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EXECUTIVES SPLIT ON USING BIG DATA TO MAKE BIG DECISIONS
May 11, 2016 News

More than half of Canadian executives (52%) say they rely too much on data and analytics when making decisions and not enough on their intuition, finds a survey by the Smith School of Business. Meanwhile, 41% indicate they rely on their intuition and experience more and not enough on data and analytics.

“We’ve seen an incredible uptick in the amount of data available to business leaders over the past decade,” says Salman Mufti, associate dean and executive director of Queen’s Executive Education at Smith School of Business. “However, leaders are still learning how to best use that data to improve the efficiency and profitability of their organizations.”

The survey of 250 senior leaders in Canada reveals that big data is  changing how business leaders make decisions. Executives are now relying more on data analytics to guide strategic business moves, saying that their decisions tend to yield better results when based on data analytics, instead of experience or intuition.

Here are some key findings.

  • 81% at least somewhat agree that big data is changing how leaders make major business decisions, and that important decisions are now based more on data and analytics and less on intuition and experience; and
  • 56% find that decisions based on data analytics, as opposed to experience and intuition, tend to deliver better results; 28% say it makes no difference.

ANALYTICS VS. GUT

So when do executives rely on data analytics, and when do they tend to go with their gut?

Executives agree that business leaders must go with their gut and intuition when time is of the essence. They also tend to rely on intuition when making people-oriented decisions and when dealing with volatile situations – such as crises – where there is more focus on interpersonal and relational assessment than just data analysis.

Additional findings:

  • 78% at least somewhat agree that a business leader must go with his or her gut and intuition when an important decision needs to be made quickly; and
  • data analytics is behind the majority of leaders’ strategic decision-making (71%), while they tend to use intuition to make decisions involving their teams (66%) and crisis management (65%).

BARRIERS

The survey highlights the following top five barriers to using more data and analytics.

  • Availability and accessibility of accurate or reliable data (25%)
  • Lack of tools to collect and analyze data (21%)
  • Lack of staff with expertise to collect and analyze data (18%)
  • Lack of time  to collect and analyze data (14%)
  • Reliance on intuition/data interpretation (9%)

This article was originally published on www.advisor.com and can be viewed in full

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