Research Reveals a Decision-Making Disconnect

Strategy   |   Heather Ferguson   |   May 23, 2023

What if technology could give you an understanding of the data and context behind each decision and help you make more confident and faster decisions? Would you use it?

That’s exactly what decision intelligence is built to do. Using a combination of analytics, AI, and automation, decision intelligence is poised to take our day-to-day, tactical, and strategic decisions to the next level.

To investigate how enterprises make decisions today and how they plan to in the future, we surveyed 2,800 global enterprise leaders who work with data to explore the future of decision-making.

Sharing Data Has Clear Benefits, But Leaders Are Hesitant

Research results show several inconsistencies around how data is shared in the enterprise. Respondents saw the benefits of using data in their careers; 80% said that having the ability to access and analyze data has a positive impact on their decision-making. They also see the clear benefits of sharing data across the enterprise; when asked what benefits could be seen if more employees had access to data, 53% said employees will collaborate better, 48% said productivity would be improved, and 45% believed it will result in faster decision making.

But interestingly, 65% of respondents don’t think employees who make decisions for the organization should have access to data for decision-making.

What is the disconnect here?

"Who currently has access to data for decision-making in your organization? Who do you believe should have access to data?"

It may be tied to the types of data shared, the governance applied to that data, and the types of decisions that teams need to make. Whatever the reasons may be, teams will need to change their data culture and approach to become a truly data-enabled organization.

The Future of Automated Decision-Making is Coming, But Not Right Away

If you haven’t heard about Chat-GPT and generative AI, where have you been? (Can I come?) Stories about new technologies enabled by artificial intelligence are dominating news headlines and publications across industries.

While respondents to the survey believe that the future of a more automated approach to decision-making is upon us, they don’t think it is happening as quickly as media reports would lead you to believe.

Ninety-seven percent (97%) of respondents can imagine a future where all decisions are automated in some way, with most thinking that automation will take place in the earlier stages of decision-making: information gathering (28%), problem identification (26%), and evaluating alternatives (23%).

"At what point in an employee's decision-making journey do you envisage the greatest need for technology?"

Though they are optimistic about a future with technology embedded into the decision-making process, they’re less confident about the timeline. Only 2% of respondents think that a future where all decisions are automated will happen in the next 6 years. Instead, most believe that it will take much longer for this technology to be embedded in all decisions, with the average length of time coming in at 10 years. Forty-six percent (46%) believe it will take longer than 10 years.

While automated decision-making technology is clearly on the horizon, it may take longer than expected to impact decisions made across the organization.

Machines Won’t Be Making Decisions Alone

Tied into the discussion of the future of decision-making, is the role of the human. Results show that while most decisions could be automated in some way, it’s likely not going to be the machine that is making the final decision.

"What should the role of the human be in the future of decision-making?"

Only 4% of respondents said that they think the future of decision-making should be machine-controlled, meaning that machines will analyze, produce insights and make decisions without any human input.

Instead, it looks like we humans aren’t getting out of decision-making that easily. Sixty-six percent (66%) of those surveyed believe that the future of decision-making will be a combination of human and machine, with 40% seeing the balance as “human-led, machine supported” – the human analyzes and produces insights using technology – and 26% believe that decisions will be “machine led, human supported” – the machines will analyze and produce insights that humans will then review.

While technology is expected to have a greater involvement in decision-making going forward, there is still strong sentiment showing that humans will be part of that equation.

Read the Full Report

The full research report can be downloaded here and includes many more insights into the future of decision-making, and the role of decision intelligence.

More Information:

Read the full global report
Register for Inspire, and watch Alteryx leaders break down the research results
Prepare yourself to use more data and technology in decision-making through Alteryx certification

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