For Business Decisions, Put Data in the Driver’s Seat

CFO says to CEO, “You know, I’ve got a hunch about how we can increase our bottom line.”

It wasn’t too long ago that this would have been a typical remark. The “gold standard” of decision making was more often than not the gut feeling of the senior businessperson.

But those days are quickly becoming a memory.

A survey from the Business Analysis Research Center (BARC) explored attitudes about how businesses use data now, and how they will use it in the future.

Less than half of the companies surveyed agree that information is highly valued for decision-making, but two-thirds see it being highly valued in the future. Moreover, twice as many people see data being the main basis of decision making in the future than do so today.

Today’s business culture expects tomorrow’s culture to be making decisions based on data. Which leads you to ask: why aren’t they doing it already?

The top answer among the BARC survey respondents was “the necessary information was not available.”

On average, organizations only use 50% of all available information for decision-making. So even when the information is available, it’s not always taken advantage of.

Companies that do manage to take advantage of their data reap the benefits. The BARC survey found that “significantly fewer best-in-class companies than laggards (those who lag behind) base the majority of their business decisions on gut feel or experience (40% vs. 70%). This highlights a link between using information for decision-making and being able to benefit from information and achieve a strategic advantage over rivals.”

Making Data User-Friendly

If the revenue-driving, bottom line-boosting data stays hidden away in rows of numbers, only a professional data scientist is going to be able to find it. And what if you’re a small enterprise without data scientists? Are you doomed to die from “data, data everywhere and not a drop to drink”?

Not with the upcoming generation of business intelligence tools.

One of 2019’s top business technology trends identified in a survey of over 2600 professionals is data discovery and visualization.

We’ve all heard that humans process visual information more efficiently that any other type of information. The human brain processes visuals so well that it can identify images that it only saw for 13 milliseconds (that’s viewing images at the rate of 75 frames a second)!

When data is presented in visual form, like charts and graphs, instead of being buried in spreadsheets, it makes it faster and easier for the average user to find meaning and insight in the information.

AI to the Rescue

The work of analysis and visual presentation is increasingly performed by intelligent machines. According to Gartner, by 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated. AI will take over part of the heavy lifting, and present data in visual, insightful formats. All business users, even those without an IT background, will be able to gain valuable insights and make decisions based on information, not merely intuition.

Until now, the businesses with internal professional data scientists have had the advantage. But AI will be the great equalizer when it comes to data-driven decision making.

No more necessary data that isn’t available. No more available data that isn’t used.

Putting Data to Work

At Way2VAT, we’re excited about this trend. We believe that every business deserves the opportunity to take full advantage of their data.

We believe it so strongly that we’ve been working hard recently to revamp the Way2VAT dashboard and make it a platform of data discovery for our users. We’ve put AI to work for BI… and as we speak, it’s giving our users transparency into their business T&E and VAT reclaim data.

Visual, intuitive, with valuable insights available at a glance… that’s what business intelligence should provide for everyone. Data-driven business decisions, here we come!

If you are already a Way2VAT customer, click here to view your personalized dashboard, and begin making data-driven decisions today!