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June 12, 2023

Unlocking the Value of Your Data Investments: How Decision Intelligence Can Maximize ROI

To deal with accelerating disruptions in today’s business environment, companies find themselves heavily invested in cloud, BI and analytics solutions, yet current economic uncertainty makes it even more critical that they’re being leveraged for maximum ROI.

Any leader who’s led through market downturns knows that coming out stronger means doing more with less. The key question is how to cut costs while on offense; using your constraints to rethink your process and offerings to focus on short and medium term ROI rather than defensive, short-term thinking. To paraphrase Drucker,

“The business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. These produce results; all the rest are costs.”

We invited Walter Lloyd, an Enterprise Business, Innovation and Technical Leader with 32 years in Retail, Oil and Gas, Hospitality, and Insurance, to share about the challenges encountered with Data, Analytics when it comes to business decisions.” He notes that “Innovation is the result of engagement and collaboration, and data is the bridge that connects business, IT and stakeholders”. Recent studies continue to show product and process innovation and the effect of data in the top 3 value add categories for technology and IT leaders.

In a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services survey, 44% of executives said their organizations are ineffective at deriving market insights from analytics. In another survey, only 14% rated their organizations highly on their ability to act quickly on such insights to deliver desired business outcomes. As Lloyd rightly points out, “Dashboards provide a point in time visualization of what has happened but, no insight on what action can or should be taken. If the data is not actionable where is the value?” This implies that the path to ROI from BI & analytics is better decisions, not better dashboards, and that bridging the “last mile,” the gap between uncovering data-driven insights and extracting value from them, continues to be a challenge for many organizations.

Why is Decision Intelligence crucial in attaining ROI from BI and analytics investments?

1. Closes the insight-to-action gap:

DI begins where BI stops! By harnessing the power of cognitive computing, in a matter of seconds, a robust DI system is capable of looking at every factor in both your data fabric and analytics stack, automatically surface insights, explain the key drivers that are impacting your metrics, then leverage that “knowledge” to deliver actionable recommendations, not just insights, thus accelerating and simplifying decision-making. As a result, business users immediately see the potential benefits and risks of their actions, in alignment with their business objectives. Being in the fuel and convenience domain, Lloyd is keenly aware that closing the gap on the decision process provides a measurable competitive advantage in a rapidly changing landscape. “The future belongs to the fast.”

2. Reduce Decision Latency to Unlock Immediate Business Value:

“A decision in time can save nine”, stands true in today’s business environment where inefficient decision making wastes time, money and productivity. As time goes by after a critical event, the ability to optimize the results of a decision steadily declines. Decision intelligence reduces the time it takes to make a decision in response to a business or marketplace change. It helps users immediately evaluate different scenarios and outcomes so they can make decisions and take action when it matters most – in the business moment.There are a number of analytics solutions that are available but few that provide a competitive advantage and allow you to see not just what happened but also why it happened and what actions you can take to get the desired business outcomes. This decision support capability is what led us to partner with Diwo” Lloyd explains. “We presented Diwo with several possible use cases as a proof of concept – governance, pricing model, inventory management – each offering a unique challenge. This type of flexibility offers us the opportunity to work on use cases as the business/market demands and meets our goal of a quick time to value.” DI delivers time sensitive recommendations to support collaborative decisions while fully explaining and defending the recommendation with evidence. This can only happen when the manual data analysis process, guesswork, and decision latency of traditional dashboards is eliminated. With DI, decision-makers can quickly understand data insights in the context of their current business situation and deliver immediate business value.

3. Aligns analytics with business goals:

One of the key challenges organizations face regarding BI and analytics is ensuring that the insights generated align with their business goals. DI leverages analytics investments, one use case at a time, to address specific business challenges and deliver measurable outcomes. As a result, the insights generated are relevant and actionable, leading to improved decision-making and ROI. In addition, DI continuously monitors your business environment and delivers recommendations to optimize business outcomes by revealing the impact across the entire organization.

4. Breaks down silos & naturally scales collaboration:

Besides correlating and synthesizing multiple related insights, Decision Intelligence applies business context in order to assist in creating an effective strategy. With more business context, it can help with “testing” or simulating strategies and assess the ripple effect of a specific course of action downstream, so decision-makers instantly understand the impact of their decision on adjacent areas of the business. With BI and analytics tools often used by different teams within an organization, DI helps to facilitate collaboration and communication between these teams by providing a common language and framework for decision-making. This helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal, leading to improved outcomes and ROI. Noting Diwo’s DI platform, Lloyd highlights that “As a process centric organization, We’re excited to have the ability to simulate the effect of changes up and down stream, to assist in preventing business, data and functional silos. We are able to eliminate technical debt and enhance the delivery QA process. Another major differentiator for Diwo.”  

5. Enables accuracy and continuous improvement:

BI and analytics tools are only as good as the data they analyze. By leveraging DI, organizations can improve the accuracy of insights by integrating multiple sources of data then learn from human expertise and implementation. “We found the value of an infallible data model and firm governance early in the process, Lloyd recognizes. Third party data was adopted early and used to measure consumer buying behaviors.”  By monitoring and learning from outcomes, organizations can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to address them. This helps to ensure that investments in BI and analytics continue to deliver value over time.

As decision makers are left grappling with more output from more tools and insights, BI can only continue to facilitate data exploration and analysis, and it’s simply not keeping up with the speed of business or accelerating data output.

Fortune 500 organizations are quickly realizing that maximizing the business value of their data and advanced analytics investments to create a competitive advantage requires DI.  By the end of the year, 30% of these enterprises will be implementing or exploring DI to drive ROI, following the footsteps of Lloyd’s fuel retail organization. “We see Diwo’ Decision Intelligence capablities fit to meet our business goals of time to value, process improvement and reduce/eliminate risk and time in the decision-making process” he concludes.

After hundreds of BI and advanced analytics implementations for leading Fortune 500s, Diwo was founded to close that gap between insight and action. It automatically synthesizes insights and recommends specific, quantified decisions along with interactive business levers. The promise of a DI platform that quantifies its recommendations means that ROI is inherently measurable, and we’ve seen 10x returns within the first year of implementation.