Reengineering the decision with Decision IntelligenceBy Barry Lane on March 23, 2021
Last month saw Peak transition into life as a Decision Intelligence company; a move to clarify where we sit in the B2B software-as-a-service (SaaS) market, and how we talk about the work we do for our customers.
At Peak, we define Decision Intelligence as the commercial application of AI to enhance business decision making – leading to profit and growth. It’s a new category of software giving businesses the ability to leverage their data to its full potential with AI, and using it to make faster, more accurate, and more consistent decisions, all the time.
Decision making in a changing world
As the world around us continues to change, so do consumer behaviors, trends, and expectations. The continued rise of e-commerce and the explosion of direct-to-consumer channels have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and being able to make those split-second decisions to keep your customers happy has never been so important.
However, businesses in sectors such as retail and consumer packaged goods (CPG) lack the end-to-end visibility they need to make the best possible decisions – and making siloed decisions across marketing, demand planning, and the supply chain is hampering effectiveness.
Despite the continued acceleration of digital transformation across industries, the way organizations typically make decisions has yet to materially change and adapt with the times. Yes, data – often static and siloed – may be used to help inform a decision, but too often the onus is still with the human alone to form their own judgement. More often than not, those decisions, formed from an incomplete picture, are based on gut feel and intuition – leading to inefficient and inconsistent outcomes.
Decision Intelligence is here to change that. It enables businesses to make cross-functional, organization-wide decisions in a way that simply hasn’t been possible before. With Decision Intelligence, for the first time, AI can now help us make faster, smarter, more consistent decisions across vast amounts of complex data – on a scale and at a pace that’s beyond human capability alone.
Every business will need its own AI. In the same way that business functions demand their own ‘System of Record’ – Sales and Marketing have CRM and Operations have ERP systems – businesses will need a new kind of platform. This is a new software category and will be as big, most likely bigger, than those mentioned above.
CEO and co-founder, Peak
Decision Intelligence according to Gartner
Decision Intelligence isn’t something that’s unique to Peak. Last month (Top Trends in Data and Analytics for 2021: Engineering Decision Intelligence, February 2021), Gartner named Engineering Decision Intelligence as a top trend in data and analytics for 2021.
According to the report, “to deal with unprecedented levels of business complexity and uncertainty, organizations must improve their ability to accelerate accurate and highly contextualized decisions. Data and analytics leaders must explore building capabilities to rapidly compose and recompose transparent decision flows.”
The same report states that “decision intelligence supports improved decisions both individually and collectively, by modeling and optimizing their interactions, measuring business impact, learning and adjusting.”
In November 2020, Gartner also published a report titled ‘The Future of Data and Analytics: Reengineering the Decision, 2025’. It states, “Decision making is becoming more connected, more contextual and more continuous. The current state of decision making is unsustainable. We define reengineering decision making as the fundamental rethinking of business decisions to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as business value, cost, quality, service and speed.”
According to the report, 65% of decisions made are more complex (involving more stakeholders or choices) than they were two years ago.
Where does Peak fit?
The three C’s referenced in Gartner’s ‘Reengineering the Decision’ report – connected, contextual and continuous – resonate strongly with our own vision behind Decision Intelligence as an important new category of software.
Peak’s interpretation of Decision Intelligence is focused on driving connected decision making across an organization, connecting previously siloed data sources across multiple areas of a business. This enables decisions to be made which consider the context of how different events, market conditions and decisions affect each other and impact the entire organization. Plus, it all happens continuously, at scale, and is constantly evolving and improving as the AI gets smarter over time.
The Peak platform can be considered to be a pureplay Decision Intelligence platform – the first of its kind – built to help power smarter commercial decisions. It contains a range of configurable applications that deliver tangible outcomes across the value chain, while also empowering data teams to build and configure their own decision intelligence applications at pace and scale.
As an example, let’s look at Decision Intelligence’s role in retail decision making. Our platform gives Peak customers – who include the likes of ASOS, PepsiCo, and AO – the ability to predict demand more responsively, looking at marketing campaigns and external data, rather than just focusing on what products have already sold.
They can sell unsold products in a way that maximizes margin, targeting only customers who are likely to buy, in a hyper-personalized way, with the touch of a button. And, from here, supply chains and logistics processes are optimized completely, based on demand that retailers can not just predict, but shape to their advantage. The endgame is an entire organization, operating in harmony, working towards a common goal – winning!
A change point in decision making
Decision Intelligence marks, in our view, a change point in how businesses make decisions. One that has the potential to create a truly data-driven future, in which AI can amplify human judgement and knowledge, bringing new opportunities for businesses to grow and become more efficient.
Gartner’s thought leadership is shining a light on the significance of this new decision making paradigm, and it’s shaping up to be a significantly important new category of technology. As the market continues to grow, we look forward to welcoming other players into the arena while continuing to make Decision Intelligence an integral part of our customers’ future success.