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Three Cool Tools to Help You Make Decisions Faster
What makes your business stand out of the crowd? The decisions you make. But if you’re still leaning on purely your instincts while your competition is leveraging the power of tools that quicken decision-making, you risk becoming irrelevant. Here’s how cool decision-making tools can help you stay ahead.
“Yes? No? Maybe?”
You are always one little word away from changing the future of your business—or your life—forever. Everything hinges on that one decision that you are about to make. It’s like walking on thin ice.
What makes the ice thinner is that you put faith in your gut to take that business-altering decision. Fortunately, with decision making tools that help you make informed decisions quickly, that’s a gamble you’ll have to take less often.
Here are three tools that can help you make quick--and reliable decisions—and help your business grow.
Cool Tool 1: Self-service Business Intelligence Tools
Instincts may not always be right. But you don’t have to depend solely on them when you have tools to think—and decide—for you. Business intelligence (BI) and analytical tools organise data for you and create a visual treat that helps you decide the direction of your business.
Are you worried about hiring data scientists to make sense of all that data and having to employ heavy-duty servers? Stop worrying! Self-service BI is here to fix that. These tools help you visualize complex data and make sense of it, all on your own.
Tools like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI make the need for an expert less urgent.
Tableau: When you are lost in a sea of data, you can rely on Tableau to steer your ship. The king of easy-to-use data visualization and business intelligence, Tableau, helps businesses of all sizes find what they are looking for in a jiffy. It claims to be able to answer questions at the speed of thought!
Its user-friendly interface allows you to drag and drop the data sets to be analyzed. It also has a visual storyboarding editor that can produce live charts. It’s highly intuitive and works with hundreds of data sources.
Tableau is a great bet for small businesses as one of its offerings, Tableau Public, is a free cloud-based version which users can toy with before actually buying the product.
Tableau also offers a "ShowMe" feature that draws views based on visualization best practices for user-selected fields. That’s what makes Tableau unique in the sense that it crunches and showcases data in a way that’s easily digestible for users, thereby quickening the pace of decision-making.
Microsoft Power BI: With a brand name to reckon with, quality isn’t questionable. Microsoft Power BI is everything you hope for from a BI tool and more. It brings data from across your organisation and all of your apps into one dashboard and provides you with tools to transform, analyze and create reports in seconds.
What’s more: It can be set up in minutes with no up-front costs, which means it works for even a single-person business. Much of the functionality is available for free, without trial period restrictions. You can create personalized dashboards and reports on your data using natural language (for example, you could simply ask: “show me sales data from January to June”) and drag-and-drop gestures to find answers to the most pressing questions and take informed decisions—all in less than five minutes.
Cool Tool 2: Decision Rights Tools
Not many organisations consider decision-making a process, but you’d be surprised at how creating the right process can streamline decision-making and lead to faster decisions. RAPID helps organisations do exactly that.
Developed by Bain & Company, this tool helps companies organise decision making by setting goals and making people accountable for achieving them. Widely used for product development and setting up international operations, RAPID defines roles that individuals must play in order to reach a conclusive decision fast. It’s important to note that RAPID is not arranged in chronological order of how tasks are performed. Here’s how it gets played out:
Recommend: Recommenders gather and assess facts, obtaining input from appropriate parties, and then recommend a decision or action.
Agree: They hold the authority to formally approve a recommendation or delay it if more work is required.
Perform: This bunch is accountable for executing a decision once it's been made.
Input: These guys combine facts and judgment to provide input into a recommendation.
Decide: Deciders make the ultimate decision and commit the organisation to action.
This organised approach to decision-making ensures that there’s accountability and decisions are not swinging back and forth like a pendulum. That, in turn, leads to quicker decisions.
In their whitepaper titled RAPID Decision Making: What It Is, Why We Like It, and How to Get the Most Out of It, Jon Huggett and Caitrin Moran write:
“The tool helps give real accountability to the right people, allowing power to be shared, but also setting useful boundaries. In turn, involving the right people, while taking others out of the loop or minimizing their involvement, saves time.”
Cool Tool 3: Collaborative Decision-Making Tools
Decision-making becomes a fun activity when everyone is on the same page. That happens when you have a collaboration tool that’s super intuitive and brings everyone who needs to be part of decision-making under one umbrella.
That’s what collaboration tools like Slack and Basecamp aspire to achieve.
Basecamp is a popular collaboration app which is a one-stop shop to discuss projects, track deadlines, and take action. Teams collaborate and take decisions on the app—all under one roof. Every time a decision needs to be made, you can start a new Basecamp account and invite people who need to be part of the process.
Slack is another powerful collaboration app which is best suited for virtual team communications. Its chat feature is very popular among its users. You can discuss decisions over group chats—and private chats. The chats are searchable and the tool can be used for status updates—both important criteria to make informed decisions. This makes e-mail--which is time-consuming and inefficient when you want to get things done quickly—redundant.
There’s a reason why decision-making tools are so popular: They help do your job for you and they do it faster.
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