Automate or Procrastinate? How Operational Decision Management Allows You to Do Both
cheryl wilson 270003VHSH firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  operational-decision-mana... business-rules business-rule-management decision-management
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In a recent post titled “Overcoming Decision Latency with Operational Decision Management,” I pointed to some evidence that waiting too long for a response can reduce the perceived quality of the decision. Since this blog is dedicated to improving the timing and quality of operational decision making, I wanted to revisit the issue of timing again not only to reinforce the influence of timing on decision quality, but to explore a bit further the importance of understanding how long we have to decide before we impact quality.
As it relates to timing, I think there’s probably too much talk these days about making decisions faster, in real time, warp time, whatever. We get it. Working in the decision management space, I hear and see this all the time, and frequently preach it myself because a key benefit of decision automation software is the ability to make more precise decisions faster, in real time. And when we’re talking about those frequently occurring, repeatable decisions, with well-defined criteria, this benefit has many proof points. If you can determine the eligibility of an applicant faster or deliver the right upsell offer quicker, that directly affects the quality of that interaction, not to mention overall operational efficiency.
But there’s a flipside to the “faster is better” song. It’s procrastination. In an online article, Why Procrastination is Good for You, University of San Diego professor Frank Partnoy argues that “the key to success is waiting for the last possible moment to make a decision.” His argument is useful and entertaining – examining decision making in business, sports, comedy, medicine, the military, and dating. Personally, the primary takeaway is this: You need to understand the “time worlds” in which your decisions live. Paraphrasing Partnoy, you need to understand what is the longest amount of time you can take before making this decision? What is the maximum amount of time you have to respond? In knowing this, you can then take advantage of that amount of time to process the information required to make a better decision without impacting response quality.
So, fast or slow? This goes back to the relativity of decision latency from the previous post: “Not all decision latencies are created equal. Certain types of decisions, such as online cross-sell, require tighter response times.” And others don’t. So, again, understand not only what decisions you need to make and how you’re going to make them, but also when you need to make them.
Automate or procrastinate? Both. In fact, it’s been proven that when you automate key operational decisions for better consistency, precision and speed, you can free up humans to handle exceptions and new opportunities more effectively with a higher level of focus and service. Partnoy might say that you free them up to procrastinate well, mastering the art of managing delay.
Decision automation software, like business rule and operational management systems, enable organizations to practice the art of the delay by automating those repeatable, operational decisions that are better made by systems that embed human expertise for consistency and speed. In doing so, you make it easier for humans to take the time needed to make better tactical or strategic decisions. These systems can even help guide human decision making up to the last possible moment to respond.
So, practice good procrastination and rely on business rule or operational decision management systems to automate those frequently occurring, repeatable decisions, especially those that change frequently, liking pricing, to ensure decision making that your clients can embrace.
If you want to learn more about automating operational decisions using IBM’s next generation business rule management software, click here.