Chapter 5

Managing Information and Making Decisions

In a digital economy, organizations with the greatest information leverage are also those that unsurprisingly leave their competitors in the dust. This chapter focuses on five rules that, if followed, help drive maximum value out of your information assets and improve the odds of success.

UNDERSTAND YOUR DATA

Data isn’t always what you think it is. Don’t be surprised when it’s wrong.

Guesswork can’t replace insight and good decisions are easier to make when they’re supported by good data. Without data, all we have are heuristics and experience, and for many organizations, this is simply business as usual. When there’s a dearth of good data, experience counts for a lot. When there’s nothing else to rely on, it might be the difference between success and failure.

Still, even those with decades of experience know the value of insight. It’s hard to make an informed decision when one doesn’t know what’s going on. Comparatively, it’s far easier to make informed decisions when one has ready access to high-quality information. If decisions are the engine behind outcomes, data is the fuel.

The only thing worse than having no data is having incorrect data. High-performance cars need high-performance fuel. Use the wrong fuel in a sports car and the engine is likely to seize. Data is no different—bad data drives bad outcome. Something as simple as customer profitability can have dire implications if incorrectly calculated. Bad estimates ...

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