For most organizations, decisions are rarely made in a vacuum. Organizations require some level of structure to ensure corporate policies are adhered to and critical decisions receive the proper checks and balances before action is taken. Sometimes this is due to regulatory or compliance pressure, sometimes it’s simply organizational due diligence.
In many cases, decisions are synonymous with “approvals.” Someone has made a request and someone or a series of people need to make a decision, yes or no. Sometimes the decision has a direct financial impact, like funding a large real estate project. Sometimes the decision has a less direct impact, like approving a new piece of marketing collateral for use at a trade show.
At the same time, the ability for organizations and individuals to quickly make decisions is often hampered by inefficient practices and manual request / approval processes. While organizational hierarchy may determine who decides what, the processes driving the decisions remain ad-hoc and manual. Unfortunately, as Harvard Business Review points out in their article “The Decision-Driven Organization:”
“A corporation’s structure will produce better performance if and only if it improves the organization’s ability to make and execute key decisions better and faster than competitors.”
In a more recent article by Customer Bliss, the importance of “connecting silos” within the organization is mentioned as a way to improve the customer experience through better decision making. HR, Finance, Marketing, Operations, IT and many other departments/business units handle a variety of requests from both internal and external customers. Sometimes these requests and approvals cut across multiple “silos” and the organization needs a way to collect, route, track and evaluate all the decisions that need to be made. So how do you improve the decision-making process?
Request systems provide tools for developing workflows that follow preset business rules and ensure that decisions are made:
- Based on complete and current information
- By the best person(s) to handle them
- With complete audit trails
Our white paper “Automating Request and Approval Processes” describes a method for automating an organization’s request and approval management to ensure better and faster decisions get made while providing the necessary information to audit and report on the decision-making process.