Sixty-one percent of executives believe human insights must precede hard analytics when making business decisions, according to research conducted by advertising agency Gyro and Fortune Magazine.

Roughly the same percentage of respondents say they rely on instinct and gut feelings to make decisions rather than focusing solely on the data available.

Additionally, 65% of executives said their responses to competing proposals are based on subjective factors, such as corporate culture and corporate values, rather than on quantitative data. Only 16% disagreed that such decisions should be made based on subjective information.

This research includes responses from 720 U.S.-based senior executives, of whom 88% hold the position of director or above. Eighty percent of the companies represented in the survey have annual revenues of $500 million or more, while 41% report $10 billion or more.

Big data

Despite the ambiguity reported in the Gyro survey, big data and its role in business has become more prevalent and is likely to continue to do so throughout the coming years.

Market research firm IDC projects the big data market to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015. Gartner Research projects that by 2015, 4.4 million IT jobs globally will be created to support big data, including 1.9 million IT jobs in the United States. The same research claims every big data-related role in the US will create employment for three people outside of IT, or a total of 6 million jobs in the US.

A recent survey from Dell found that 96% percent of mid-market companies with 2,000 to 5,000 employees are embracing the rise of big data and 80% of the mid-market believes they need to better analyze their data, as they believe big data initiatives provide a significant boost to company decision making.