What Do We Mean When We Say: Decision Intelligence

Let's unpack the conversation around "decision intelligence."

Decision intelligence is an engineering discipline that augments data science with theory from social science, decision theory, and managerial science. The application of decision intelligence provides a framework for best practices in organizational decision-making, as well as processes for applying machine learning at scale.

It is commonplace for humans to make a lot of decisions throughout the day. What if those decisions number in the millions? What if they climb to the trillions? You need to be able to eliminate humans from the decision-making process, so it can scale up to meet the largest data sets and problems. And, of course, removing humans also removes bias.

If you have ever faced frustration over any activity due to indecisiveness, then you are facing decision fatigue. You are simply tired of making decisions — maybe even tired of making the same ones repeatedly.

Decision intelligence is a crucial topic that deals with choosing between alternatives. There is high unpredictability of business outcomes in today’s age. There are more options, choices, and models to choose from than ever before. The onus on business decision-making is to be quick, precise, and mindful of the entirety of your company.

This is why the decision-making process needs to evolve. That realization led to the emergence of decision intelligence to help make accurate, strong, and efficient decisions based on knowledge-led actions.

The Nuts and Bolts of Decision Intelligence

So what, really, is decision intelligence? Decision intelligence helps business leaders rely on automated processes to make accurate decisions using various techniques. It is an emerging field that uses machine intelligence to design and align decision processes and models throughout any company across any decision model.

It doesn’t matter what model you apply — applying them equally and at scale is what is important. It’s a machine learning function. Decision intelligence includes decision support and management in a descriptive and predictive manner. It can improve the value and reduce the time taken to decide, across the board.

Decision intelligence also reduces the risk of making a wrong choice, since your tools have learned which decisions are the "right" ones.

Let's unpack the conversation around "decision intelligence."

The decision-making process for most businesses is mostly the same, across industries. You gather data, visualize it, find critical insights, and then use those insights to make decisions. There isn’t a lot of “what if” to stall out such process-driven decisions.

Thus decision intelligence is a linear process that makes decisions after the data is collected and understood. In traditional decision-making processes, the unpredictability and complexity of global organizations were not properly factored in, largely because of a lack of applicable data.

This is all changing, and decision intelligence is helping with the new world of decision making. There is exponential growth potential, particulary as older models become unsustainable alongside the better results and more fruitful outcomes yielded by decision intelligence.

Decision intelligence in general helps your organization evolve it interface with advanced technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing, intelligent apps, and more. Instead of relying on a mix of data and human insights, human bias is eliminated altogether.

You can use data to find answers to “what if” questions and see whether — and how — a given decision will affect your company. You can make decisions based on a combination of accumulated knowledge from past decisions and data-driven predictions about the future.

Key Benefits of Decision Intelligence

There are a lot of benefits to decision intelligence. The most important benefit, of course, is that it takes less human work to make decisions. According to a recent survey, 91 percent of companies feel that data-driven decision-making can improve business growth and business outcomes.

Everyone wants to make data-driven decisions but not everyone wants to remove humans from the process. This is where the real benefits lie. Harvesting the benefits of data intelligence for decision-making can be tough. To make better decisions, you need to analyze data and make predictions.

AI and other augmented intelligence processes can help find patterns, tracking anomalies in data to augment decision-making and influence outcomes. This all results in faster decisions, since big decisions are often time-consuming.

Let's unpack the conversation around "decision intelligence."

Multiple stakeholders are involved in any major business decision, so wasting less of their time is key. Some stakeholders take a lot of time evaluating options, some waste time making the right choice, and others do not estimate all factors in mind.

With AI systems, it is easy and possible to process very large amounts of data precisely. With decision intelligence, a company can provides multiple problem-solving options to all their stakeholders. Decision intelligence uses AI algorithms to make decisions.

These processes can also highlight how decisions alter outcomes. You can flexibly solve multiple problems, and you can also see which solutions work best in the process. You can choose the best choice from a multitude of options, keeping goals and growth strategies in mind. All of these can be preprogrammed into machine learning sequences from the beginning.

At times, a business faces more problems than one. One problem might be tied up with another one, or perhaps even amplify the effect of a different problem. This leads to multiple problems, leading to a need for improved processes.

The Human Element

Another benefit to decision intelligence is that it eliminates mistakes and biases from the decision-making process. In any decision, there is a chance for bias to influence outcomes. Since humans are involved, personal bias and mistakes can come in making decisions. Decision intelligence negates the influence of these mistakes and biases.

Let's unpack the conversation around "decision intelligence."

Programmed algorithms are less prone to the sort of fretting or fuming that can derail human thinking. Decision intelligence can help make better, smart decisions and avoid conflict in values and interests. These decisions are not prone to cognitive bias and hence can help shortlist the best outcomes.

As AIs become smarter and human faults are increasingly removed from the decision-making process, an increasingly larger portion of decisions will be automated. The process itself needs to be better.

I believe this will be the trend going forward for common business processes. An AI will make the decision, and then a human will make sure it is correct, rather than the reverse. In the meantime, we can all get a little smarter as we make our way through the world.

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About the Author
Nathan Kimpel is a seasoned information technology and operations executive.

Nathan Kimpel is a seasoned information technology and operations executive with a diverse background in all areas of company functionality, and a keen focus on all aspects of IT operations and security. Over his 20 years in the industry, he has held every job in IT and currently serves as a Project Manager in the St. Louis (Missouri) area, overseeing 50-plus projects. He has years of success driving multi-million dollar improvements in technology, products and teams. His wide range of skills include finance, ERP and CRM systems. Certifications include PMP, CISSP, CEH, ITIL and Microsoft.