UK business executives lack confidence to interpret data and analytics

Survey finds execs aren’t confident in ability to derive insights from business information

Most UK business leaders believe in the value of using data and analytics, but say they lack confidence in their ability to measure its effectiveness and impact, and mistrust the analytics used to help drive decision making, according to a new survey.

The report, titled Building Trust in Analytics, by KPMG, found that business executives are not very confident in the insights they are deriving from data and analytics, particularly in the areas of: risk and security where only 45% are very confident in their insights, 40% for customer insight and only 37% were very confident about their insights around business operations.

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Around 70% of UK executives believe that by using data and analytics they expose their organisations to reputational risk, according to the survey of 2,165 respondents from 10 countries, including 250 respondents from the UK. The research was carried out by Forrester Research for KPMG.

The low levels of trust may originate at the top and filter down through the organisation, the survey data suggests. Nearly half of respondents report that their C-level executives do not fully support their organisation's data and analytics 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, plus a human instinct for emotional decision making.

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"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 Paul Tombleson, UK Head of Data & Analytics at KPMG.

"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. Seventy percent of UK executives believe that by using data and analytics they expose their organisations to reputational risk."

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