IT Decisions: Do You Follow Your Gut or Your Brain?

InvGate September 1, 2015
- 5 min read


Art-vs-Science-ITSM As we wrap up our theme on The 4 Deadly Sins of Service Management, I want to stress what I see as the most important take away from the entire series.  Everything we’ve highlighted so far this month has been pointed at one unavoidable fact - you’ve got to come to grips with your gut versus your brain.

In today’s post, I’m going to show you some specific instances where pre-planning can save the day.  I’ll also introduce you to an idea that may challenge conventional thinking - is there a point of diminishing returns when it comes to innovation?

Art? Or Science?

In a recent study by PwC it was discovered that 41% of C Level executives made critical business decisions based mostly on their intuition with a mere 23% relying on data and analytics as their main driver.  

Given the quantity of data we have access to for modern business decisions, it’s only a matter of time until the scale tips in the opposite direction.  However, data quality and the ability to tune out the “noise” is something that every organization still struggles with.

Let’s look at 3 things you can to do build a habit of using accurate data, and not just your intuition, in your decision making process:


You shouldn’t spend a dime on innovation until you’ve first formulated a comprehensive plan.  Any plan worth its salt should include:

  • A Clear Set of Goals - This may seem obvious, but the importance of setting goals and benchmarks can’t be stressed enough.  Without goals, you have no definition of success!
  • Opt in From Everyone Involved - Decision makers and end users alike will benefit from your investments in innovation, so both groups need to be on board from the outset.  If any team members voice concerns, address these as early as possible.
  • A Measuring Stick - You’ve got goals, now you have to measure your progress to reaching them.  In addition, make sure you’ve got reasonable deadlines for every phase.

Test & Iterate

  • Locating an opportunity for innovation is only the first step.  To see the process through fully, you’re going to have to test as many of your theories as you can.  In a previous post we laid out a great UX testing strategy for beginners.  In another post, we gave you a way to incorporate Agile and Scrum into your service desk.  If you commit to using data driven processes, you’re on the path to balancing the art and science of decision making!
  • Don’t get lost in the numbers.  Your data has to tell a story so keep this in mind during your analysis phase.  Not sure what story your data is telling?  Lay out your goals in front of you, and work back from there.

Watch Your Step

Many of us can easily fall into the trap of working off of a gut feeling and letting it get the best of us.  Be cautious not to take a path of cherry picking data that proves your opinion. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to dodge this bullet.

  • Seek out an opinion on the team that differs from yours and give it equal weight and serious consideration.
  • Recognize when "groupthink" is taking over.  Even when everyone on the team is in agreement, ensure that your data gathering process has been fully completed.

Know When To Say Yes

So, now you’ve got your goals in hand and a basic data driven process for testing your intuition based hypotheses.  You’re getting closer to pulling the trigger!

Before you take the final plunge, though, confirm your thinking.  Does what you want mesh with what you need?  Have you identified additional areas of need as a result of your data gathering process?  These questions need to be answered before you put dollars into your decision.

And When To Say No

There’s evidence that spending too much on innovation can actually undermine growth and profitability.  According to the study from Bernstein Research, tech companies that spend more than 18% of their revenue on R&D tend to underperform the market - while those spending less actually outperform!

That’s a striking piece of data that tells a real story.  If you’re in a position to spend more on innovation than a direct competitor, you’re in an enviable position!  Keep your focus, though, you still need to squee the max from every dollar spent.  

In Conclusion

As many of our customers and readers already know, we have a passion for User Interface and User Experience here at InvGate.  To support this powerful movement in software development, we are starting a Twitter discussion on the impact that it’s having in the world of innovation.  We would love to hear your thoughts on the topic, please engage with us on Social Media using the hashtag #UXresults and weigh in on the conversation!

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