Capability to Access Right Data Can Make or Break a Company’s Bottom Line: Report

Data can be an extremely underutilized tool, and a company’s capability to access the right data, at the right time, and then look at it through the right lens, can make or break a bottom line, according to PwC’s 2016 Big Decision Survey.

Launching new products and services; entering new markets; and investing in IT are the three most important big decisions facing executives around the world today, says the survey. However, the survey also demonstrates the often unrealized value of data to lower the inherent risk in decision-making.

“Leaders are stuck at a crossroads, with 28% of decision-makers polled stating that they’re just trying to survive in a state of disruption,” says Dan DiFilippo, PwC's Global and US Data and Analytics Leader.

The survey reveals that companies are looking to grow in new markets and a large portion of them (48%) describe themselves as highly data driven. Executives want decision-making to be faster, especially in banking, insurance, and healthcare. But decision-makers say there’s even more work to be done on sophistication.

Companies are also beginning to understand the power of forward-looking predictive and prescriptive analytics. But there are still a surprisingly low number (29%) of companies who use predictive analytics.

The survey also found that a significant role for machines is emerging. Forty-one percent of leaders say big decisions will require analysis using machine algorithms.

PwC’s newest survey encourages companies to ask the right questions that will lead to data solutions. Companies need to not just collect big data, but question their sphere of discovery, understand how to find the questions worth asking (before looking for the answers in the data), build an awareness of who is responsible for making decisions and taking action and really think about how to track outcomes to determine if the best approach is being taken.