Presented by Anaplan

As business leaders, we are all called to successfully steer our companies into the future, while avoiding common mistakes and going after the opportunities that come our way. Throughout this journey, we make dozens of high-stakes choices on a daily basis about which direction to take. The secret is making the right decision at the right time with the right data — which we call Connected Planning.

Naturally, this is easier said than done. Past experience and gut instinct are important elements of every good decision, but that’s only half of the picture. Studies show that when we make decisions this way, without taking into account external data, our decisions are biased. What may feel like the right decision could end up in disaster.

For enterprise companies, the stakes are even higher. Decision bias can lead to bottlenecks and an overemphasis on short-term thinking, leaving key decision makers operating in silos and unable to measure how their choices will impact the business’ bottom line. This was corroborated in a recent survey, commissioned by Anaplan. It showed that 86 percent of companies worldwide face major obstacles to collaboration, and 97 percent of businesses say their planning can be improved.

With this in mind, it’s clear that the best strategy is a holistic approach where leaders look both inward and outward when making critical decisions.

Eliminating decision bias: think across the enterprise

With the wealth of data available today, forward-thinking business leaders are increasingly using data to complement human judgment, and encouraging decision-makers throughout their companies to do the same.

To create a culture of data-driven decision-making, enterprise businesses need to focus on two priorities:

  1. Create a system for consolidating and analyzing information to produce a single source of truth.
  2. Organize the business as a unified entity, not as a collection of individual pieces. Understand that finance, sales, supply chain, marketing, HR, IT, and operations do not function autonomously.

This second point is significant. Anaplan’s survey also demonstrated that enterprises which share information across the business simply execute better. The more robust the planning technology a company uses — and the more connected the planning technology covers — the more success that company sees.

Modeling the future

We hear it over and over in business: timing is everything. While it’s not hard to find technologies that help explain what happened in the past, forward-thinking leaders need technology that provides prescriptive insights now that will deliver desired outcomes.

Today, advanced modeling technology can sift through data quickly to recommend actions that can improve business scenarios in all industries. For the first time ever, business leaders can know in advance how their choices will affect the organization as a whole, and can build this foresight into their decisions.

This is made possible through Connected Planning — planning that uses advanced technology to connect various functions within the business to enable better decisions. Leaders now have the opportunity to use this model to create cultures of true collaboration, where the whole enterprise works together to meet a common goal.

Our responsibility is not only to make the right decisions ourselves — it’s to create a culture in which better decision-making thrives. We do this by breaking down silos, staying conscious about our personal biases, and using data to drive our decisions. In business, the future can be uncertain. Our decision-making doesn’t have to be.

Frank Calderoni is CEO at Anaplan.

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