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Time Criticality - The Importance of Decision Making


Flight engineers at Johnson’s Space Center monitor data from orbital maneuvering systems (OMS in rockets). These systems are intended to propel the rocket into a defined orbit. They have sensors that send back data on engine performance.

The engineers may be called upon to make a time critical decision. Should the rocket’s thrusters be fired (to enter an orbit) in the face of the OMS returning adverse data on engine performance? This is a critical decision. Firing the thrusters may cause the rocket to explode if the OMS is malfunctioning. Not firing the thrusters may cause the rocket to crash. Sophisticated information systems delivering time critical information are the need of the hour.

In an article on Display of Information for Time Critical Information, Horowitz (Microsoft) and Barry (NASA) define the goal of a display management system, in time critical situations is to maximize the utility of an operator’s decisions. They go on to define a measure called Expected Value of Revealed Information (EVRI) which is expected utility of considering previously hidden information. There many such measures, each adding a dimension that spells certainty, time and costs. Any inaccuracies in the measures revealed or any delays in the consideration (or non-consideration) can cause substantial losses, they argue.

The important take away from the above is that, revealed information should be accurate (as in based on gold standards). Additionally, the display should reveal more only when the utility of such a revelation is high.

Consider a sales man who is on Ramco’s cloud ERP. When dialoging with customers, he has already been alerted on product availability so that he may commit a delivery date. So how does he take a decision when the product is not available as per customer demand? Should he be (1) saying sorry, (2) negotiating for a later date of delivery, (3) assessing whether production can pushed to produce incrementally, or (4) just make a blind commitment as delivery is not his concern?

To be continued…

Contributed by : K Shyaam Sunder, Chief Knowledge Officer, Ramco Systems

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Time Criticality & Ramco OnDemand Analytics on the Cloud

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