Canadian Manufacturing

Big data makes big impact, but study shows firms still rely on human judgement

The study from PwC says companies shouldn't simply focus on collecting data, but understand how to find the questions worth asking



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The report found that while many companies recognize the value of data, only 28 per cent have embraced predictive analysis

TORONTO—A new report shows 65 per cent of executives still rely on human judgement to inform significant business decisions, but Canadian companies are quickly becoming more data driven.

The study from consulting firm PwC released June 27 aims to illustrate how enterprises around the world are limiting risk and leveraging data to make the big decisions that will give them a competitive edge.

“While many companies have embraced the use and recognized the value of data to evaluate past performance, only 28 per cent have embraced the use of predictive analytics,” said Ramy Sedra, Data and Analytics Consulting Leader, PwC Canada. “With a market environment that is evolving at a more rapid pace than ever before, speed and the ability to adjust to change are now table stakes. Investing in unlocking the power of data to inform big business decisions can have a significant impact on a company’s ability not just to remain relevant and viable but to disrupt, thrive and lead.”

With insights across multiple industries and sectors, the survey of more than 2,100 company decision-makers and leaders (207 in Canada) found that:

  • 65 per cent of executives still rely on human judgement to inform significant business decisions but Canadian companies are quickly becoming more data driven
  • To stay competitive, companies are beginning to understand the power of predictive analytics, and how smart data can empower leaders to create positive change with greater agility.
  • While one in three Canadian organizations are highly data-driven, globally there are still a surprisingly low number of companies with predictive analytics available, with only 29% of decision-makers stating they have that capability.
  • 69 per cent of Canadian organizations are being prompted to make big decisions in order to remain competitive and survive in an evolving marketplace, whereas 24% are being driven by disruption.
  • One of the greatest roadblocks to the successful use of data and analytics – a lack of leadership “courage,” or a fear amongst the c-suite about advancing the use of data.

PwC says companies need to not just collect big data, but question their “sphere of discovery,” understand how to find the questions worth asking, build an awareness of who is responsible for making decisions and take action as well as track outcomes to determine the best approach.

Get the full survey here.

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