Big Data Needs The C-Suite’s Trust

Big Data Needs The C-Suite's Trust

In a recent survey of 2,165 data professionals commissioned by KPMG and conducted by Forrester Consulting, 49% of respondents expressed a belief that their C-level executives don’t fully support their organizations’ data and analytics strategies. This is despite the survey also finding widespread acknowledgement that data and analytics are essential. Indeed, 70% of respondents said that data and analytics (D&A) are integral for understanding how products are used, 69% that they are vital for understanding existing customers, and 67% that they are key for understanding what new products and services to develop.

The reason for this discrepancy appears to be a lack of faith. Only about 34% of business leaders said are ‘very confident’ about the insights they get from data, just 13% that their firm excels in the privacy and ethical use of data and analytics, and around 70% that using data and analytics leaves their organization vulnerable to reputational risk.

The survey follows an emerging pattern, with other recent surveys showing similar skepticism from decision makers about their data initiatives. In another KPMG survey of 400 US CEOs earlier this year, 77% said they have some level of distrust toward the quality of the data on which they base their decisions, while a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey saw just 2% of respondents say they had achieved ‘broad positive results’ from their data projects.

However, all of this does not mean that data and analytics efforts are not working, and it doesn’t mean that data analytics themselves are not worthy of trust. Surveys show only perception, and the ROI of analytics projects is often intangible. What is clear, however, is that many are yet to be convinced, and building trust in analytics among non-data senior executives still has some way to go.

In order to develop this trust, it is not enough to simply produce volumes of case studies showing analytics succeeding. Decision makers need to understand where their data comes from and why it generates the insights it does. There needs to be a culture of transparency and collaboration. Nate Crisel, head of the Real World Informatics and Analytics unit at Astellas Pharma US Inc. argues: ‘Having bridges in place is what separates leaders from laggards.

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