We may think that software-enabled decision-making is far removed from us, that it is technical and left for accountants, statisticians, and scientists to do. Yet there is a strategic connection between data collection and decision-making, in how such data can be transformed into information that can help inform us in making decisions that enhance our performance. And data automation can handle things that would be too difficult for us to handle manually: Automation helps us think or perform better, rather than replacing us.
Consider the case of the popular shipping company UPS. Upon analyzing a vast amount of data gathered from drivers around the world, UPS recognized that left turns made by drivers increased the company’s carbon footprint, due to trucks wasting gas and creating emissions while waiting at traffic lights. UPS, via its ORION software specially built for use by its truck delivery drivers, mapped routes to avoid left turns. A result of this was the company saving 98 million minutes of truck idling time and 9 million gallons of fuel in 2011.
Other software on the market that can help businesses in a similar fashion include the Decisions Automation Platform, which offers a comprehensive array of tools for building software applications. The Platform’s elements are reusable so as to streamline application development. The Platform includes a graphical workflow designer and business rule engine for modeling and automating business processes. A convenient drag-and-drop form designer facilitates data collection from end users. Data that is collected is leveraged by the Decisions Reporting and Dashboard Engine.