When the Decision-Making Swamp Rises
This decision-making swamp is beautiful and still--and potentially treacherous. The trees growing in it have hidden roots so deep and so tangled that it is impossible not to trip over them. Where can you step to avoid being sucked in? You can’t see the forest and you can’t see the light.
If you drain it, if you remove what's in it, slowly the swamp will rise again. Once again, you won't be able to see in it, around it or above it. If your information becomes mired in the swamp, you probably won't see it again.
It is as hard to drain the decision-making swamp as it is any other swamp. It obscures your view takes time and energy and hard work and, when you’re done, you’re still not sure that it won't fill up again.
Most importantly, it breaks your focus. And your focus should be only on making a decision and not on tasks like information-gathering and analysis.
A Decision-Making Swamp Dweller or a Swamp Drainer?
If you live near a swamp, at some point you will have to decide whether you are a decision-making swamp dweller or a swamp drainer.
Decision-Making Swamp Dweller
The decision-making swamp dweller works in an environment where the information they need to operate is obscured or consuming and often inaccessible. Dwellers might be prone to poor decision-making when a blind eye is turned to The No. 1 Reason Intelligent People Make Bad Decisions
Decision-Making Swamp Drainer
While the decision-making swamp drainer may face the same environment initially, their intent is to remove the obstacles in the way of obtaining the information they need. Essentially, they subscribe to the premise that The Best Approach to Decision Making Combines Data and Managers’ Expertise.
If you fall into the swamp dweller category, likely this post will not be of interest to you unless your intent is to become a drainer.
DSS for Decision-Making Swamp Drainers
What both Dwellers and Drainers need is a good DSS--a decision support system. Drainers are more likely to use it.
Business intelligence tools are essentially data-driven Decision Support Systems (DSS). BI is sometimes used interchangeably with briefing books, report and query tools and executive information systems. With these tools, business people can start analyzing the data themselves, rather than wait for IT to run complex reports. This information access helps users back up business decisions with hard numbers, rather than only gut feelings and anecdotes.
The Knowledge Management Pyramid
Knowledge Management is at the apex of a pyramid with data and information management as its base.
DSS uses the summary information, exceptions, patterns, and trends using the analytical models. A decision support system helps in decision-making but does not necessarily give a decision itself. The decision makers compile useful information from raw data, documents, personal knowledge, and/or business models to identify and solve problems and make decisions.