Using information in decision making – 5 problems, 5 solutions

How to use information in decision making?

The existence of information in an organization does not in itself ensure its role in decision making. Unused or inaccessible information is, however, idle capital. What are the most typical problems related to information in organizations? And how can these be solved?

1. Large amount of data


This easily causes distress in modern organizations, as what is lacking is relevant information, which would be of key importance to one’s own work and the organization. Digitalization allows for the exponential growth of information, but digitalization on the other hand also provides a solution for the screening of relevant information. Powerful tools for the collection, processing and management of information are required to cope with the flood of information.

Solution: Invest in digitalization.


2. Solutions based on previously accumulated information


It is easier to rely on familiar routines than to break with old habits by, for example, using media monitoring to actively follow what is going on in the world right now. Silent information, which has been accumulating in an organization over the years, is excellent capital, which often forms the basis for the company’s success. Old routines may, however, become a trap in which a company eventually gets stuck. Situations change, competitors and clients operate in new ways, and a company stuck in one place will be at disadvantage.

Solution: Validate your strategy on a regular basis through external information.


3. Rear View Mirror Syndrome


Instead of looking sideways or forward, one’s glance is fixed on the past. Successful management requires a scenario working mode, though, in which existing information is combined with forecasting tools.

Solution: Invest in analysis methods and trainings.


4. Lack of resources


The decision maker’s time constraints do not allow for the monitoring of unprocessed raw data. The lack of resources to make information understandable and interpretable often forms an obstacle to effective informed leadership. Although digitalization helps with the collection and preliminary processing, in the end there is nothing which could replace the importance of experienced information professionals and analysts.

Decision makers need analyzed and content-enriched information to make use of it in management. At some point, the trend was reversed so that companies started to give up on information professionals and analysts, because it was believed that technology would solve the challenges of informed leadership. Now, these professionals are in demand again as the gap between raw data and analyzed information is constantly widening.

Solution: Invest in skilled information professionals and analysts.


5. Siloing


This problem is related to an organization’s internal communications. The company’s various units and individuals have accumulated massive amounts of data, which usually is rarely used as it does not move between units or persons. There is no system, culture, processes or technical solutions for the sharing of information within the organization. A typical business leader’s comment relates to the distress he/she is experiencing due to the lack of information exchange and the problems related to internal communications.

Solution: Change attitudes and behaviours as well as invest in platforms enabling technical information collection and exchange.



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