“Decisions should not be data-driven. Data analytics should be decision-driven.” This is the conclusion of Professors Bart De Langhe of Ramon Llull University in Barcelona and Stefano Puntoni of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Earlier this year Professors De Langhe and Puntoni presented a webinar hosted by MIT Sloan Management Review. A recording of the webinar can be found here and I highly recommend that anyone struggling with data analytics in education take a look. It’s a relatively short presentation, but it makes some crucial points.
Those of you who have worked with DXtera’s data management team know that we always start with a facilitation of what business questions your organization is trying to ask and the kinds of decisions that need to be made in order to achieve clarity and organizational data management that makes a positive impact on those who need it the most.
More often than not, the traditional approach to data analytics is to first identify what data is available, and then try to deduce truth from that data. Professors De Langhe and Puntoni make a very good case for why this approach is “upside down”, and make two very important, and potentially controversial points:
- 1. Taking a data driven approach anchors decisions on the data that is available, attempting to find purpose for that data and starting only from what is known. A decision driven strategy anchors “on the decision to be made,” identifying data required for that purpose, understanding whether the right data is available and where, and starting from what is not known.
- 2. Data driven approaches can elevate data scientists to an unhealthy level of prominence in an organization over decision makers themselves. To emphasize this point Professor Puntoni states that “in data-driven decision-making, leaders often surrender the decision making process to data scientists, who may not actually be very well informed about the decisions to be made and about the options that are available to get there.”
DXtera’s data warehouse isn’t just a big collection of data. It helps you structure data to answer key business questions, quickly, efficiently, and as rapidly as possible. It should not take an expert, or months of effort, to begin addressing your key questions and decision points. Many solutions are primarily designed to service experts, requiring IT professionals to build reports for business users.
Professors De Langhe and Puntoni’s backgrounds in behavioral science and marketing bring a fresh perspective on the field of data analytics that is a welcome addition to the “big data” hype that has permeated data science in recent years.
If you’re interested in learning more about how your organization can benefit from DXtera’s decision-driven data solutions to tackle key institutional performance questions regarding retention and completion rates, graduation rates, curricular information, financial and human resource metrics, and more, fill out the form below and we will be in touch.