10 Sep 2014 09:19am

Businesses prefer to use gut instinct, says PwC

Big businesses prefer to make decisions based on gut instinct rather than data and analytics, according to research by Big Four firm PwC

Guts & Gigabytes, published today, shows that 41% of more than 1,100 senior business leaders across the globe prefer to make decisions based on their own intuition and experience, with just 23% saying they prefer to look at data and analytics.

Yann Bonduelle, PwC’s consulting data analytics partner, explained that although business leaders had a history of preferring to use their own experience in decision making, they were slowly coming around to use data as well.

Bonduelle said, “Business leaders have long used their own tried and trusted intuition alongside more scientific and financial factors to make decisions and this has served them well in the past.

“As data become more pervasive, algorithms become more accurate and visualisation more intuitive, business leaders are realising they can make better decisions through using data and analytics more systematically.”

In the UK, 83% of senior executives think that their decision-making has improved in the last two years, but, in contrast, only 40% of businesses report that their use of data and analytics in decision-making has changed significantly.

One contributing factor to this could be directors’ concerns about the quality of data, as well as their ability to process and analyse the information.

Of those questioned in the UK, 41% say they are concerned about quality, accuracy and completeness of data, with a further 41% saying they find it difficult to access useful data.

Tom Lewis, PwC’s head of data analytics, said that data would have an ever-increasing role in decision-making, and stressed the importance of directors becoming more familiar with data analysis.

“The role of data and analytics in our corporate enterprises continues to grow in importance, with 81% of executives recognising a familiarity with data-driven decision making as a prerequisite for senior management roles," he said.

“It is clear that data quality and data overload have been historical issues for some companies but this will reduce as the level of data awareness grows in the senior levels of an organisation.

“In the digital age, as business becomes ever more complex and data becomes ever more available, business leaders need to ensure they know how to quickly make decisions based on their analysis of data.”

Oliver Griffin


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