The Decision Dilemma: How More Data Causes Anxiety And Decision Paralysis

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    A survey of over 14,000 employees and business leaders in 17 countries found that “decision paralysis” is an increasingly common problem. Unfortunately, the negative effects of this phenomenon are causing difficulties in both our personal and business lives.

    of The 2023 decision-making dilemma A global survey found that 83% of us agree that access to data is essential to support business decision-making, yet 86% say data causes them to lose confidence. 85% were found to be suffering from “decision distress” – feelings of regret over decisions. Created in the past year. He said 72% of those who took part in the survey say that data is making them incapable of making decisions, leading to decision paralysis.

    This is not a new problem. In my work, it’s not uncommon for people to feel “drowned in data”. However, this is the first study I have seen that attempts to quantify the doubt and anxiety this is causing.

    To identify a solution, I spoke with James Richardson, Vice President of Product Strategy and Analysis at Oracle.

    he tells me:

    “The limited resource in making decisions is time, not data. It’s how you handle it.”

    The answer is clearly not a return to the “bad old days” when information was a scarce commodity, expensive to obtain and difficult to make sense of. Today, data is widely used in all areas of business to drive growth and streamline operations. And a new class of artificial intelligence (AI) tools aimed at helping businesses manipulate the data they own means less guesswork and less intuition is involved in making choices. .

    Some examples: Marketing departments rely on customer demographic data and behavioral data such as purchase history to present the right products and services to the right consumer at the right time.

    Operations uses data to optimize supply chains, identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies, forecast demand, and help make decisions about inventory and resource management.

    HR uses employee data to create an efficient workforce, identify areas to focus training and recruiting efforts on, and measure and evaluate staff performance.

    Finance also uses data to predict performance, assess the value of a business’s products and services, and identify where efficiency can be improved through cost savings.

    A key insight from the report is that while we know data is critical to business success, we often don’t feel like we have the tools and technology in place to make the most of it. is.

    Robotic decision making

    According to one leading statistic, 64% of us (this rises to 70% if we only talk to business leaders) may prefer to simply leave these decisions in the hands of robots or AI. I have.

    “I think it’s very interesting,” Richardson said.

    “If you are comfortable entrusting your physical safety to increasingly advanced self-driving cars, then you can see why people are moving in that direction.”

    But what this really tells us, he believes, is not that we want to abdicate all responsibility for decision-making.

    “What they’re really saying is ‘help me,'” says Richardson. “Obviously, humans are limited in their ability to process data, so why not use machines?”

    This also increases the need to establish a balance as we move from an era when insights were traditionally handed down from business analysts to an era of “self-service” analytics where more and more everyone has the power to find out. It highlights that there is the answers they need. In my experience, the organizations that make this transition successfully are the ones that commit resources to support their employees through these changes. This includes initiatives such as setting up data and analytics hubs. There, people with specialized training in technology and techniques can let go of the non-travelers to some extent.

    Overcoming data paralysis – NHS

    He cites the UK’s NHS as an example of an organization that is already taking proactive steps to remedy the situation. This makes him one of the world’s largest employers responsible for providing healthcare to nearly 70 million citizens.

    In particular, business services departments have made it a priority to put vast amounts of data at their fingertips for stakeholders from clinicians to patients to business managers.

    Having set a ‘conservative target’ to help the organization save £1bn ($1.2bn), NHS commissioners quickly identified savings potential of around £100m ($1.24m) I was able to do. This was done purely by identifying outliers in spending on prescription drugs by dentists and pharmacists—statistics that don’t seem to match the general trend.

    Awareness-raising initiatives have since been launched aimed at informing dentists and pharmacies where this extraordinary spending is taking place. This may include reducing overprescription when patients receive multiple treatments for the same condition, or switching to generic rather than branded drug offerings. This has proven effective in generating savings.

    The truth is, these departments have always had the data they need to make decisions, but the insights that came to light and the benefits came only when they were given a hand to process it. It was time.

    I talked to Nina Monkton, Chief Insights Officer for the NHS Business Insights team (now DataHead of Data at Just Group plc), said that based on this success, her organization is determined to overcome this data paralysis. He told me he has three ongoing priorities to focus on.

    Second, it creates a system that pushes insights directly to decision makers who can use it, but decision makers may not have the skills, time or inclination to seek them out on their own.

    “Whether it’s an email, a text, or whatever,” she tells me.

    The third is to increase data transparency and implement “open data” systems and policies.

    Monckton said: be able to “

    Richardson believes that technologies such as AI, along with the data and analytics that accompany them, will ultimately bring long-term benefits to both businesses and our personal lives.

    long term benefits

    “I like the idea of ​​a human working four days a week, and I think the way to achieve that is to be more productive with machines,” he says.

    “There’s a lot of work in managerial decision-making that can be automated, and there were some concerns around that, but it’s starting to happen…I think it’s a phase shift in human society. I’ve grown accustomed to living with data, but I often feel insecure and under pressure.”

    It certainly makes sense that industrial and social change of this magnitude is likely to come with a sense of unease when we begin to step in. But with proper planning, technology and strategic goals I believe that with careful coordination of , and a focus on ensuring that we use appropriate and relevant data and tools, we will begin to treat information as a valid ally rather than a cause. of stress and anxiety.

    you can click here Read the full interview with Oracle’s Vice President of Product Strategy, James Richardson. If you want to read the full insight from , you can find it here. The 2023 decision-making dilemma.


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