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Guardians of trust: Who is responsible for data analytics?

Who is responsible for data analytics?

Data is a top priority, so how do businesses govern its use? In this survey we looked to help organizations stay in the business of trust.

Brad Fisher

Global Head of KPMG Lighthouse Data, AI & emerging technologies homepage

KPMG International


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Data has never been more relevant around the world than it is right now. While businesses are looking to make use of the benefits of data-driven technologies to gain a competitive edge, however, a major focus for the general population is on the potential drawbacks of those uses. It is not necessarily data itself that is controversial. It is trust.

The value of trust in a business cannot be overstated, from a company’s brand to its products, services and people. Now, though, that trust has to extend to data and analytics as well.

How should businesses govern trusted data analytics?

In this survey, KPMG sought to discover the nuances of this complex relationship between data and trust, and how organizations can work to bolster the governance of one of our newest and most valuable resources.

KPMG International, "Guardians of trust", 2017 infographic

KPMG International, "Guardians of trust", 2017 (p12)

We found a startling trust gap, even within organizations. This is based on a fundamental observation: humans prioritize their emotional response over their logical response, and more information does not necessarily help them build trust. In fact, some people only build trust with repeated use over many years, which leads to a double-edged sword. Organizations must embrace fast-moving new technologies, but also must ensure high, stable levels of trust while doing so.

Who is responsible when something goes wrong?

When asked, fifty-five percent said the technology function, including the chief data officer (CDO) and data scientists, would carry the brunt of responsibility if an algorithm acted unexpectedly or led to a negative outcome. But this is far from a consensus. Unfortunately, when asked about a hypothetical situation regarding autonomous vehicles, there was no clear way to place blame.

KPMG International, "Guardians of Trust", 2017 infographic

KPMG International, "Guardians of Trust", 2017

If we find an answer to this question, however, we can actually help answer the next question as well.

How do we build that trust to begin with?

KPMG’s perspective: we need a holistic and foundational approach to trust, and it requires a clear vision on who the 'guardians' of that trust should be.

Read the full story for the full results, and recommendations from our business data and trust survey (PDF 2.41 MB).

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