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Global Data and Analytics Survey 2016 | Canadian insights

Big Decisions™ in Canada

Taking the lead with advanced analytics.


anticipate creative or radical change in their industries in the years to come.


see their organizations as highly data driven, with two thirds rarely or somewhat data driven.


of Canadians’ next key decision will be motivated by maintaining or gaining market leadership, or a need to survive.


of Canadians rely more on human judgment than data and analytics when it comes to making big decisions.
Canadians will be disrupted, if they are not the disruptors. Image of a ball going up a mountain.

If Canadians aren’t the disruptors, we risk being disrupted.

In today’s fast-paced business environment, the time to make decisions has shortened and the amount of data available has grown. The ability to quickly make use of data will determine the market leaders.

In our second Big Decisions™ survey, more than 2,100 C-suite leaders, business unit heads and senior vice-presidents (207 in Canada) assessed how much data and analytics influence their decision-making processes.

The Canadian survey results show we need faster and more sophisticated data capability by 2020 and that we aren’t using analytics as often as our global peers.

The following insights show how data will play an increasingly important role in setting the agenda for big decisions in the years ahead.

What do organizations expect to face?

We’re faced with the reality of disruption. Over the next four years, 65% of Canadian executives anticipate creative or radical change in their industries. But when looking within their companies, they say their next big decision will be motivated by a need to maintain market leadership (40%) or survive (29%). Less than a quarter look to drive disruptive change.

With 48% claiming they’re being held back by budgets and leadership concerns, Canadian companies might be limiting themselves. They need to be able to respond to evolving marketplaces and customer expectations, or they may be at the mercy of more innovative and emerging competitors.

Between 2015 and 2020, change in my industry will be:

Statitics showing what industry changes will be.

Our next key strategic decision will be motivated by:

Statistics shoiwing key strategic decisions.

Top three limitations on decision making:

Statistics showing the top three limitations on decision making.

Speed and sophistication: A need to close the capability gap

Statistics showing the difference between speed and sophistication.


Data-driven decisions: Establish an innovation culture with analytics

Our use of analytics is mostly:

Statistics showing use of analytics.

Our decision making is best described as:

Statistics showing decision making best described as.

To stay market leaders, companies must establish a data-driven innovation culture—but their use of analytics isn’t yet where it needs to be. Two thirds of Canadian leaders don’t describe their decision making as highly data driven. What’s more, those using data and analytics are focused on the past, looking back with descriptive (43%) or diagnostic (18%) methods. The most sophisticated organizations use a forward-looking prescriptive approach to data, but less than a tenth of Canadian businesses hit that standard, and this leaves them vulnerable to disruption.

This insight provides organizations the opportunity to prepare for the decisions they’ll need to make in the years ahead. The top decision Canadian executives indicate their organizations will need to make next involves developing a new product or service (30%), followed by developing partnerships (15%) and changing business operations (14%).

A mix of mind and machine: Complement intuition with machine learning

Strategic decisions are still often based on instinct. To gain a competitive advantage, sophisticated machine learning should complement experience and intuition, and support the volume and frequency of decisions.

Today’s business environment isn’t about just automating business processes—it’s about automating thought processes. This is the next frontier. As it stands, 65% of Canadian leaders indicate they mainly base their big decisions on human judgment over machine algorithms. This trend is reflected globally, with more of a lean toward machine learning globally than in Canada.

Our next big decision will likely be based on:

Statistics showing what big decisions will be based on.

What you can do

Complacency isn’t an option. To improve decision-making capabilities at your company, invest in talent that understands and can help you unlock data possibilities.

While most decision makers say they rely more on human judgment than data analysis, understanding the opportunity analytics present businesses is important, particularly as machine learning and artificial intelligence evolve. 

Advanced data and analytics can help you reduce the impact of human bias, yield more accurate answers and keep up with the frequency of decisions.

PwC can help you turn your vision into reality.

Adding more value to your business with data and analytics

Graphic showing how to add more value to your business.


Contact us

Annie Veillet

Annie Veillet

Partner, One Analytics, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 514 205 5146

Celio Casadei

Celio Casadei

Partner, One Analytics, PwC Canada

Tel: +1 416 779 7227