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Book Review: The Deciding Factor By Larry Rosenberger and John Nash

April 12, 2009

Rosenberger and Nash have put together a concise, well written and relatively easy to follow book to explain exactly how using analytics will enhance your business decisions. Practical methods are given with examples to demonstrate how to apply the theory. The Deciding Factor is for any manager, leader, entrepreneur, and IT professional.   The authors use several high-profile companies to put together case studies demonstrating the value of analytics or how the absence of analytics caused poor decisions to be made. They point out that there are several societal trends which require us to change our business models.     An Increasingly Cashless Economy enables Tracking of More Customer Data  Multiple Companies Sharing Data About Customers they have in Common  New Technologies being developed to Enable the Use of Unstructured Data  Obtaining Data from Social Networking sites  Companies from emerging Markets Competing for their Share of Consumer spending      Companies who are responding to the changing trends are rapidly revising how they make decisions and are automating much of the process. Industries that seem to be ahead in this move to improve are: Retail Banking, Credit Cards, Health care, Insurance, Telecom. Many companies will find they have to update their IT infrastructure as well as manage the change in decision making with their employees.   The authors use Fair Isaac’s Decision Methodology to demonstrate how a fully integrated IT assisted might evolve. The method is a “circular, continuous improvement process” which might be thought of as seven stages – Stage 1) Set Decision Strategy: Identify, assess, and link business objectives to decision improvements. Stage 2) Identify Decision Yield: Determine critical decisions and potential decision yield. Stage 3) Design Decision Architecture: Design the architecture for your decision environment. Stage 4) Build Data Environment: Develop and/or integrate the data environment required to inform decisions. Stage 5) Build Mathematical Models: Develop and implement mathematical models to improve decisions. Stage 6) Build Operational Environment: Develop, implement, and modify the operational environment to enable decision execution. Stage 7) Continually Improve Decisions: Operate, monitor and improve the decision environment. (Back to Stage 1, closing the circle). Each of these stages is then explained in detail. For example, in Stage 1), the key questions for the organization to ask about the Decision Strategy are outlined: What are the Possibilities? What are the important opportunities in alignment with company strategy or problems to be solved? What are the most important decisions related to these opportunities? How should opportunities be pursued based on priorities?  I believe the case is made that the continuing productivity improvements from our IT investments will come from using Analytics to help make rational, data driven decisions to better serve customers and clients. The Deciding Factor provides a clear understanding and methodology to move your company to the next level of productivity.   Wiley books are available at your local bookstore or by calling 880-225-5945 in the USA or 800-567-4797 in Canada. Or you can get the book at Amazon.comRosenberger and Nash have put together a concise, well written and relatively easy to follow book to explain exactly how using analytics will enhance your business decisions. Practical methods are given with examples to demonstrate how to apply the theory. The Deciding Factor is for any manager, leader, entrepreneur, and IT professional.

The authors use several high-profile companies to put together case studies demonstrating the value of analytics or how the absence of analytics caused poor decisions to be made. They point out that there are several societal trends which require us to change our business models.

  • An Increasingly Cashless Economy enables Tracking of More Customer Data
  • Multiple Companies Sharing Data About Customers they have in Common
  • New Technologies being developed to Enable the Use of Unstructured Data
  • Obtaining Data from Social Networking sites
  • Companies from emerging Markets Competing for their Share of Consumer spending

Companies who are responding to the changing trends are rapidly revising how they make decisions and are automating much of the process. Industries that seem to be ahead in this move to improve are: Retail Banking, Credit Cards, Health care, Insurance, Telecom. Many companies will find they have to update their IT infrastructure as well as manage the change in decision making with their employees.

The authors use Fair Isaac’s Decision Methodology to demonstrate how a fully integrated IT assisted might evolve. The method is a “circular, continuous improvement process” which might be thought of as seven stages – Stage 1) Set Decision Strategy: Identify, assess, and link business objectives to decision improvements. Stage 2) Identify Decision Yield: Determine critical decisions and potential decision yield. Stage 3) Design Decision Architecture: Design the architecture for your decision environment. Stage 4) Build Data Environment: Develop and/or integrate the data environment required to inform decisions. Stage 5) Build Mathematical Models: Develop and implement mathematical models to improve decisions. Stage 6) Build Operational Environment: Develop, implement, and modify the operational environment to enable decision execution. Stage 7) Continually Improve Decisions: Operate, monitor and improve the decision environment. (Back to Stage 1, closing the circle).
Each of these stages is then explained in detail. For example, in Stage 1), the key questions for the organization to ask about the Decision Strategy are outlined: What are the Possibilities? What are the important opportunities in alignment with company strategy or problems to be solved? What are the most important decisions related to these opportunities? How should opportunities be pursued based on priorities?

I believe the case is made that the continuing productivity improvements from our IT investments will come from using Analytics to help make rational, data driven decisions to better serve customers and clients. The Deciding Factor provides a clear understanding and methodology to move your company to the next level of productivity.

Wiley books are available at your local bookstore or by calling 880-225-5945 in the USA or 800-567-4797 in Canada. Or you can get the book at Amazon.com

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