Analytical Gunslingers: Fast-Draw Decision Makers


When it comes to making decisions, do you like to shoot from the hip? Do you think relying on your gut will deliver faster, if not better, results than taking the time to crunch the numbers? Maybe you’re an analytical gunslinger.

Last time, I described the analytical detectives that the research group Aberdeen identified when it assessed the analytical and emotional traits of 650 business intelligence (BI) users as part of its Analytical Mind Map project. In this post, I’ll cover analytical gunslingers, the ones most likely to take risks and make quick decisions based on experience and instinct rather than data analytics. If BI or analytics solutions are part of their process at all, gunslingers are consumers of insights — they are generally not the people coming up with fresh perspectives.

Who are the gunslingers? Why do they have trigger fingers?

Gunslingers are under pressure. A gunslinger sees how quickly business is moving and needs to make decisions fast. There’s no time for weighing a million options. Making a decision — even a potentially flawed one — is better than delaying for any reason. With gunslingers, quick, instinct-driven decisions provide the fastest way to keep up with an accelerating world.

They are frustrated by poor data access. For gunslingers, the data-driven path to decision making is plagued with problems. Accessing the right data is often too difficult and time-consuming. Using analytical tools presents additional issues: Gunslingers often find analytical tools too cumbersome or counterintuitive. At the same time, few gunslingers have the time or inclination to rely on analytics specialists for answers.

Even if gunslingers could find the right data and analyze it in the right way, they might be frustrated with the speed of results; they want their information immediately. Otherwise, gunslingers are more than happy to rely on experience and instinct.

They are primed for real-time analytics and self-service capabilities. The quest for immediate results makes gunslingers perfect candidates for real-time analytics solutions. While gunslingers are often slow to adopt new technologies, the right technologies could help supplement and enhance their instinct-driven decisions.

The do-it-yourself that’s common among gunslingers means that any new solutions should have self-service capabilities. If gunslingers can analyze data and access new insights on their own, then they might be willing to incorporate data-driven information into their decision-making process.

Furthermore, the right analytical tools can help gunslingers define and measure key performance indicators (KPIs). Identifying past successes and failures can enable gunslingers to improve their skills.

Is your hand hovering over your holster?

Do these traits sound a little too familiar? If you’re a gunslinger, you know that your ability to make swift decisions can be an important skill. But you might consider ways to supplement your instincts with BI and analytical tools.

If you’re not a gunslinger, but you have some in your organization, consider implementing solutions that reduce the barriers to data-driven decision making. Seek out solutions that can accelerate access to data, enable real-time analyses and help identify the right metrics for assessing previous outcomes. With the right tools, your gunslingers can improve their decision making without sacrificing speed.

To learn more, read the Aberdeen report, “Analytical Gunslingers: The Quick and the Dead.” Keep an eye out for my upcoming, final post in this series on analytical evangelists.  

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