Strategic Business Decisions Consulting: Unique Data Insights to Power High Performing Organizations

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Barry Massoudi, Managing Partner and Bita Massoudi, Founder & CEO When Bita Massoudi, a Ph.D. holder in Neuroscience, founded Strategic Business Decisions Consulting in 2012, the idea was straightforward. She wanted to promote better business decision making for corporate managers and entrepreneurs by applying advances in brain science to the discipline of economic decisions making.

The corporate sector back then was filled with instances where decision-makers were often presented with data that is not organized, is incomplete, or does not tell a compelling story. As a result, business managers would end up relying on their own experiences and personal judgment to choose the best course of action. Bita realized the need for a comprehensive consulting practice that would enable organizations to overcome such issues through a deep understanding of business requirements and technology expertise—with a touch of neuroscience. And Strategic Business Decisions Consulting was born.

Fast forward to 2019, the challenges caused by poorly organized data has not evaporated completely, but Strategic Business Decisions Consulting has been at the forefront of assisting clients overcome it. As Bita, the CEO and founder of Strategic Business Decisions Consulting puts it, “We help organizations capture, integrate, visualize, and analyze their data and gain insights for making better decisions and unlocking hidden business value.” With experience spanning multiple industries including Telecom, Information Technology, Manufacturing, and Energy, Strategic Business Decisions Consulting helps clients collect and use their data for a variety of applications including marketing effectiveness, sentiment analysis, human resource planning, business operations efficiencies, executive reporting, and obtaining higher deal ROI, among others.

Interactive Data Visualization Dashboards

Strategic Business Decisions Consulting applies a reliable project management approach for building and managing visualization dashboards. “We manage the end to end project lifecycle that includes facilitated visualization design workshops, capturing input from the user, prototype design, accessing and cleaning the data, stabilizing and testing the dashboards, and maintaining and updating the dashboards,” mentions Barry Massoudi, managing partner at Strategic Business Decisions Consulting. Further, they also train users and provide readiness materials on using the data visualization dashboards and identifying key insights.

Barry believes that data visualization dashboards must be compelling, and there are several factors to consider while designing dashboards, including simplicity, clarity, accessibility, and usability. “In general, visualization dashboards should be simple, clear, and easy to understand and standardize,” Barry says. Dashboards should be set up and organized to answer the questions on the mind on the audience. It must use common taxonomy and be as self-explanatory as possible with consistent and clear chart titles. “Consistent data colors between charts help the audience make comparisons between charts.


We help organizations capture, integrate, visualize, and analyze their data and gain insights for making better decisions and unlocking hidden business value


Leaving the wrong impression on the audience will create a reality that must then be corrected at a great investment of time and energy,” says Barry.

Data on interactive dashboards help the audience interface with the data. Strategic Business Decisions Consulting also helps implement tools like PowerBI that enables users to see up-to-date interactive dashboards. Further, Dashboards can be updated with little disruption to users, and FAQ and other documentation can be embedded in the dashboards to explain the visuals, and hyperlinks can provide access to additional information. Each dashboard has a title and a summary of the information represented. Visualized reports can be published and shared through the cloud. For example, PowerBI allows Strategic Business Decisions Consulting to share dashboards through the cloud by either creating an app workspace where clients can bundle content into an app and make it available to others in their organization or creating an app workspace and give colleagues access to that workspace for sharing and collaboration.

Strategic Business Decisions Consulting also ensures that the data fed in the data visualization dashboard is accurate, reliable, and representative of the truth. “Visualization dashboards and the analytics that drive them are never perfect. Customers, markets, and business circumstances change, and thus analytics and visualization dashboards are always a work in progress. We ensure that the data is always accessed, organized, and integrated,” says Bita.

