The question of gut vs. data is becoming more and more relevant considering the terabytes of data available in each organisation. However, there's is a happy medium according to reports from the Economist and +Harvard Business Review. The trick is how to combine the two.
According to management expert Dr. Chongqi Wu gut-based and fact-based decision making complement each other and shouldn't be seem as competing approaches. According to Dr. Wu "Data just makes executives better gamblers".
There are times, of course when one of the approaches is better than the other. For example, it's much better to rely on data in operational decisions that can be automated. On the other hand, when dealing with incomplete information, setting strategy is one example, decisions based on intuition are can be the better.
It's important to differentiate between the initial hunch, which is quite often correct, and the subsequent assumptions that have almost no intuitive value.
And, the old adage of "garbage in, garbage out" holds true in this instance, as well. We need to learn to ask the right questions of the available data.