Managers rely on judgement 'rather than data' to make critical decisions

Senior managers still rely heavily on their judgement, rather than on hard facts, when making important business decisions, new research from Accenture has found.

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Senior managers still rely heavily on their judgement, rather than on hard facts, when making important business decisions, new research from Accenture has found.

In a survey of 600 senior managers at more than 500 blue-chip companies in the UK, Ireland and the US, Accenture found that senior managers are continuing to base decisions on soft factors such as gut feelings, consultations with others, intuition and experience, rather than on hard data analytics.

Accenture said that little had changed since its 2008 survey, which found that 40 percent of business decisions were based on judgment rather than business analytics, often due to a lack of good data.

Although in the latest survey, respondents in the UK and Ireland generally rated the quality of data higher than the US respondents, ratings for the consistency, accuracy, completeness and format of company data for analytics were consistently average.

The researchers also found that business’ analytics capabilities were being hindered by data being siloed, outdated technology and a lack of analytical talent in the companies. Accenture believed that these factors were preventing firms from gaining valuable insight that could lead to better business results.

More than half (52 percent) of respondents said that their data analysts were separated from their firm’s relevant data, while 45 percent said that their data was kept in isolated parts of their business. In addition, 13 percent of UK and Ireland respondents said that their organisations do not have any dedicated analytics staff.

Meanwhile, 40 percent of all the respondents blamed the state of their current IT for hindering the effective use of enterprise-wide analytics in their firms, while 51 percent said they didn’t have sufficient analytical resources to support their opportunities for using data analytics.

Dave Rich, managing director of the Accenture Analytics Group, said: “While there are many tools that enable organisations to examine historical data, what’s needed is the ability to properly identify and analyse the data and gain the insight that enables one to make better decisions.

“Organisations that fail to tackle the issues around data, technology and analytics talent will lose out to the high-performing 10 percent who have leveraged predictive analytics to become more agile and adaptive, and gain competitive advantage.”

Although the research found that many companies have weak analytics capabilities, 71 percent of respondents said that their organisations were committed to developing their analytics potential.

The capability to model and predict behaviour, actions and decisions was cited widely as the long-term analytical priority for the companies surveyed.

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