The Human Brain Primer

Bita has been instrumental in Strategic Business Decisions Consulting’s growth through the application of her Neuroscience knowledge to develop unique delivery models for the clients. One such model relates to the human brain, which is armed with different mechanisms to deal with the complexities involved in critical decision making. Its center for cognition and careful reasoning is evened out with the brain’s ability to rapidly process information received from visual cues. “When we work with our clients, we find that their organizations are working hard, and their people are eager to do their best. However, we also find that these same organizations are not performing at their peak because there are either insufficient critical metrics or too many metrics in place, and the metrics don’t clearly connect the top of the organization to all levels,” states Bita. To this end, Strategic Business Decisions Consulting’s visualizations and analytics help decision-makers gain new or deeper business insights and evidence to prove or disprove hypotheses or hunches about the cause and effect of business performance gaps. The data creates credibility and supports the findings; however, it’s the insights that lead to action such as reducing costs, increasing revenue, or enhancing customer retention.

First, Strategic Business Decisions Consulting helps clients discover insights through observations about the current state using metrics and key performance indicators.
“Using metrics and indicators, we explore trends, thresholds, and variations by applying percentages, calculating averages, standard deviation, measuring actual versus targets, etc.,” says Barry. Next step is to understand the “why” or the nature of the event or issue at hand, and designating a cause and effect relationship to it. This includes deep-dives, and data mining. Further, best and most likely future results are estimated through forecasting and regression analysis. “Machine Learning is a useful tool for predicting possible future states such as reducing customer churn, improving customer renewal rates, or identifying upsell and cross-sell opportunities,” says Bita. Finally, different alternatives and decision criteria are used to arrive at a set of recommendations and actions to be undertaken to achieve the strategic business objectives.

Leveraging Data for Effective Storytelling

Another area where Strategic Business Decisions Consulting excels is in helping clients make informed business decisions through effective storytelling. “Our brains are hardwired to process stories. Stories pass information, insights, experiences and emotions to the audience. Reading a report only lights up the language processing part of the brain to translate words into meaning. Stories, on the other hand, light up other parts of the brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story,” explains Bita. Strategic Business Decisions Consulting assists clients in exploring the data for insights by starting with an open and unbiased view and allowing the data story to reveal itself. The company ensures that the hard data and anecdotal evidence is supporting the storyline and the final recommendation being presented. “Start with a draft storyline and then refine it. The story must be logical, uncomplicated, supported by hard data, separate facts from opinions, must be persuasive and appeal to the audience’s emotions. Examples and anecdotes bring the data story to life,” comments Barry.

Strategic Business Decisions Consulting ensures that the client’s goal of storytelling is to convince the audience to act. To this end, the team must first articulate their key recommendations and then build the data story around those recommendations. “It’s easy to get lost in all the data and the numerous small and large findings from the data analysis. The audience is less interested in the methodology and data analysis work. They are more interested in the findings and conclusions from the analysis,” says Bita. The story starts with discussing the problem at hand, the analysis findings and conclusions such as the size of the opportunity and the timeline to get to the results, and then present the recommendations and the call to action. Barry adds, “We must also understand the audience’s pain-points, worries, and fears.” This knowledge will help tailor the data and visualizations to present what’s important to the audience.

"We ensure that the data is always accessed, organized, and integrated"

Toward a Better Future

Whether it’s creating data visualization by tapping the human brain or telling compelling stories, Strategic Business Decisions Consulting has truly carved a unique niche by combining neuroscience and analytics. Going ahead, the company is looking to continue its growth by being a part of its clients’ transformation. Barry believes that digital transformation, big data, cloud computing, internet of things, 5G mobile, AI, augmented reality, and data security and privacy will affect data visualization and analytics in the near future, and Strategic Business Decisions Consulting will be at the forefront of evolving with these developments.

“We have been at the forefront of understanding what the industry and our clients want and how to apply technology to help them, and that’s how we will stride forward,” concludes Bita.

Company
Strategic Business Decisions Consulting

Headquarters
Seattle, WA

Management
Barry Massoudi, Managing Partner and Bita Massoudi, Founder & CEO

Description
Strategic Business Decisions Consulting applies a reliable project management approach for building and managing visualization dashboards. They manage the end to end project lifecycle that includes facilitated visualization design workshops, capturing input from user, prototype design, accessing and cleaning the data, stabilizing and testing the dashboards, and maintaining and updating the dashboards. Further, they also train users and provide readiness materials on using the data visualization dashboards and identifying key insights

Strategic Business Decisions Consulting