Executives lack confidence generating insights from D&A | KPMG | CY
Share with your friends

Business executives lack confidence in generating trusted insights from data and analytics: KPMG survey

Executives lack confidence generating insights from D&A


Related content

  • KPMG survey examines how businesses use data and analytics to manage risk, cost and growth – and where confidence is lacking.
  • Gaps in capabilities around quality, effectiveness, integrity and resilience drive a cycle of mistrust.
  • Nearly half of respondents report that their C-level executives do not fully support their organization’s data and analytics strategy.
  • Seventy percent of leaders believe using data and analytics can expose their organizations to reputational risk.

Most business leaders today believe in the value of using data and analytics (D&A) throughout their organizations, but say they lack confidence in their ability to measure the effectiveness and impact of D&A and mistrust the analytics used to help drive decision making, according to a new survey from KPMG International.

For the report, Building Trust in Analytics, KPMG commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey 2,165 respondents from 10 countries 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, the survey shows, use D&A tools to analyze existing customers (50 percent), find new customers (48 percent) and to develop new products and services (47 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 Christian Rast, Global Head of D&A, and a partner with KPMG in Germany. “Organizations 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.

Mr. Rast continued: “Failing to master analytics will not only make it increasingly hard for organizations to compete, but will expose their brands to new and growing risks. Seventy percent of executives believe that by using D&A they expose their organizations to reputational risk.”

Low levels of trust may filter from the top down – confidence lacking in key areas

Only just under half of respondents are very confident about the insights they’re deriving from D&A in the areas of risk and security (43 percent), for customer insight (38 percent) and only one-third are very confident about their insights around business operations (34 percent).

“There is no doubt that subjective, gut-feel decision-making is being augmented by data-driven insights to allow organizations to better serve customers, drive efficiencies and manage risk,” said Bill Nowacki, Managing Director, Decision Science, KPMG in the US. “The survey, however, indicates executives’ level of confidence in their insights is not where it should be, given these organizations’ plans for increasing investment in and returns on D&A.”

These low levels of trust may originate at the top and filter down through the organization, the survey data suggests. Nearly half of respondents report that their C-level executives do not fully support their organization’s D&A strategy. This low level of confidence points to a lack of trust in the insights generated by D&A, which may be due to D&A’s inherent complexity.

“Transparency about the use and impact of an organization’s D&A is key to overcoming the long-held bias that conventional decision-making is more reliable,” said Brad Fisher, US D&A leader, and a partner with KPMG in the US. “We need to take D&A out of the ‘black box’ to encourage greater understanding about its use and purpose to help organizations trust the new insights it can bring.”

The four anchors: managing trust across the analytics lifecycle

A closer look at the analytics lifecycle reveals gaps in trust. Trust is highest at the beginning of the lifecycle – data sourcing – and drops significantly thereafter. According to the findings, 38 percent of respondents have the most trust in data sourcing, which is determining which data is relevant for analysis. Twenty-one percent have the most trust in the second stage, analysis and/or modeling, and 19 percent have the most trust in the third phase, data preparation and blending. Trust slides dramatically at the fourth and fifth stages of the lifecycle. Only 11 percent have the most trust in using/deploying analytics and 10 percent said the same about measuring the effectiveness of their analytics efforts.

“This drop in trust indicates broader challenges associated with teasing out insights generated from analytics,” said Mr. Fisher. “Merely being a data-driven enterprise doesn’t cut it. To drive trusted insights that deliver value, organizations need to do the work upfront – mapping out the desired outcomes and devising the necessary plans, processes and metrics to ensure effective execution.”

To assess where the trust gaps may be within an organization’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.

1. Quality – ensuring inputs and development processes for D&A meet quality standards appropriate for the context in which the analytics will be used

Anchor 1 key finding: While data sourcing was cited as the stage of the analytics lifecycle that survey respondents say they trust most, only 10 percent said their organizations excelled across all areas in developing and managing D&A.

2. Effectiveness – outputs of models work as intended and deliver value

Anchor 2 key finding: Less than a fifth (16 percent) of respondents excel in ensuring the accuracy of models they produce.

3. Integrity – acceptable use of D&A, including compliance with regulations and laws such as data privacy and ethical issues around D&A use

Anchor 3 key finding: With the exception of D&A regulatory compliance, where respondents say they perform strongest, they fall well below in achieving excellence in the areas of ethics and privacy with respect to managing trusted analytics. Only 13 percent perform well in all areas of privacy and ethical use of D&A.

4. Resilience – optimization of D&A applications, processes and methodologies for the long term. This includes frameworks for governance, authorizations and security.

Anchor 4 key finding: Only 18 percent say they have appropriate frameworks in place across all areas of D&A governance. 


“KPMG offers recommendations that can assist organizations with closing the trust gaps across the analytics lifecycle,” said Mr. Rast. “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,” Mr. Rast continued. “To be a competitive, D&A-driven organization, business leaders must navigate the complex processes, systems, compliance requirements, and governance to confidently and consistently move from insights to measurable action.”


Learn more about KPMG’s 4 Anchors of Trust and recommendations for managing trusted analytics.

For more information, contact:

Jennifer Samuel

KPMG International

+416 451 8185


About the survey

KPMG’s Data and Analytics Global team commissioned Forrester Consulting to examine the power of trust in D&A by exploring organizations’ capabilities across four anchors of D&A: 1) quality; 2) effectiveness; 3) integrity and 4) resilience.

Forrester surveyed 2,165 D&A decision-makers (director level and above business and IT decision-makers with involvement in setting strategy for, or management of, business intelligence, D&A, data warehousing, data management/big data management initiatives) in China, Germany, India, UK, US, Canada, South Africa, France, Brazil and Australia. Industries polled cover banking/financial services, insurance, telecom, healthcare/life sciences and retail.

About KPMG International

KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 155 countries and have more than 174,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

<p>© 2018 KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Member firms of the KPMG network of independent firms are affiliated with KPMG International. KPMG International provides no client services. No member firm has any authority to obligate or bind KPMG International or any other member firm vis-à-vis third parties, nor does KPMG International have any such authority to obligate or bind any member firm. All rights reserved.</p>

The views and opinions expressed herein are the personal opinions of the interviewees and authors based on their personal experience working as Auditors in the industry and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of KPMG International or any KPMG member firm.

Connect with us


Request for proposal