Organizations have been struggling more and more to straddle two polarizing operating principles.  While they want greater agility, they also want to include all the right stakeholders in their processes.  This transcends the traditional “centralization/decentralization” debates.  Customers and clients demand greater agility, and employees and partners both expect greater empowerment, so companies are pushing hard to provide both.  The age of the digitally-networked enterprise sharply exacerbates tensions and pain points, with more stakeholders able to instantly access and share actionable information.  While technology increases transparency and increases real-time situational awareness, it doesn’t necessarily increase managerial or operational ability to act on that data-driven information.

The best and most useful approach for managing these different tensions is to clarify authority and accountability for decisions and decision-making.  Since the right to make decisions is such an important part of efficiency and effectiveness, assigning and allocating “decision rights” is just as important as defining jobs, roles and tasks.  This serves as a managerial mechanism for empowerment and accountable.  

An increasing number of organizations have been using RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted and informed) to create auditable accountability networks for project and process management, which simultaneously become platforms for both inclusion and agility.  Individuals and teams who want to be consulted or informed can ask to opt into the network, while accountable or responsible managers can tap into their RACI network when they need more agility in response to customer needs.  Mapping these different networks creates visibility and clarity for both stakeholders and top management, providing essential windows and lenses into the firm’s decision hierarchies.  

Decision rights around data, specifically Big Data, increasingly require data focused around decision rights.  If your organization has ready access to process and share 10x to 100x more data, chances are your existing decision rights mechanisms are out of date.  Brand managers need the computational competence of data scientists, as well as analytic tools, to get greater value from all of that data.  It’s necessary to define how brand management and data management collaborate with decision rights.  With organizational decisions become more and more data-driven, top managers need to assure decision rights are also data-driven, which is why so many organizations have made data governance a strategic and organizational priority.  Instead of more traditional IT governance, data governance recognizes that data is the mission-critical asset to manage.  

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