People 'n' Issues

Big data has confidence gap

February 15th, 2017
According to a new survey, most business leaders today believe in the value of using data and analytics throughout their organisations, but say they lack confidence in their ability to measure the effectiveness and impact of it.
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For the report, Building Trust in Analytics, KPMG commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey 2,165 respondents from 10 countries(including South Africa) to identify in which areas businesses are using D&A, and to what extent they lack trust in their D&A models and processes to drive decision-making and desired outcomes. The report shares insights and recommendations on suggested processes, practices and governance for building trust in D&A using KPMG’s four anchors of trust, a framework for assessing quality, effectiveness, integrity and resilience.

Most businesses in South Africa, the survey shows, use D&A tools to analyse existing customers (51 percent), find new customers (42 percent) and to develop new products and services (49 percent). Yet, executives do not trust that they are managing their D&A processes effectively to generate desired outcomes and lack the necessary measures to assess the efficacy of those models.

“As analytics increasingly drive the decisions that affect us as individuals, as businesses and as societies, there must be a heightened focus on ensuring the highest level of trust in the data, the analytics and the controls that generate desired outcomes,” said Karin Kruger, Associate Director, Data and Analytics, KPMG in South Africa. “Organisations that continue to invest in D&A without determining its effectiveness could likely make decisions based on inaccurate models, which would perpetuate a cycle of mistrust in the insights.”

Kruger continued: “Failing to master analytics will not only make it increasingly hard for organisations to compete, but will expose their brands to new and growing risks”.

Levels of confidence in D&A

There’s some level of confidence displayed by respondents in South Africa about the insights they’re deriving from D&A in the areas of risk and security (69 percent), for customer insight (68 percent) and 65 percent around business operations.

“Transparency about the use and impact of an organisation’s data and analytics is key to overcoming the long-held bias that conventional decision-making is more reliable,” said Frank Rizzo, Data and Analytics leader at KPMG in South Africa. “We need to take D&A out of the ‘black box’ to encourage greater understanding about its use and purpose to help organisations trust the new insights it can bring.”

When it comes to assessing where the trust gaps may be within an organisation’s analytics model, respondents rated how well their processes aligned and performed against the capabilities outlined under four anchors of D&A: quality, effectiveness, integrity and resilience.

Recommendations

“KPMG offers recommendations that can assist organisations with closing the trust gaps across the analytics lifecycle,” said Rizzo. “These comprise seven key areas: 1) assessing the trust gaps; 2) creating purpose by clarifying goals; 3) raising awareness to increase internal engagement; 4) developing an internal D&A culture; 5) opening up the ‘black box’ to encourage greater transparency; 6) having a 360-degree view by building ecosystems; and 7) stimulating innovation and analytics R&D to incubate new ideas and maintain a competitive stance.

“It’s imperative that D&A leaders make trust a high priority,” Rizzo continued. “To be a competitive, D&A-driven organisation, business leaders must navigate the complex processes, systems, compliance requirements, and governance to confidently and consistently move from insights to measurable action.”

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