Every day we make decisions that can impact, to varying degrees, the chain of events to follow. Some decisions require less of a direct conscious effort, and we barely have to think twice before making them. Many become innate to us given the mental models and reasoning of previous circumstances that have led to the same past decision: Chocolate or vanilla? T-shirt or sweater? Rent vs. buy?
When it comes to many business decisions however, or decisions that can impact your organization at large, having innate and immediate responses can sometimes be unrealistic and can actually lead to greater risk from haste and initial biases that may exist. The high quantity of underlying information coming from more than one source requires careful consideration and thoughtful processing in order to avoid time later spent on repairing any errors. While some decisions can be made quickly based on personal preference – the weather or economic factors – the more complex the question the more complex the decision-making process becomes.
Real-Time BI vs Right-Time BI
So what are business leaders to do when there are decisions that must be made in the moment; and that time to process through information is simply not available or conducive to productivity? In these moments there needs to be a way that these business decisions, too, can be made without lengthy consideration, necessarily having to think twice, or even the barriers of ensuring everyday standards are met. In order for that to happen, decision-makers must have data that is not only accurate and up-to-date, but also reliable and complete for acting promptly.
This brings us to the question of “Real-time business intelligence (BI) vs. right time business intelligence (BI)?”
For decisions to be sound and perform for the best interest of the organization, Business Intelligence is a priority, and a connection between both real-time BI and tight-time BI is a necessity.
Unlike the others mentioned at the start of this blog, this question isn’t one most people face on a daily basis. For businesses and organizations implementing BI, though, leveraging both real-time and right-time can influence the extent to which work is efficiently executed in a more impactful and relevant way. Given that nearly every organization collects and stores big data across various systems, data (real-time or not) is only valuable if it helps improve the quality of an organization’s decisions. The focal conversation should instead be, “How can real-time data better drive right-time decisions?”
As brought up earlier, the speed with which companies can access and act upon information has become more necessary in today’s data-driven world of business. On one hand, decision-makers still must act quickly and responsively to timely issues, even if they involve multiple layers of collected information. On the other hand, despite this incredible sense of urgency, real-time decision-making can be held up due to standard operating procedures and status quo.
Capitalize on Real-Time Benefits
It is important to ask then, “What is the advantage of a decision made with real-time data if the decision is made days or weeks later? What good is real-time information if it isn’t in the hands of the right decision-makers?” Both of these bring light to getting the most out of real-time data, and circle back to the notion that data is only valuable if it works to improve the quality and integrity of decisions being made. Creating a data-driven culture that uses real-time data for the purpose it is intended to serve and the people it is intended to serve towards – that’s where the most value comes in.
Particularly in today’s world, the incomparable challenges and demands facing those of all industries and verticals have limited the level of adaptability that may have previously existed to bounce back from delayed, incomplete decisions made by the wrong individual. When approached continuously by a myriad of decisions, executives must wrestle with how they can go beyond the obvious benefits of simply using real-time data to also align its capabilities for when and who the insights are meant for.
Simply put, the answer is found by implementing right time decision-making: Providing the right information to the right decision makers at the right time.
Dashboards: Making the Right Data Visible and Accessible
It isn’t just about having data at your fingertips, but having real-time data accessible to use precisely when the decision needs to and should be made. Even further, this simultaneous requisite for data accessibility doesn’t mean limiting data to certain users, but limiting users to certain data: greater accessibility ensures all data is useful and usable for when specific roles need data that is suitable to their functions.
Dashboards that allow data visibility to be delivered through an easy-to-understand format is one of the most pivotal ways to achieve real-time data at the right-time. Unlimited customizations and dynamic capabilities allow business managers to interact with data in a way that makes sense to how they make decisions and the metrics they have to stay on top of. Ultimately, this influences the ability to make better decisions, improving overall business performance as a result.
If you already leverage the benefits of real-time data, we challenge your team to look further into how effective decisions really are in reaching the intent they were set out to have. Even if the outcomes don’t result as expected, it’s critical to not only look at external/circumstantial factors that may have been at play, but to also look back at the conditions for making the decision itself. Where do barriers still exist that are keeping you from taking information to insight – without delays, inaccuracy, irrelevance, or missing data?
The ability to harness right-time data will ultimately lead to pertinent insights, smarter decisions, strategic plans and more empowered workers. To understand practical use-cases and examples of what real-time data can look like for your unique business or department needs, check out our interactive dashboard solutions here. For more step-by-step tips, download our Ultimate Guide to Dashboard Best Practices for creating dashboards that encompass the imperatives for connecting real-time data, at the right time, for the right person.