Historic data is an insufficient basis for making good decisions

You cannot see the future by looking backwards. That’s why it’s important for Swedish business leaders to take charge of their decisions by ensuring access to up-to-date data. So writes Fredrik Ohlsen, CEO at Basefarm.

Trends based on how the market has evolved historically are not infrequently used as the basis for decisions on how Swedish companies should act going forward. The problem with this approach is that old data is no longer enough to be able to make good decisions. Combined with the traditional Swedish approach in which “everybody” is involved in decision-making, this unfortunately creates a sluggish approach to business that risks making Swedish companies less competitive than they have hitherto been.

Data about the past is only a fraction of what is required to make smart decisions. As business processes become increasingly interlinked with IT processes, companies and organizations need to learn to focus and act on what is happening right now.

To achieve this, companies have to ensure that rapid technological development becomes an advantage rather than an obstacle. Data that allows companies to make good decisions is available, and when the manager has easy access to it, he or she can make quick decisions, without having to fear that the basis for such decisions is wrong or flawed.

We have to be humble when faced with the fact that almost unbelievable developments in IT have meant that there is no longer anything to be gained from trying to predict the future. Development is simply moving far too fast for that. Instead, the answer is to invest significantly in day-to-day continuous development that focuses on the very latest technologies, such as public clouds, AI, big data or other elements of the digitalization process. This puts IT service providers in an important position, and they need to be able to discuss concrete solutions with their customers rather than potential scenarios that seldom or never come to pass.

In other words, Swedish companies must be better at creating a situation in which they can fully exploit their industry expertise by using the new doors that can be opened with the latest technology. Behind these doors are solutions that are directly linked to collecting, presenting and acting on information on how their market is changing from day to day. Not only that – every week there are hundreds of changes and upgrades taking place in various underlying systems. As a result, it is vital to keep track of how those changes can be fully utilized and how they affect one another from an operational perspective. In the worst-case scenario, the system crashes because one or more applications no longer interact with the system as a whole.

In the best-case scenario, the business pulls ahead of its competitors by both acting on the basis of constant changes in the market and ensuring that everything works as it should in technical terms. If you want to be part of the latter group, it is no longer possible to run your business based on outdated data and yesterday’s technology. That’s why the advice to Swedish business leaders is to take charge of their decisions by ensuring that you have access to the very latest data. Only then can you, as a manager, also make faster, more accurate decisions, without having to worry that you’re doing so on entirely the wrong basis.