Bringing Group Decision Support into the 21st Century

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Bringing Group Decision Support into the 21st Century

group decision support, analytic hierarchy process


If time travel were possible, I’d like to go back and facilitate the boardroom decisions when Blockbuster passed on Netflix, when Excite passed on Google, or when Mars passed on placing its M&M product in movie E.T. These are a few of the biggest blunders in the history of business. I can’t help but wonder what their decision criteria was, whether they were accurately weighted to reflect their relative importance, and who, or more importantly who did not, provide their inputs.

Today, more than ever, organizations recognize the need for a structured and defined group decision-making process. One that can handle multiple decision criteria, numerous stakeholders, and a lengthy list of alternatives – and still be efficient and fast. A best-in-class process ensures that the decision criteria are accurately weighted, all key stakeholders are included, and that every alternative is fairly and consistently evaluated.

What is the Analytic Hierarchy Process?

The Analytics Hierarchy Process (AHP) was introduced in the 1970s by Thomas Saaty. It is now considered to be the world’s leading multi-criteria decision making methodology in the world, per Gartner Inc. It was developed to help work through complicated, real-world prioritization scenarios.

AHP is based on mathematics and psychology. It simplifies the process of weighting the decision criteria by comparing two criteria at a time (i.e., pairwise comparisons) to determine which is more important with respect to the decision goal – and by how much. Without AHP, decision-makers are left to simply guess their relative importance.

With accurately weighted decision criteria in-place, the feasible alternatives can then be evaluated and scored against each criterion. The result is a ranked order list of alternatives that summarizes the group’s knowledge and wisdom.

Do You Need a Group Decision Support Solution?

If your organization needs to build consensus and buy-in, and speed up the decision-making, then a group decision support solution is right for you. By utilizing the AHP methodology, a solution can remove the bias and guesswork from decision-making in many scenarios, including:

  • Budget Formulation – Choose the right investments and justify them to executive management.
  • Business Partner Selections – Know which partners make the most sense for your organization, based on your goals.
  • IT Demand Management Screen ideas and evaluate concepts for new IT projects to ensure alignment with the business strategy.
  • Merger and Acquisition Selections – Identify, evaluate, and select companies that align with your business strategy.
  • Risk Assessments – Identify the greatest risks to your business, and optimize the allocation of resources to mitigate them.
  • Strategic Investment Selections – Evaluate every funding request, and streamline the review and approval process.
  • Vendor Selections – Conduct “protest-proof” best-value source selections and fully justify the decision.

How Definitive Pro™ Helps Organizations Make Faster, Better Decisions

The AHP methodology alone is not enough to move the decision-making process forward because the stakeholders who need to be involved in the decision-making process are often geographically dispersed, telecommuting, or on business travel when a decision needs to be made.

With this reality as our inspiration, we created Definitive Pro™ to bring group decision support into the 21st century. Definitive Pro™ provides the AHP methodology, our proven business process, and our innovative anywhere, anytime, any device approach. Thus, decision participants can now use laptops, smartphones, or tablets to share their judgments – eliminating the need for them to be in the same room, at the same time. With such flexibility, there’s no reason to leave out key stakeholders who should be part of the consensus-building process.

Based on over 20 years of decision support expertise and best practices, Definitive Pro™ provides a world-class decision-making methodology that delivers consistency, transparency, and collaboration. It enables faster, better decisions, and allows stakeholders to stay engaged in the decision-making process – yielding a justifiable decision rationale.

Don’t Make the Next Big Business Blunder Possible

No one knows when the next the next big opportunity or risk will present itself. Don’t make the next big business blunder possible and have your business added to the list for generations to see. Be the champion in your organization for a world-class group decision-making process that taps into “the wisdom of the crowd”. Maybe you’ll be the Henry Ford, Katharine Meyer Graham, or Sam Walton of your organization.

Is your organization ready to make decisions in the 21st century?

© 2017 Definitive Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

John Sammarco has thirty-five years of experience leading, managing, and consulting to top public and private sector organizations, and has over twenty years of experience in facilitating complex group decisions. John founded Definitive Business Solutions in 2003, which provides world-class group decision-making solutions to increase efficiency, boost ROI, and reduce risk associated with business and technology investments. In 2016, John developed Definitive Pro™, which helps groups build consensus and make multi-criteria decisions.