I believe that the next wave of productivity improvement in companies is going to come from investment in decision support tools.
In our economy almost all workers are now knowledge workers. However unlike the workers of the industrial era, we still do not have the right set of tools to support our knowledge workers. We live in an era of information overload where employees increasingly need to make faster and more complex decisions using large amounts of available data. Under such circumstances, making informed, let alone optimal decisions is simply not humanly possible.
This creates a need for a range of new tools for the employees. Tools that will guide the decision making process and where ever appropriate automate them. To create such tools, companies will need to create expertise in four foundational areas:
1. Data: Identifying, collecting, managing and curating the data within the company and relevant third party sources
2. Analytics: Creating a scalable process to turn data to relevant insights and recommendations
3. Visualization: Presenting the insights within the appropriate context to support a decision
4. Integration: Bringing all of the pieces together to make the recommendation/insight available at the point of decision in the workflow of the employee
Companies will become better at bringing together the four foundational areas. We will also see increased activity in the vendor space. The established ones becoming more active in acquiring companies in the value chain. And a range of startups who will rush into the space to fill the gap.
For now, the blog is about tracking this trend.