The role of analytics in management decision making within an organisation in the Western Cape, South Africa
Mansell, Ingrid Jane
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This mixed methods study examined specific influences on low usage of analytics among level 4 managers in a selected public sector organisation, based on SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI) log on statistics collected between July 2012 and June 2016. Analytics provides an organisation the ability to enable its management team to make decisions based on facts, rather than assumption. The aim of this interpretivist research, grounded in a subjectivist epistemological position, was to gain an in-depth understanding of the manager’s environment and how it influences the usage and adoption of analytics in strategic decision making. Human beings change all the time and the environment in which they find themselves constantly influences them. The main research question was: what specific factors inhibit managers’ use of analytics in organisations? A case study approach was deemed the most appropriate for this kind of study because specific environmental factors influence analytics usage. Themes identified as possible factors influencing different dimensions included: individual characteristics, business intelligence systems quality, organisational factors, macro-environment factors, behavioural beliefs and attitudes, effort perceptions, social influence, facilitating conditions and other. For the qualitative component, eight level 4 public sector managers within the selected organisation were interviewed in order to experience the work environment and their interactions with colleagues, while an electronic survey questionnaire yielded data from 211 level 4 managers. The rationale for selecting this category of managers was that they not only manage staff, but also control a budget, and would find it useful to utilise analytics to aid the decision making process. Qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods were used to analyse the data. Dominant themes that emerged from interviews with eight level 4 managers were: organisational factors and system quality characteristics. Daily log on statistics collected from the electronic survey questionnaire yielded quantitative results on usage of analytics within the organisation. Overall, it was found that managers’ use of analytics is low. Given the importance of analytics for informed decision-making, recommendations are made to increase usage.