New research highlights the costly disconnect between data and decisions

Study by Business Objects and BusinessWeek Research Services Finds a Majority of Critical Business Decisions Are Based on "Gut Feel," Rather than Fact

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 20, 2004 -- A new research study conducted by BusinessWeek Research Services and Business Objects (Nasdaq:BOBJ)(Euronext Paris ISIN code FR0004026250 - BOB), the world's leading provider of business intelligence (BI) solutions, shows that executives throughout the United States and Europe are frustrated with the inability to access the information required to make sound decisions. The majority of executive participants acknowledge that more than half of the critical business decisions made within their organizations are based on "gut feel" and experience, rather than sound and verifiable information.

"The research results indicate that sub-par information access and greater pressure to make sound decisions have conspired to undermine the confidence that executives have in the ability of their organizations to perform at optimal levels," said Chris Caren, vice president of corporate marketing at Business Objects. "These bad decisions may involve millions of dollars and compromise a company's competitive position. Moreover, decisions made on inaccurate or incomplete information are apt to be repeated until the problem data is corrected."

The majority of survey participants -- 77 percent -- indicated that they were aware of bad business decisions made within their organization because of insufficient information. In addition, nearly all recognize that inefficient information access significantly impacts the overall productivity of their organization. The survey also shows that businesses are buried by a glut of incompatible applications and databases, and organizations are struggling to make the various systems work together.

These are among several findings presented in the research survey titled, "The Fact Gap: The Disconnect Between Data and Decisions." The study of 675 executives assesses the state of information access and decision making within organizations throughout the United States and Europe. The survey was conducted by BusinessWeek Research Services on behalf of Business Objects, and is available at

"Difficulty accessing and analyzing key business information on an as-needed basis is more than just an annoyance -- it has a material impact on productivity, decision quality, and the overall fortunes of a business," continued Caren. "Rather than simply accepting this as a reality of business, organizations must improve their own information and decisions systems. Business intelligence solutions from Business Objects provide one version of the truth, bringing much-needed accountability to information access and the decision making process."

Business Objects BI solutions provide accurate and actionable information, enabling companies to gain visibility into their business and become more proactive about managing business performance. By delivering a uniform means of accessing and analyzing information, Business Objects solutions help organizations eliminate "gut feel" decision-making and leverage their business data for competitive advantage.

Key findings from the research include:

-- Two-thirds of executives identified that more than half of their important business decisions are based on 'gut feel' and experience, rather than on sound and verifiable information

-- 77 percent of respondents are aware of bad decisions that managers have made within their organizations because they did not have access to accurate information

-- A chasm exists between low-level tactical decisions and high-value decision making, with a majority of time spent on routine, day-to-day tactical decisions, rather than on strategic decisions with the greatest impact on business success

-- There are more critical business decisions that need to be made compared to two years ago, and it is becoming more challenging to make important business decisions

-- Data retrieval is not just an annoyance, but has a material impact on overall productivity of the business

About Business Objects

Business Objects is the world's leading business intelligence (BI) software company. Business intelligence enables organizations to track, understand and manage enterprise performance. The company's solutions leverage the information that is stored in an array of corporate databases, enterprise resource planning (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Popular uses of BI include enterprise reporting, management dashboards and scorecards, customer intelligence applications, financial reporting, and both customer and partner extranets. These solutions enable companies to gain visibility into their business, acquire and retain profitable customers, reduce costs, optimize the supply chain, increase productivity, and improve financial performance.

In December 2003, Business Objects completed the acquisition of Crystal Decisions, the leader in enterprise reporting. The combined product line includes software for reporting, query and analysis, performance management, analytic applications, and data integration. In addition, Business Objects offers consulting and education services to help customers effectively deploy their business intelligence projects.

Business Objects has more than 24,000 customers in over 80 countries. The company's stock is traded under the ticker symbols Nasdaq:BOBJ and Euronext Paris (ISIN: FR0004026250 - BOB). It is included in the SBF 120 and IT CAC 50 French stock market indexes. Business Objects can be reached at 408-953-6000 and

Business Objects, the Business Objects logo, Crystal Reports, and Crystal Enterprise are trademarks or registered trademarks of Business Objects SA or its affiliated companies in the United States and other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Business Objects, San Jose
Ian Galbraith, 604-974-2370
Eastwick Communications, Redwood City
Melissa Neumann, 650-480-4036

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