Bringing together human intelligence and machines

The use of machines is impacting decisions made by humans at work

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Bringing together human intelligence and machines Eljo J.P., Global Business Development Head at Finesse Global
By  Eljo J.P Published  September 17, 2015

We, as humans, love the idea of machines making a decision for us, of doing things with almost no mistakes that we might make as humans. In reality, when machines make decisions for humans in organisations, it’s mostly about computers helping humans make their own decisions. It is automated decision-making that’s moving into work cultures. Intelligent automated decision-making, a reality in all our organisations today, sits alongside of BI and analytics and is used very effectively to automate decisions.

Intelligent decision automation is working today in all our organisations. But a huge concern remains as to which decisionswecan safely automate. The decisions that we can safely optimise and automate today and hand over to algorithms and decision trees are operational decisions. They are highly structured and allows us to get the advantage of a predictable decision so that we know what the possible outcomes are and those we can repeat. Separately these decisions have low individual value but in aggregate are important to an organisation. Such decisions can be made with minimal human intervention. And they are not ambiguous because computers work on certainty and cannot manage ambiguity.

Most decisions in organisations, however, aren’t like this — decision-making requires human intervention because decisions are not based only on black and white. All data that influence decision-making lie between these two ends and organisationsneed to think how they are going to get more value from their data. This is where human intelligence comes into play, to understand the data set.

Very often, solution models in BI go wrong over time unless they are constantly realigned with the reality of the business we are facing today. Most models do not speed up at the speed of business. Information on which decisions are based devalues over time, partly because the model is no longer good and partly because the information loses its relevance over time. It is also important as to how data is stored, how it gets used in the organisation and how it stays relevant. Organisations also need to take a look at the quality of data. There is a huge uncertainty about the data as well as the business; perfect data is not realistic anymore. Businesses cannot wait for certain and perfect data before they conduct analysis. Data needs to come out to where people can see it, visualise it and start to understand the realities of the data in their organisation, because people need data to take decisions.

It is because of the nature of data of being ever changing, ambiguous, being open to interpretation and its need to be analysed for optimum use that humans are needed to help machinery to get more value from their data. These are the major realities that need humans to remain at the heart of making decisions.

Ultimately it is how humans behave and get value from information that matters; more often than not they deliberate on the information available to them collectively. The best-case scenario is the collective application of human intelligence through debate and discussion to get more value. Platforms like Qlik provide data analytics that allow humans to come to that point of decision. Today’s organisations arrive at decisions by allowing their people to work together towards arriving at a decision. People discuss, deliberate, confer and debate to get value from their information sets, as information is available at all levels these day.

Humans will stay at the core of decision-making, will optimise and may automate more decisions. But humans with their heuristic decision-making enabled by data will be the most important thing.

Why are people so important? Because machines are fine for operational decisions but for tactical and strategic decisions, we need people to make use of their capabilities over machines. Because people are analytical, logical, adaptable and are questioning in nature; they can arrive at a course of action among several alternatives after going through a cognitive process.

In the BI world today, people are information activists; they hold information, they work with it, they even use it to work their way to expressing to get more value. Today people are equally enabled to access data wherever they are; it is not just top management who has access to good data.

What is required are solution platforms that allow organizations to iterate through data very quickly, to stay relevant, to answer questions that are faced in an organisation and to be responsive to coping with changed conditions in the business. Organisations should be able to work directly with the data they see.

They should be able to interact with the data to dig deeper. And they should be able to navigate through all their information like never before. Only when organisations interact at the speed of how they think can insights be achieved, and a good platform like Qlik allows for this.

Responsiveness and resilience needs to be built within the platform to allow it to be agile, to respond to the business condition that are faced today. Platforms that deal with issues in an organisation when they arise without having to go back and forth to resolve, which helps people resolve uncertain issues when they need to.

Finesse helps organisations harness the collective human intelligence of organisations so that BI is optimised, its technologies are naturally intuitive to bring out the best out of the people that use them and finally innovate to allow people to constantly adapt to changing environments.

It is the perfect blend of software solutions with their precisions and humans with their intelligence and adaptability that make for best and informed decisions. It is the hybrid decision-making which is taking care of all the grey areas created by machines and humans individually.

An essential part of this is effective BI and analytics tools which aids decision-making by making complex data clear, avoiding clutter and confusion in insight visualisation and ultimately help organisations take well-rounded decisions.

Having the right BI and analytics solution will help your organisation make effective decisions and stay ahead in today’s competitive world.

Eljo J.P. is the global business development head at Finesse Global and a BI and analytics thought leader.

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