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Decision Making ‘In the Dark’ a Major Worry for Large Companies


82% of large organisations admit to not having complete visibility into profits leading to impaired financial performance

Reading, The UK – May 10, 2011

News Facts

  • Research released today from Oracle, and conducted by Dynamic Markets, reveals senior business and IT managers across Europe, US, Middle East and South Africa’s large organisations struggle with a lack of visibility into profits that is impairing financial performance, morale and business success

  • The research, entitled “Performance Management: An Incomplete Picture,” also highlights the significant issues with the data-gathering processes that is central in creating a dangerous ‘four-month’ data lag

  • The research, conducted by Dynamic Markets, surveyed 1,499 managers in large organisations in 13 countries across the world 

Research Highlights 

  • Profit Myopia: 82% of businesses admit to not having complete visibility into profits by line of business. Furthermore, 46% believe this creates potentially erroneous business decisions, 40% feel this can impair financial performance and 38% believe it results in flawed business planning that will hamper business success

  • Spreadsheet Spaghetti: Managers typically spend over a third (36%) of their week number crunching in spreadsheets. In fact, 82% of those involved in scenario planning use spreadsheets to manipulate and investigate data during this task

  • Vintage Data: Handling data this way means it becomes outdated quickly: on average, data used to make decisions is more than four months old, worse still is that 28% of managers do not even know the age of the data they use

  • Outdated Planning: Scenario planning fares little better, with data being typically six months old, with almost a third (30%) again not knowing the age of critical data; it is no surprise that 95% of respondents involved in this process encounter problems

  • Poor Agility Creates Consequences: It can take nearly a year-and-a-half to identify and amend a failing business process or initiative and 83% of companies admit to suffering consequences because of this. One third (33%) see plans become obsolete, 55% incur unnecessary costs and 43% witness a negative impact on employee morale

  • Silo-Mentality: 87% of businesses managers criticize their inter-departmental data sharing and communication, with 71% describing the links between strategic goals, operational plans and budgets as “fragmented”.

Supporting Quotes

  • John O’Rourke, Vice President EPM Product Marketing at Oracle, said: “Management is clearly struggling to cope with the vast volumes of data being generated by their businesses, which is manifesting itself in a serious lack of visibility into profitability across the entire company.  Without enterprise business planning systems to give organisations an end-to-end planning process that links strategic, financial, and operational planning to profitability and cost management, they are going to continue to struggle with fragmentation and have no option but to continue ‘making decisions in the dark’.”

  • “According to the research, most businesses appear to have a fragmented approach to performance management often underpinned by spreadsheets. This piecemeal approach to planning rather than opting for a holistic view can lead to dangerous inaccuracies, human error, and serious time lags.  To combat this, leading edge companies are implementing  common enterprise performance management systems that take the time and complexity out of ensuring all relevant information is delivered in a timely fashion, supporting more agile planning and decision-making,” said O’Rourke.

  • Professor Andy Neely, Deputy Director, AIM Research said: "Organisations today face significant challenges in extracting accurate information on profit and performance.  As the volume of available data increases, so does the complexity of organisation structures. The shift to shared services, accompanied by the tendency to outsource and partner, makes it more difficult than ever before to allocate costs and apportion overheads. As this research shows, the consequence for executives is a partial picture of performance"

Supporting Resources

Notes to Editors
In April 2011, Dynamic Markets surveyed 1,499 managers in large organisations, with more than $100 million turnover pa in 13 countries around the world; Austria, Benelux, France, Germany, Italy, Middle East, Nordics, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, UK and US. 

About Oracle
Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is the world’s most complete, open, and integrated business software and hardware systems company. For more information about Oracle, visit

Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

About AIM Research
AIM is a UK leader in the field of management research, bringing academics together with business, public sector and policy thinkers in order to develop and deliver research of a world class standard which has an immediate and significant impact on management practice.

About Dynamic Markets
Dynamic Markets Limited is an independent market research consultancy conducting national and global research for blue chip clients, including Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Vodafone, Toshiba Mobile, HSBC, Egg and M&S.  It operates under a strict code of conduct, as defined by the UK Market Research Society (MRS). 


Samuel Hall       
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Rowland Harding
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