Board report highlights complex decision-making process across retail sector

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Board, the#1decision-making platform, has today released ‘The State Of Decision-Making’ report focussing on how UK organisations make their important business decisions.

Based on a survey of 500 senior decision-makers, across industries including, Banking & Financial Services, Consumer Goods, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical, Professional Services, Retail, and Transport & Logistics,  ‘The State Of Decision-Making’ report from Board shows that today’s business decision-making process is increasingly complex, with multiple departments and seniority levels all responsible for some form of decision-making, leading to a lack of cohesion between units and a waste of business resources.

‘The State Of Decision-Making’ research found that while a clear majority of respondents (63%) say the important decisions they are responsible for get implemented globally, the decision-making process itself is not joined-up across the business, with one third (33%) also saying that crucial business decisions are made in departmental silos.

Retail organisations, however, seem to be more cohesive. While a similar majority of decisions are implemented globally (65%), just over a quarter (27%) are made in silos suggesting a greater level of collaboration for businesses in the Retail sector than in others. 

The research, conducted on behalf of Board International by independent research organisation 3GEM, also asked respondents the tools they use to make decisions and, while almost every action within an organisation today will lead to the creation of new data, it seems many businesses are not using the crucial insights which data can provide to make important decisions.

Half (50%) of respondents in the Retail sector said they make business decisions based on data and insights, but ‘gut feeling’ decisions are still made by half (50%) of Retail companies. What’s more, over half (54%) of Retail companies still rely on spreadsheets to aid their decision-making, despite more modern and reliable tools now available.

“In today’s fast-paced, data rich and evolving business environment, making quick and effective decisions is critical to both compete and survive,” explains Gavin Fallon, managing director for UK, Nordics & South Africa at Board International. “Important decisions are being made at any one time across multiple business functions, but all too often, important decision-making is disconnected, modular or fragmented.”

The research also revealed the biggest challenges Retail decision-makers face at their organisations, with lack of available data and insights (23%), and no ability to scenario plan cited as biggest frustrations. While all sectors cited data and insights as a problem, an inability to scenario plan was much more prevalent in the Retail sector, with only 17% of businesses in other industries raising it as a challenge. However, sector decision-makers believe that the process can be improved with the introduction of new technology, with half of all of respondents (52%) saying this would make their decision-making better, while nearly another half (46%) also felt increased use of data and insights would help.

“Businesses have to plan every day for a far more uncertain future and set themselves up to prepare for change and keep changing against the backdrop of a more volatile and uncertain marketplace than ever,” continues Fallon. “A bad decision can have wide-ranging impact across the whole organisation and no business can afford to waste time and resources on bets that may or may not come off.  As the business environment increases in complexity, the ability to not just react, but predict, in real-time, becomes more important than ever.”