Reliance on 'gut feel' hinders businesses

Businesses are failing to make the best business decisions because they lack the ability to analyse business data.

Businesses are failing to make the best business decisions because they lack the ability to analyse business data.

A major survey of 600 senior executives at large companies, carried out by Accenture, revealed that companies are not analysing data to help the business make decisions.

More than half of the respondents said the company they work for is not structured in a way that supports data analytics to drive the company's strategic plans.

Accenture said little has changed since 2008, when its previous survey revealed 40% of business decisions were based on judgement rather than business analytics, often resulting from a lack of good data.

"The research revealed that senior managers currently fail to see fact - and data-driven analysis - as critical when making key business decisions and instead rely heavily on 'gut feel' and 'soft' factors such as consultation with others, intuition and experience," said Accenture.

The research also revealed those that do use data to help them plan, often use company data, which can be flawed in terms of consistency, accuracy, completeness and format.

Dave Rich, managing director at Accenture's analytics division, warned, "Organisations that fail to tackle the issues around data, technology and analytics talent will lose out to the high-performing 10% who have leveraged predictive analytics to become more agile and adaptive, and gain competitive advantage."


The findings 
  • 40% said current technological resources and systems greatly hinder the effective use of enterprise-wide analytics
  • 51% said they have more opportunities to use analytics to improve the business than they have analytical resources to exploit them
  • 45% said data is housed in isolated parts of their company
  • 52% said that analytical talent is housed separately from the relevant data
  • 30% of US respondents, and 13% of their UK counterparts, said they do not have any professionals dedicated to analytics
  • 71% said senior management is totally or highly committed to analytics and fact-based decision-making
  • 46% of respondents said the long-term goals of their senior management teams include applying analytics in useful areas of the business and becoming more analytical in decision-making styles and methods across their businesses

Read more on Managing IT and business issues