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Experience and Intuition Challenge Analytics, finds PwC

Executives are relying more on experience and advice than on data to make critical choices. But data-driven organizations report improved decision-making, according to a new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by consulting form PwC. Executives’ intuition or experience and the advice and experience of others in their organization were the decision-making modes of choice for 58 percent of the executives, the report says.

A huge majority of the 1,135 executives worldwide (94 percent) surveyed in May 2014 for the report say management of their company is prepared to make significant decisions about the strategic direction of their business. But barely one-third relied primarily on data and analytics when they made their last big decision.

Still, of the executives from highly data-driven companies, 43 percent report significant improvements in decision-making over the last two years. All executives said a top priority over the next two years is to make investments in the quality of data analysis to make better decisions.

More than three-fourths of the executives say they make a big decision each quarter and 43 percent review them every month.

“A company’s success today is tied to how good it is at making big decisions,” Dan DiFilippo, PwC’s global and U.S. data and analytics leader. “While executives say they continue to rely on experience, advice or their own gut instinct, they also see investment in data and analytics as critical to success. Experience and intuition and the use of data and analytics are not mutually exclusive. The challenge for business is how best to marry the two.”

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