Numbers Coming Back to Haunt

Why is there so much indifference and/or push-back to using numbers for driving decisions?

Why are experience and intuitions preferred over analytics?

Why are the subject matter experts trusted over hard data?

Why are the proponents of data and analytics not only ignored but have their motives questioned?

The answer to all these questions is: Self interest.

Here is a quote from the book  Super Crunchers that nails it:

Traditional experts don’t like the loss of control and status that accompanies a shift toward Super Crunching (Evidence based management). But some of the resistance is more visceral. Some people fear numbers. For these people, Super Crunching is their worst nightmare. To them, the spread of data-driven decision making is just the kind of think they thought they could avoid by majoring in the humanities and then studying something nice and verbal, like law.

The greater its [data driven decision making] impact the greater is the resistance.

2 thoughts on “Numbers Coming Back to Haunt

  1. Sid
    You make a good point on bad analytics and call into question data integrity. Valid concerns. We need to first ask “what decision are we trying to make? and what data is needed to answer the question?”. Before seeking data we need to have the answer for, “what we will do differently with data”.

    I do not agree with your claim,” it is very easy to make numbers look the way you want them to”. It is very often quoted. It is another form of Lies, Damn Lies and Stats!.
    Not true.
    Stats and analysis have the safe-guards built in, there are tests for validity, significance and relevance.
    If data and analysis is flawed it is because of the human error and not methodology or stats error.



  2. I think a significant part of the problem is that analytics as a profession has gotten a terrible reputation.. based on people doing bad analytics.. it is very easy to make numbers to look the way you want them to. it takes skill and understanding to separate the wheat from the chaff..
    in the end i think that the only thing worse than gut judgement is bad analytics.


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