"Management is all about playing the odds. [...]
In operations, calculate lot sizes, generate forecasts and set quality standards with enough data and increasingly sophisticated algorithms and statistical methods and you will increase the chances of coming close enough. At least that is the theory, and the hope.
This is the basic premise of big data and ERP. With point of sale scanning, RFID, smart phones and all of the other data collecting technologies increasingly in use, the data to feed the engines is more and more available. The potential and the lure of the data driven, analytical approach to finding the center line and getting more decisions closer to correctness is growing.
The other approach is empowered people. Recognizing that management cannot be involved in every one of the individual customer interactions and operational, situational, tiny decisions, those calls are left to the people on the spot. They are expected to rely on their knowledge, understanding of company values and goals, and the information available to them in very real time to decide what to do.[...] The basic question is whether empowered people will get it right more often than big computer."