A problem or other situation arises in your supply chain and a decision needs to be made quickly on what action to take. Since all decisions go through Bill, he needs to be involved, but he’s visiting suppliers in Asia the next two weeks. And Mary should be included in the decision process too, but she’s out on vacation this week. And ideally, you should have representatives from IT, Sales, and Quality in the meeting too, but they’re all in different locations and time zones. By the time you coordinate everybody’s schedule and arrange a meeting, a month or more has gone by and no decision has been made.
That was my experience when I worked at Motorola and Polaroid many years ago, and based on the nodding heads I see at conferences when I describe this scenario, my guess is that nothing much has changed.
In order to keep pace with the rapid pace of change — in the competitive landscape, customer expectations, regulations, and so on — companies need to make smarter decisions faster. It’s the promise of Big Data, Business Intelligence, and Analytics. But those technologies are worthless if companies don’t also transform and accelerate their decision-making processes. Just ask Target.