Why Apps?


Should There Be An App For That?

Apps have become integrated into our daily lives. Apps are so ubiquitous that it has even given rise to a series of 'App for That' jokes. Perhaps better than asking, 'Is There An App For That?' we should be asking 'Should There Be an App For That?' and 'Why Apps?'' in general.

In this short primer, we seek to answer the when, where, and why of a technology-enabled approach and the benefits that can be gained from including the structure of apps. Specifically, we will address how Economic Data Sciences (EDS) uses apps as a core part of its approach, and how that helps EDS focus on outcomes.

When Are Apps Beneficial?

While we believe strongly in the benefits of apps in our approach, we certainly aren't suggesting that all apps are useful or that apps are always the right tool for the job. In fact, there are some rather famous examples of useless apps that can be entertaining to peruse.

In reality, there are some specific criteria for when apps and technology-enabled approaches are the best path forward. In the table we review these criteria along with their bottom-line business benefits.

The main takeaways from the table boil down to, apps are beneficial when:

  1. The process is repeatable or generalizable.
  2. The benefits can scale either because:
    • Each decision is high-stake.
    • Many, many decisions need to be made such that smaller amounts add up to a large total.
    • The capacity for error to compound in a complex system is high.
  3. A systematic process protects decision makers and allows for long-term improvement of the process.

Criteria Bottom-Line Benefit
Repeatable Process Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is perhaps the most straight-forward benefit of using a technology-led approach. This frees up current resources to focus on more value-additive tasks and lowers the costs of these repeatable, and often rote or dull tasks.
Ability to Scale Creating or investing in an app or any technology that will only be used a single time doesn't make much sense. In most cases though, single questions can be generalizable into re-useable insight and/or analytics. If this criteria is met, the cost/benefit of using apps quickly becomes much more attractive and profitable.
High-Stakes or Complexity Using a technology-enabled approach only truly makes sense when the stakes (payoff/risk) for each decision is important enough to merit the effort or if the complexity means that small errors repeated several times are likely to compound into a high-stakes scenario. In other words, don't use an app when a coin-flip will do.
Systematic Record-Keeping This criteria may be the most under-rated and potentially powerful benefits to using a technology-led approach. First, it maintains a clear recrod of decisions that can be put under scrutiny. Second, because of this systematic approach it allows for learning and improving of the process to improve outcomes further.

The good news here is that these criteria apply to most situations, meaning a technology-enabled process can almost always help improve outcomes, efficiency, and transparency. Of course, apps and technology are not the right tool in every scenario. Using human insight and intuition will always be a inseparable part of the process, but if possible, the benefits of using a technology-led approach which can be augmented by human insight, can bring the best of both worlds.

Best of Both Worlds

Decision makers understand the benefits of a systematic, technology-led approach. That said, it is important to the decision making process to be able to incorporate human insight and intuition.

Economic Data Sciences is a consultancy and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider which allows us to bring expertise to bear and to incorporate human-driven insight into a systematic and technology-enabled process in the forms of apps and machine intelligence (AI/ML).

Much of the work of consultants do is to gather, clean, process, analyze, and present information gathered externally and inside the client’s organization – work that AI can do much faster and is already performing

The EDS approach and solutions bring the best of both worlds to our clients' needs. Our ability to systematically track preferences and outcomes provides a better and more transaparent record of the decision making process and a focus on improving outcomes.

More informed decision lead to better outcomes. By combining a technology-enabled approach using machine intelligence with human-driven insight,

Consultancies are built for two-by-two matrices. AI’s matrices are a million by a million.

the EDS approach and tools can use more information and provide more transparency at scale. We seek to empower decision makers with clear, optimal trade-offs while including their specific preferences. This benefit combined with the auditable decision record trail both protects decision makers and leads to more informed decisions in ways that traditional approaches simply can not replicate.

If you are interested in what a more informed decisions and a technology-enabled approach can do for you, reach out and let us customize a solution for your problem and preferences.


Most decisions require trade-offs and uncertainty, which is the acceptance of risk. Investing in particular involves uncertainty and therefore the value of your investment can go down as well as up and it is possible to get back less than you originally invested. Our tools are focused on measuring more risk and making more informed decisions, but that is not the same as eliminating risk.
Learn more about uncertainty, risk, and our outcomes here.

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