With the help of this report, a lot of information related to decision-making in business can be gained. Here, the business data analytics was learned as the primary data collection and analysis was conducted on the organisational challenge. The problem of rising operational cost of Torrens University was highlighted and through decision-making tools and visualisation, the issue was addressed and recommendations are presented in the report. It was recommended that Torrens should make use of ERP system for better guidance and avoid redo work. Also, changes in the current leadership style is also required in Torrens. Apart from this, other recommendations were also enlisted in the report.
Decision-making is all about making the right choice among all the available alternatives. In business, every operation require some sort of decisions related to planning or organising or controlling the operations. However, with the help of some decision-making tools, organisations are making the best decisions for their business. In the following report, a problem related to a business entity is discussed and with the help of decision-making tools, certain decisions are made. For that purpose, data collection and data analysis are carried out for better understanding of the issues. Finally, some recommendations are provided for the firm.
I am the Finance Manager working at Torrens University and my job is to manage all the transactions and flow of funds of the University. I have been auditing the accounts of the University and determined that in the past six months, the operational cost of Torrens has increased by 45% which is a major concern for me. I have called upon an executive level meeting in which all the managers and senior executives came and the issue was discussed openly. The factors causing increase in the operating cost and measures to control it were discussed. The major decisions made are regarding:-
The primary research question is what could be the best solution to control the operating cost of Torrens University?
I very well understand that for any decision-making, data is required for analysis. For instance, the data related to all the operations taking place in the university along with the amount of funds consumed by each of them. Looking into the requirements and agendas discussed in the meeting, it was determined that both qualitative and quantitative data would require to be collected.Here, the most useful data source was the documents in the accounts office that helped in getting the information regarding the factors causing increasing operational cost of the University. Also, some primary research was also conducted for better understanding of the issues (Chen, et.al, 2019). For that purpose, questionnaire survey was carried out and senior experts from all the departments were send the questionnaire form to fill and submit back to the finance department. The data was collected in a semi-structured form.
Through the questionnaire survey, people in the University were asked about their opinion on the best way to manage the financial data and analysis techniques (Dhami& Thomson, 2012). Also, they were asked whether they are aware of any software that can help in managing Torrens’s financial resources. For the data collection purpose, 70 people were sent the survey form and out of which only 50 have responded well and submitted the forms. The process is repeated until a consensus is produced.
For easing the decision making process, certain decision-making tools are brought into use. These are discussed in this section:-
Group Decision Support System (GDSS):As it is already discussed that decision making process involves large amount of data (both quantitative and qualitative). This would help in ensuring the better analysis of the issues through a transparent, accurate, and ethical process (Dhami& Thomson, 2012). GDSS helps the decision-maker or the executives to utilise the data collected from different departments of the University. This helps in generating useful information out of the data and understand the key factors causing operating cost to increase by 45% in the past six months. However, before making use of the GDSS as decision-making tool, there are some prerequisites to be taken care of. These are determining the real issues and ways to resolve them. Once this is done, the tool can be brought into use for selecting the best choice for the case (Xiao, et.al, 2015). In the meeting, the thorough discussion on the operating cost and ways to reduce it was done and therefore, I can easily make use of the GDSS tool for the case.
Decision Tree Analysis:In the case, decision tree analysis was also made into use. This is due to the fact that there are many options available with me to manage the funds of the University and put a control over the factors increasing the operating cost. With the help of decision tree analysis, all the possible solutions was compared simultaneously and the best of them was chosen for the case (Li, et.al, 2016). Since it is based on certain algorithms, a non-parametric method for splitting the collected data was brought into use and some meaningful outcomes were recorded. The best part of this technique that it gave me an option to resolve both classification and regression problems. The major advantage I got from this technique is that the data did not much analysis efforts like normalisation. In addition to this, it did not ask for scaling the data and also any biases in the data or missing value did not hamper much in the decision-making process. Also, in the meeting, people from different background were present and decision tree model was easy to explain and understand and is very intuitive.
Delphi Technique:this method was intentionally opted for this research as the primary survey was required to be carried out and thus, Delphi technique is the apt one. After a thorough discussion with the finance team, I decided to send the questionnaire to the senior members of each departments and anonymous responses are recorded (Eling, et.al, 2014). The experts are also allowed to adjust their responses in the next round based on their interpretation of the response of majority people in the University. This method helped me in getting opinion from diverse people working in different departments regarding the factors increasing the operating cost of the university. Since the responses are recorded anonymously, the experts felt comfortable in giving their honest opinion (Widanarko, et.al, 2018). The data collected from this method helped in facilitating the further discussion with the senior management and zeroing down on the options that would help in minimising the funds and their best management.
The operating cost expense comprise many major and minor expenses, such as operation and maintenance, equipment cost, labour cost, travel expense, and cost of redo work. I gathered this information while going through the accounts files. It is important to understand that the data was collected from questionnaire survey in which five set of questions were listed. The responses were recorded and fed into Excel (Cui, 2016).The data is converted into graphical form for better understanding of the outcomes of the research. These are presented below:-
In Torrens, 90% of people believe that finance management of the university is not up to the mark and it needs major changes for better operations. Many of them are not happy with the way the records are managed manually.
Equipment purchasing costa
The most amazing that was revealed that 60% of the employees believe that cost of redo work is the primary reason for rising cost of the operations of Torrens University. It was determined that travel expense is the second major contributor in the operation cost. Hence, these are required to be cut down anyhow.
Implement ERP System for reducing redo work
Cut travel allowance
Cut O&M funds
Purchase Used equipment
As poor quality of work is the primary reason for redo work and this increases resource consumption and labour cost. The degradation of quality happens due to lack of guidance and directions. 50% of people believe that implementing ERP solutions can help in improving quality.
80% of people in the organisation believe that digitalisation of the records can help in improving the finance management of the university.
Cloud-based Finance Manager
Oracle Financial Tool
End-to-end integrated finance management tool
60% of people believe that the most suitable fund management software can be the one that has the end-to-end integration feature. This would help in better integration of expenditure data from all the departments. The team leaders can update their expenses directly in the database of the software.
From the complete data analysis of the operations and challenges faced by the organisation, a lot of clarity has been gained. Therefore, some recommendations are presented for the organisation. First, it needs to bring some changes in the leadership as the employees are not been guided properly and this is causing poor quality of work. This has also increased the amount of work being redone by the employees. Therefore, ERP system should be implemented across all the departments and every one should be made to use it for assigning the task (Kalkman, et.al, 2018). This would ensure proper information flow across all the levels. Also, digitalisation of record keeping can help in better analysis and auditing of the financial data of the firm. For that purpose, an end-to-end integrated system is recommended to be used in the University.
The recommended budget for the changes required are:-
Software Purchase for Record Keeping
As a decision maker, it’s my duty to take care that only relevant decisions are made. For that purpose, I must have in-depth knowledge of the decision making tools and analytics. I believe including IT technology in the normal functioning of the firm can help me in sound functioning and better results (Gardner& Bateman, 2017). I realised that out of many options available, the decision-maker must choose the tool that has more usefulness for the current scenario. ERP system is the choice of the people working in Torrens. Therefore, it should be implemented along with other data analysis software.
From the complete business data analytics, many lessons were learned and knowledge of organisational decision-making was gained. It was determined through primary data collection and data analysis that redo work due to poor leadership in the organisation. It was seen that digital and IT software can help in better funds management and record-keeping. Overall, the reflection of complete learning from the assessment was presented in the report.
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