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Dealing with Dilemmas: Where Business Analytics Fall Short by Frank Buytendijk

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Chapter 7. This and That

In the Batman movie, The Dark Knight, District Attorney Harvey Dent flips a coin three times. "Heads it's me, tails it's you," he tells Rachel Dawes, deciding who will be lead counsel at a trial. The coin comes up heads. "Would you really leave something like that up to luck?," she asks him. "I make my own luck," he replies.

You could be lucky, and the dilemma you are facing is simply a complex optimization problem.[31] Most managers are not mathematical experts, and there is no need to be one. However, it is important to know when someone with those specific skills is needed to do some serious number crunching. The good news is that there is a substantial body of techniques that can help find an optimum choice between various alternatives. Complex organizations generate complex decision problems. A rigorous, even scientific, method of investigating and analyzing these problems is necessary. During World War II, requiring better decision making in both economic as well as military issues, the discipline of operations research (also known as management science or quantitative decision making) was born.[140] Operations research (OR) includes techniques such as simulation, decision trees, linear programming (maximizing results while working with limited resources), and dynamic programming (e.g., to find the shortest route for deliveries). Unfortunately, operations research is not widely used. The Dealing with Dilemmas survey showed that 60% of respondents have ...

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