Discussing speed in business has become synonymous with topics of systems and servers, networks, and devices. The thinking being that if your technology screams then your business will too. While, clearly there is some truth to this, what gets shuffled to the side (or overlooked, ignored even) is the timeliness, context, intelligence, and speed of access to accurate data and knowledge for your team, customers, clients, and stakeholders alike.
Sometimes it feels like the narrative is backwards. It's all well and good to be quick; but who is being quick, at what, and for what end result?
We strongly recommend Workflow Analysis as part of your speed in business self-reflection -- but with one important adjustment: Decision Intelligence Critical Moments needs to start the thought process.
Decision Intelligence focuses on business critical decisions and corresponding outcomes rather than automated or machine learning algorithms or humans alone. These are moments where critical decisions are needed to ensure that the correct next step, communication/message, and event triggers are managed accurately and completely. Businesses are looking for next-generation tools that augment their insights, speed and context, accuracy and ease of integration with your humans, staff, partners, stakeholders, and customers alike.
If business decisions are the cornerstone of success, however, shouldn't Decision Intelligence be getting more attention? It is a study of your business processes from the perspective of diving deeper into decision moments and underpinning decision culture being made at every stage; how decisions are impacting the overall speed, accuracy, and quality of your data output and therefore Customer Experience.
This is what we tend to call the "Human Element."
It's not enough to have fast servers if your team can't find the data they need when they need it, it's not enough to have accurate data if it's stuck in silos or departments that no one else has access to, and it's not enough to have sales if the fulfillment process from availability to communications to shipping is weak or incomplete.
The speed of your business is only as good as the speed and accuracy of your team -- and that means having the right data, at the right time, in the right place, for the right people.
Defining your Human Element we suggest completing three preliminary scenario-building steps in analyzing your Decision Intelligence Critical Moments before embarking on Workflow Analysis. Start at the end and work back, beginning when the end user or customer has received their final package or deliverable; now look back towards your team all the way to the start:
- Where and when are moments of truth in your businesses' front-facing operations happening? Your back-office operations? What is the time factor involved? Real time, near real time, same day, longer?
- Who, what human is in this Critical Moment? senior staff, junior staff, partners, customers, clients, analysts? The kind of Decision Intelligence your business needs is directly related to the persona and context in that need of the moment.
- What first-glance information do they need in the moment? Is there presentation style, dashboards, charts, look, drill-down, colour flags that can minimize the need to read from top to bottom? Or read at all?
Most often organizations will find critical decisions that need reading, assessment, discussion, and therefore time but are low value end results. Low value meaning that by having these steps, staff, energy, and time invested into this decision are you creating any higher level value for this sale, customer, or product?
A real world example (yes this actually happened) to exercise your Decision Intelligence Critical Moment muscles:
- A car accident puts the car into the shop and the insurance company provides you with a rental. They even pre-arrange your car options in an impressively simple email from their system with a link to the rental car portal. The linked rental car portal even knows your name and options pre-defined. Cool.
- Booking your car, you are provided with date selectors to choose your expected time needed. It also informs you that you can get a pick-up from your home or office, and select your time. Wow, very cool.
Experience is going very well so far. All decisions you've needed to make so far have been anticipated, fast, and clearly presented.
- With your car booked and time for pick-up scheduled. You've got peace of mind for the next few days you no longer have to think about it. On the morning of the car pick-up, your scheduled time is approaching and you've adjusted your day to be sure to be ready.
- You get a call from a human at the designated rental car location 10 minutes before your scheduled pick-up. They want to know when I want to pick up my car
Experience slipping very quickly -- and not just for you. That staffer also doesn't seem to really know what's going on and are, themselves, stressed about trying to handle this, even though this is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill car rental. Confusion kicks in, "why don't they already know everything I set up in their booking system?". Fair point.
- You remind them that you are waiting for them to pick you up -- about 15 minutes from now.
- They are very surprised hearing this, and inform you that they can't pick you up because they're the only one on staff at the moment. Plus they don't even have a car for me yet.
Experience has now completely fallen apart and it took just one phone conversation: "what the #$%^ is going on?". That's your amygdala kicking in telling you to run from the idiotic situation you find yourself in. But you can't because you do need that car and apparently forced to work with this vendor; so you're stuck and resentful, reminding yourself to not use this vendor when you next have a choice.
The speed of your business is only as good as the speed and accuracy of your ecosystem -- and that means having the right data, at the right time, in the right place, for the right people.
What Decision Intelligence Critical Moments have succeeded and failed here?
- insurance platform hand off to rental car company, simple and anticipatory
- rental car automated intake, fast, detailed, and accurate
- simple rental booking process, including add-on service scheduling
- weak rental booking accountability set at the local level
- apparent disconnect of availability of booked vehicle; wrong promise
- weak local staff awareness of booking details, needs, and time promises; confusion
This story could have easily been significantly better had there been better Decision Intelligence Critical Moments following the entirety of the customer's experience as well as the staff's experience. Instead, you have experienced wrong inventory, wrong accountability, wrong scheduling, and wrong add-on promises.
Taking control of the experiences your customers have; as well as your team, operations staff, executive crowd, partners, stakeholders, and suppliers, you need clarity on Decision Intelligence Critical Moments in order to have a command of areas of vulnerability, mistakes, bottlenecks, weakness, and failure. So you can build out strategic planning on growing your ecosystem's positive impact on all your users.