Using Cognitive Analytics in Organisation Decision-Making and Planning

In the June edition of the Journal of the Institute of Management Services, Cliff Moyce, Head of the Finance Practice at DataArt, examines how cognitive analytics will transform our ability to plan, develop and run organisations.

“The cognitive analytics revolution in organisational planning and decision making is underway. It is giving organisations the ability to use a far bigger variety of data types in the planning process; while allowing machines to identify and analyse associations within data, and to self-generate and test hypotheses.

The way that cognitive analytics achieves its magic over and above data analysis methods used to date is through (1) ability to analyse huge amounts of unstructured data alongside traditional structured data sets; (2) ability of cognitive analytics tools to generate nonintuitive insights from data; and (3) ability for the tools to learn as they work – including how decisions suggested by the tool previously panned out when implemented (posthoc analyses of self-generated recommendations).

Cognitive systems can adapt and get smarter over time, by learning through their interactions with data and the results of previous decisions (including decisions suggested by the same cognitive systems). Insights provided through cognitive analytics will focus us more on the questions that we ask, as it is the questions that we do not ask that limit us most. These insights can help break us free from the prisons of wrong assumptions, faulty hypotheses, and the tendency to confuse symptoms with causes.

The main benefit of cognitive analytics to the enterprise is the value of non-intuitive insights that can be gleaned. As well as being able to draw conclusions from volumes and types of data that people using standard computing tools could never handle, cognitive analytics generates unlimited hypotheses across unlimited potential factors and variables that would never happen otherwise. It also eliminates one of the biggest limiting factors in traditional planning and decision making – human bias. Human bias both in defining hypotheses and in interpreting results.”

The original article is published in the Journal of the Institute of Management Services (page 30–33).