Does data help in decision-making? 72% business leaders think not

According to a study, 91 per cent of business leaders feel the growing number of data sources has hampered the success of their organisations, while 72% admit that the overwhelming volume of data has stopped them from making any decision at all.


Can availability of data ever be unfavourable to business decision-making? One would think even the question is ridiculous. After all, we all know how important data is to the very process of decision-making. Surprisingly, a study reveals that a whopping 91 per cent business leaders feel the growing number of data sources has hampered the success of their organisations. A good 72 per cent admit that the volume of data is so overwhelming that it has stopped them from arriving at any decision at all!

Interesting, you’d say? Wait till you see the other revelations made by the report titled Decision Dilemma, by Oracle, and DKC Analytics and New York Times bestselling author, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz.

About 78 per cent feel they have more data from more sources than ever before. About 55 per cent believe the number of sources has increased more than three times in the last three years! So, yes, it appears we have more data at our disposal than we’d ever have imagined. Yet, instead of making decision-making easier, this deluge of data is actually acting as a deterrent. So much so that a significant number of people would rather have robots doing the decision-making for them!

An alarming 86 per cent of those surveyed, feel the volume of data is making decisions in their personal and professional lives more complicated. About 29 per cent feel they have so much data at hand that they do not know where to begin.

Is data availability limiting decision-making?

Data should always help, right? And 97 per cent people really do seek help from data. But data, on the other hand, seems to be doing just the opposite. While 91 per cent of business leaders say the growing number of data sources has limited the success of their organisations, 73 per cent admit their lack of trust in data has kept them from making any decision at all.

This decision dilemma is adversely affect personal health and well-being, with 85 per cent of people saying that the inability to make decisions is negatively impacting their quality of life.

With 93 per cent of business leaders believing that the right type of decision intelligence can make or break the success of an organisation, the right approach to data management and analytics seems to be more essential for business success that ever before.

While 45 per cent business leaders know that without data their decisions would be far from accurate, 29 per cent admit that their business will be less successful without data and 41 per cent feel they would be more prone to errors.

A majority (93 per cent) of people say their manner of decision-making has changed over the last three years. While 39 per cent now only listen to the sources they trust, 34 per cent are delaying decision-making altogether. About 32 per cent consult friends, while 29 per cent trust their gut feelings.

While attempting to begin decision-making, 35 per cent do not know which data sources to trust, and 70 per cent of people simply give up on making any decisions at all.

What is more, the negative consequences persist even after the decision is made. About 84 per cent of people admitted to feeling decision distress, and experiencing guilt, regret and uncertainty from a choice they made within the past year. About 86 per cent of respondents admitted that the volume of data has had an adverse effect on their confidence level, while 31 per cent said that it confused them. About 46 per cent even began questioning their decisions!

How is data negatively impacting people?

Clearly, the relationship between data and decision-making is more complex than we imagined. Unbelievably, the influx of data is actually harming business performance!

Professional impact: Professionally speaking, 35 per cent of the respondents state it creates unnecessary work, while 32 per cent experience burnout. About 26 per cent stall career progress/miss promotion opportunities, while 24 per cent face career consequences (i.e., termination, demotion, movement to a different team) due to incorrect decision-making.

Twenty-four per cent have made more errors/mistakes, while 21 per cent have faced financial risks.

Personal impact: In terms of personal life, 34 per cent of those surveyed began questioning their major life choices, such as marriage, family and moving. About 33 per cent have wasted money, 31 per cent admit it causes arguments between family and friends, and 31 per cent stall life plans owing to uncertainty.

An increase in anxiety has been faced by 36 per cent of people, while 33 per cent have missed opportunities and 29 per cent have indulged in unnecessary expenditure. About 26 per cent say their confidence was crushed and 25 per cent even faced a decision paralysis.

In the world of business, decision-making is crucial, since a dilemma in this regard can affect the risk tolerance of not just the senior executives but also investors. Needless to say this affects every division of the business, and in turn, the economy.

The survey that covered over 14,000 employees and business leaders across 17 countries, reveals that the number of decisions we make every day is multiplying. About 74 per cent of people admit that the number of decisions they make every day has increased 10x over the past three years.

About 59 per cent of people confess to having experienced a decision dilemma more than once every day. About 70 per cent have admitted to giving up on decision-making altogether because the data was too overwhelming. Over 83 per cent of people have felt the negative impact of the decision-making dilemma on their personal and professional lives.

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