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The growing volume of data, expanding number of sources and its increasing complexity is undermining leaders’ ability to confidently use it to make decisions, a new report finds.
After years of asking for more data to better inform decisions, employees and business leaders are becoming overwhelmed by the amount of available data and are frequently unable to confidently draw actionable insights from it, a new report suggests.
Although 97% of respondents to a global Oracle survey said they wanted data to help them make better and faster decisions, reduce risk and increase profits, 72% admitted that the volume of data—and their lack of trust in it—has prevented them from making any decisions at all. In fact, the survey released April 19 found that 91% of business leaders said they believe “the growing number of data sources has limited the success of their organizations.”
Dealing with an expanding number of data sources requires more resources to collect the data, increases integration costs, introduces more opportunities for error and slows down strategic decision-making, respondents said.
Part of the problem is that leaders feel unqualified to conduct or draw conclusions from their data. Nearly three-quarters said most data is primarily helpful to IT staff or data scientists who are trained to interpret the data and leverage the insights in meaningful ways. Only 30% of business leaders said they have the analytics background necessary to use their findings effectively.
Plus, dashboards are not living up to their expectations, with 77% of business leaders saying that the dashboards and charts they get do not always relate directly to the decisions they need to make.
As a result, 85% of business leaders said they have suffered from “decision distress,” second-guessing recent decisions. The situation is so bad, the report said, that 21% of the respondents said they have already given up on collecting and interpreting data and instead are “going back to making decisions solely based on gut instincts.” Business leaders aren’t much more optimistic, with 70% saying they would prefer “to have a robot make their decisions.”
Yet individuals and organization leaders understand the importance of data-driven decision-making. Business leaders overwhelmingly said they believe the right data and insights can improve human resources (94%), finance (94%), supply chain (94%) and customer experience (93%) decisions.
The survey also found that people believe that an organization invested in data-driven decision-making is more trustworthy and successful as well as more likely to be a good partner and employer.
“The hesitancy, distrust, and lack of understanding of data shown by this study indicates that many people and organizations need to rethink their approach to data and decision making,” T.K. Anand, executive vice president of Oracle Analytics, said in a press statement. “What people really need is to be able to connect data to insight to decision to action.”
The global survey of 14,250 people was conducted by DKC Analytics in January 2023. Half of the respondents in each country were business leaders, and half were members of the general workforce.