IBM’s 20th edition of its bi-annual C-Suite Study, ‘Build Your Trust Advantage’, polled nearly 380 C-level executives across Africa to examine how companies are achieving market leadership by emphasizing trust in their use and sharing of data.
The study, conducted by IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) in cooperation with Oxford Economics found that market leadership is most frequently attained when an organization establishes a high level of trust in the data from its customers, its own business processes, and across its partner ecosystem.
Through the quantitative and qualitative surveys issued, it became clear there was a set of leaders – dubbed "Torchbearers" – that stood out as understanding that transparency, reciprocity and accountability are critical ingredients for earning trust among key stakeholders.
This group was found to outperform peers in revenue growth and profitability – delivering 169 per cent higher results – as well as in innovation and managing change.
These leaders have a deep understanding that building trust in customer relationships is a strategic imperative and work hard to earn and maintain it. In fact, 91 per cent of leaders strongly believe data helps create a strategic advantage in strengthening their level of customer trust as well as their bottom lines.
This is critically important at a time when consumers report more concerns than ever before in their willingness to share personal information.
“Leading organisations that have put trust at the core of the way they use data with their customers are creating massive opportunities for greater success," said Ian Fletcher, Director – IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV).
“Today’s businesses need to be able to earn trust from their customers while also trusting the data from their own processes and ecosystems, or they will quickly fall behind their peers.”
While the study focuses on the need for transparency on how companies handle customer data, it also highlights the importance of trusting data that’s within an organization.
Leaders were found to take great pains to ensure that the data within its own walls is accurate and clean so they can leverage it to make the best-informed decisions on important business ventures, such as developing new business models and entering new or emerging markets.
- 82 per cent of leaders say they have deep trust in data to perfect the quality and speed of the decisions they make.
- 79 per cent already extensively use data to develop new business models (114 per cent more their peers), while 85 per cent already use data to make informed decisions on entering new markets.
- 73 per cent of C-suite executives believe that automation of decision-making processes will increase in their business landscape over the next 2-3 years.
The study also revealed an emphasis on the importance of creating trustworthy ecosystems. Data that simply stays within the organisation is more likely to drift out of date than to grow in value.
Leading organizations are liberating their data while simultaneously de-risking data exchanges in a shared ecosystem – allowing it to circulate widely, without sacrificing their responsibility to secure permissions and safeguard it.
Leaders are ahead of their peers in acquiring and sharing data extensively with network partners as well as integrating new modes of monetization into their data strategies.
While the study provides the guidance that companies should always practice transparency, reciprocity and accountability when handling data and engaging customers and business partners, other recommendations include:
- Strengthen relationships with customers by becoming trusted custodians of personal data, demonstrating transparency by revealing data about offerings and workflows, and using the trust advantage they’ve earned to create differentiating business models.
- Build confidence in data and AI models enterprise-wide. Stimulate a culture of true data believers and data-based decision-makers, and in turn, elevate experiences for customers and partners along their value chains.
- Learn how to share data on business platforms without giving away a competitive edge. Turn the corner from amassing data to determining how best to monetize it, including how to build ecosystems to create new exponential value.