizations to incorporate key principles of decision analysis.
- stop trying to sell “Decision Analysis consulting.”
- speak the language of the client and not in “strange tongues.”
- be humble.
- be open to learning, instead of just teaching.
- Focus on the deliverable
- Don’t present DA as only process, but focus on results too
- Connect with client results
- Show how this will deliver results
- Focus on application
- Wrap DA with results
- bringing Decision Analysis into Data Analytics.
- focusing on framing before we get into analytics.
- not taking the human out of the loop.
- having conversations on uncertainty about prior knowledge
- not take big data as “the solution.”
- not let data distract us from the opportunity