Coaching series: Practicing data-driven decision making

Written by Lidia Mayangsari, Puteri Annisa Tsamrotul Fuadah

Facing the challenges of the digital era, companies are congregating to transform into a data-driven company. However, it turns out that there are still many misperceptions about the phenomenon that many discussed, especially in this Industry 4.0 era. SBM ITB welcomed this opportunity through an online public discussion event on Saturday, September 19, 2020. This event was the eighth session of the SBM ITB Webinar Series that is consistently run by this number one business school in Indonesia.

The event was opened with the presentation of the basic concept of decision-making on a data-driven basis by the Director of Big Data and Business Analytics Laboratory (Datalab) SBM ITB, Dr. Eng. Manahan Siallagan. His elaboration opened up the insight that human often use intuition as a tool for decision-making. But unfortunately, sometimes it will not lead us to the best results expected. Conventional thought processes that rely on intuition are humane. It is just that, as soon as we understand these limitations, awareness of transformation is the next thing to do.  From the results of the discussions with participants, Lidia Mayangsari as the moderator of the event concluded that the role of data in the decision-making process is very significant. Not to defeat the thought process intuitively, but rather to complement and sharpen intuition. When the habit of analyzing data before making decisions is practised repeatedly, the intuition that is formed will also become more asserted based on the data.

Manahan Siallagan’s academic substance was strengthened by the exposure of material from a practical aspect presented by I Made Ariya Sanjaya (CEO Kazee), Bey Arief Budiman (Head of Delivery Yellowfin Indonesia), and Muhammad Apriandito (CEO of Technaut). As one of the leading players of digital start-ups in Indonesia, Ariya emphasized that to be a data-driven organization, a transformation must be applied to human resources then followed by technological change. “The data literacy capability of employees should be improved even gradually.”, he said. Another strategy to accelerate this data-driven transformation is the transparency of business processes from companies to every department that handles the data to give more meaning to the data that the company owns and to accelerate the flow of data communication.

This was reinforced by Bey from Yellowfin Indonesia that each company is unique and contextually different from each other. “This data-driven strategy should be specified for one company. One strategy cannot be applied to all companies because the data input is different, the operating system is different, the culture of the data is different. Unique.”, he explained. To be a data-driven company, it is a good idea to create an integrated system to simplify the process of analysis and decision-making. Although a lot of software is available, Apriandito from Technaut who is also a programmer at Datalab SBM ITB recommended that companies should be familiar with the R programming language. “R language is very easy, open access, and community-based. This is a plus of R because of its supporters are all over the world. It is easy to use, but it is important for us to be able to understand it.”, he added.

As the closing remarks, the moderator concluded that a company that has a lot of data not necessarily a data-driven company. There are new processes and habituations to be done for finally both resources and technology in a company can be adaptive to data analysis. The change was not easy, it is time-consuming and costly. But if the company passed the process successfully, a data-driven culture will guide the company to lead the competition.

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