New Study by Oracle Reveals Business Leaders are Struggling to Make Decisions

According to a new study, “The Decision Dilemma” by Oracle and Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, data scientist and author of Everybody Lies and Don’t Trust Your Gut, people feel overwhelmed and under qualified to use data to make decisions.

The study of more than 14,000 employees and business leaders across 17 countries found that people are struggling to make decisions in their personal and professional lives at a time when they are being forced to make more decisions than ever before.

“As businesses expand to serve new customers in new ways, the number of data inputs they need to get the full picture expands too. Business leaders that make critical decisions about how to manage their companies ignore that data at their own risk,” said T.K. Anand, executive vice president, Oracle Analytics. “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. What people really need is to be able to connect data to insight to decision to action. With our span of connected cloud capabilities, ranging from foundational data management to augmented and applied analytics, to our suite of operational applications, we are uniquely positioned to meet this need.”

People are overwhelmed by the amount of data and this is damaging trust, making decisions much more complicated, and negatively impacting their quality of life, according to the study.

Eighty-six percent say the volume of data is making decisions in their personal and professional lives much more complicated and 59% admit they face a decision dilemma—not knowing what decision to make—more than once every single day.

Thirty-five percent don’t know which data or sources to trust and 70% have given up on deciding because the data was overwhelming.

Eighty-five percent of people say this inability to make decisions is having a negative impact on their quality of life. It is causing spikes in anxiety (36%), missed opportunities (33%), and unnecessary spending (29%).

Business leaders want data to help and know it is critical to the success of their organizations, but don’t believe they have the tools to be successful which is eroding their confidence and ability to make timely decisions.

Managing different data sources has required additional resources to collect all the data (40%), made strategic decision making slower (36%), and introduced more opportunities for error (26%).

Business leaders do not believe that the current approach to data and analytics is addressing these challenges.

Business leaders know this needs to change. They believe the right data and insights can help them make better HR (94%), finance (94%), supply chain (94%), and customer experience (93%) decisions.

The situation is so challenging that 64% of people—and 70% of business leaders—would prefer for all these difficulties to just go away and to have a robot make their decisions.

Despite their frustrations with data in their personal and professional worlds, people know that without data their decisions would be less accurate (44%), less successful (27%), and more prone to error (39%).

People also believe that an organization that uses technology to make data-driven decisions is more trustworthy (79%), will be more successful (79 percent), is a company they’re more likely to invest in (76%), partner with (77%), and work for (78%).

“People are drowning in data,” said Stephens-Davidowitz. “This study highlights how the overwhelming amount of inputs a person gets in their average day—internet searches, news alerts, unsolicited comments from friends—frequently add up to more information than the brain is configured to handle. People are tempted to throw out the confusing, and sometimes conflicting, data and just do what feels right. But this can be a big mistake. It has been proven over and over again that our instincts can lead us astray and the best decision-making is done with a proper understanding of the relevant data. Finding a way to get a handle on the stream of data at their fingertips, to help businesses distinguish between the signal and the noise, is a crucial first step.”

For more information about this study, visit