Top African business executives say they use data to outperform peers in revenue growth and profitability

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  • 91% of leaders in Africa strongly believe data helps strengthen customer trust, according to a new IBM study.
  • The study was conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) in cooperation with Oxford Economics.
  • Business executives say market leadership is gained or lost by the level of trust an organisation can create.

Top business leaders across Africa strongly believed that data helps strengthen customer trust, according to a recent study by IBM.

The C-Suite Study, titled; "Build Your Trust Advantage," in its 20th edition polled nearly 380 C-level African executives, examining how companies are achieving market leadership by emphasising 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 organisation establishes a high level of trust in the data from its customers, its 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. Torchbearers

This group was found to outperform peers in revenue growth and profitability – delivering 169% 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.

According to the report, 91% of leaders strongly believe data helps create a strategic advantage in strengthening their level of customer trust as well as their bottom lines.

"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% of leaders say they have deep trust in data to perfect the quality and speed of the decisions they make.  
  • 79% already extensively use data to develop new business models (114 percent more than their peers), while 85 percent already use data to make informed decisions on entering new markets.
  • 73% of C-suite executives believe that automation of decision-making processes will increase in their business landscape over the next 2-3 years.

While the study provides guidance that companies should always practice transparency, reciprocity, and accountability when handling data and engaging customers and business partners, among other recommendations.

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