Decision Making in Uncertain Times

Leaders know that making good, fast decisions is challenging under the best of circumstances. But, the trickiest decisions are those we call “big bets” – unfamiliar and high-stakes decisions. When you have a crisis of uncertainty, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which arrived at overwhelming speed and enormous scale, organizations face a potentially paralyzing volume of these big-bet decisions.

In the world of finance, an event that brings big uncertainty is called a “black swan.” In his best-selling 2007 book about unpredictable events, “The Black Swan,” mathematician Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains the concept as having three aspects: “First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact.’ Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.”

There are many discussions about whether the COVID-19 pandemic is the black swan of 2020. One thing that is for sure is now business leaders are being forced to make decisions under uncertainty.

Data and Analytics Are The Hero In The Face of Uncertainty

To overcome the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions that businesses face, decision makers are now more in the need for an integrated view of the business, honed with the use of data and analytics. Here are my three recommendations for managing uncertainty and what to seek in a data and analytics platform to support it.

  • The need to push decision-making outward and downward: In uncertainty, more decisions need to be made by those closest to new information. This means pushing decision-making outward and downward, toward where new information is originating and where it can be acted on most swiftly. This means enabling every employee in an organization with data literacy. The Qlik Analytics Platform enables anyone to access, analyze and take action with data with Augmented Intelligence capabilities. Every employee in the organization can analyze the data with the ease of just asking their questions in natural language, and relevant suggested insights are automatically generated for them visually and in natural language text.
  • The need for real-time, agile decision-making: Postponing decisions to wait for batch data updates can be acceptable during business as usual. But when the environment is uncertain and defined by urgency, every employee in the organization needs access to relevant, accurate and timely analytics. This requires the use of a data integration platform that efficiently delivers large volumes of real-time, analytics-ready data, thus extending enterprise data into live streams. Qlik’s unique Change Data Capture (CDC) technology enables real-time data replication, providing decision makers with real-time insights, empowering them to act faster than the changing business conditions.
  • The need to move from risk to resilience: The interconnectedness of the global economy today means that unexpected events, such as COVID-19, can ripple through the world’s supply chain and affect customers everywhere. This demands organizations to use an analytics platform that can associate data from multiple data sources and is agnostic, with a scalable cloud native architecture that can support large volumes of data and users to easily monitor risks and predict disruptions.

Although Diseases Spread Fast, Data-Driven Knowledge Can Spread Even Faster

I would like to finish my blog with something that makes me happy and hopeful in these uncertain times. Terms like data and analytics are ones that most of us associate exclusively with the business world. However, in recent days, I have seen more examples of the use of analytics and data in everyday life for the help of tracking the spread of COVID-19.

I am especially amazed by the efforts of our Qlik Community in helping to bring data and analytics to the public with the power of our analytics platform in response to the COVID-19 crisis. See below three of the dashboards that community members created. Some of them are being constantly shared on social media to inform everyone about the spread.

  • Created by: Maria Sandorova; link to dashboard.

  • Created by: Shima Auzins; link to dashboard.

  • Created by: Jochem Zwienenberg; link to dashboard

The rapid spread of COVID-19 reminds us how our wellbeing is interconnected, and peoples’ flurry of heartwarming responses in the face of this crisis reveal our tremendous willingness and ability to help one another. For Qlik Community members, those responses spread knowledge about the power of data and analytics. I am confident that these truths – about our willingness to help one another and our capacity to do so – will persist when life goes back to normal. Stay safe and healthy!

Visit the Coronavirus COVID-19 | Qlik Community Response page to view more dashboards.

Now more than ever decision makers at businesses need to use #data & #analytics to manage the uncertainty created by #COVID19. Read the latest blog post by @elif_tutuk to learn more.

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