Culture of Data Believers

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Big data brings big disruption/ A culture of data believers ?

In 20th edition of Global C-suite study “Build Your Trust Advantage. Leadership in the era of data and AI everywhere” IBM is focusing on what it takes for the market leaders to succeed today and in the future, in a fast moving and rich data and technology driven business environment.

Data has become inextricably entwined with trust. Specifically, the ongoing and widespread erosion of customer trust, including B2B buyers, has changed what organizations can—and should—do with data. It changes the value equation. Where data alone was once an organization’s unparalleled asset, it must now factor in trust. Data matters. But trust determines its value.

The top performing companies (Torchbearers), that integrated their data and business strategy and have a C-suite that recognizes data as a strategic asset, has also an enterprise-wide data culture.  They’ve inculcated a culture of data believers. Eight in ten Torchbearers say the executives in their C-suite rely heavily on data to improve the quality and speed of the decisions they make (Figure 1). At the same time, they’re fully focused on empowering all of their employees, not just their data scientists, to uncover insights from data.

Source: Polish edition of Global C-suite Study


“Data is completely disrupting the way we work. The sources of data, the nature of the data, the skills required to analyze it – everything’s changing,” says Anna Sakowicz, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Publicis Groupe Poland Board Member. Anna and Publicis Groupe was recognized as one of Torchbearers in IBM Global C-suite study.

Data, coupled with advanced analytics and AI, including machine learning, can inform superior enterprise decisions and optimize and automate processes – but only if organizations can deeply trust their data. To do so, organizations are learning to master the quality of data, mitigate algorithmic bias, and serve up answers with evidence.

“We used to get data on media consumption from long-term partners like Nielsen,” Anna Sakowicz observes. “Now Facebook and Google dominate the online advertising space, and they’re not always willing to share their data. A lot of small firms, such as apps providers, also collect interesting material. We need to tap into these new sources, understand what the data consists of and how reliable it is, and then figure out how to access it. The process of acquiring data from third parties has become much more complicated.”

Torchbearers stand apart as well in their focus on exponential technologies, especially machine learning and AI. AI-supported organizations turn decisions into iterative innovation and intelligent workflows. They’re at the forefront of delivering customer experiences that are not just personalized but humanized, building trust through never-before-possible services.

New technologies are also adopted by Publicis Groupe to serve their clients better – they are exploring the potential of call-center conversations, for example, using speech-to-text software and machine learning. However, Anna Sakowicz emphases that very often data coming from multiple different sources is often difficult to mine. “People are sometimes sarcastic,” Anna Sakowicz notes. “They say the opposite of what they actually intend. And while human beings can tell what someone means from their tone of voice, AI can only analyze the written word.”

A culture of data believers isn’t just about engaging an organization’s leaders, although Anna Sakowicz is a rare example of the leader with position of Chief Data & Analytics Officer, being part of Publicis Groupe’s Management Board. Torchbearers make it a ground-up proposition. In fact, 86 percent of Torchbearers in Poland are empowering their workforces to fully participate in a data-rich environment, compared to just 37 percent of companies, who are Aspirational and just at the beginning of their journey to data leadership (see Figure 2).

Source: Polish edition of Global C-suite Study


The range of abilities required to utilize the data is simultaneously expanding. “I don’t look for ‘unicorns’ – people who are great at math, business and strategy – because there are few, if any, such individuals. I build teams of people with difference competencies and characters,” Anna Sakowicz explains. This entails managing a larger, more diverse group of employees. “You also have to work harder to bridge the gaps, those moments when you’re talking about something that’s obvious to you and you realize that the other person hasn’t a clue what you’re saying.” So big data brings big challenges, but there’s a big upside, too: “The more we do analytically, the smarter we get,” she concludes.

Hear more findings from Global C-suite study and stories from the best companies during IBM CXO meeting on February 4th, Warsaw. Register on the website: 

Anna Sakowicz – Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Publicis Groupe Poland Board Member


Global C-suite study Champion

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