Are you moving at the speed of trust?

By Marco Vernocchi

EY Global Chief Data Officer

Data visionary. Passionate leader. Avid skier and lover of Italian wine.

7 minute read 12 Jun 2020

Trust is the new disruptor – one that businesses must master to realize the full power of data and new intelligent technologies.  

Markets face complex and accelerating change. This is fueled by “intelligent technologies” — such as robotic process automation and artificial intelligence (AI), including speech recognition, natural language processing, and computer vision — based on machine-learning algorithms and enabled by limitless cloud-based computing capacity.

The proliferation of inexpensive sensor technology has generated massive amounts of data, which AI consumes to learn from experience, make decisions, and deliver enhanced insights. But can this intelligence be trusted?

Those able to exploit how new intelligent technologies use data are gaining competitive advantage. But they also face a new set of risks. For some, the mode and speed at which intelligent technologies digest and act on data is creating unexpected outcomes — fracturing trust with customers, markets and across ecosystems. For example, would you use online banking if you didn’t trust the bank? Would you get into a self-driving car you didn’t trust?

A key question for executives has emerged: can you trust the intelligence driving your enterprise?

To thrive in a future that is still evolving, businesses must transform into intelligent enterprises: creating intelligence from data you can trust, intelligent technology you can trust, and business outcomes you can trust. 

Trust is the new disruptor

Until now, technology has led the charge, creating new ways of working, reshaping markets and creating connected ecosystems. Intelligent technologies are based on advanced machine-learning algorithms and enabled by limitless cloud-based computing capacity. They will continue to transform how we do business, and actively disrupt markets and ecosystems. 

Why? Because invisible algorithms are starting to rule our lives. AI consumes massive amounts of data to actively make decisions for us — decisions we often don’t see or control. Intelligent technologies keep learning on their own and adapting. And as they advance, they also enable each other: an exponential, self-reinforcing web of constant innovation that powers intelligent enterprises. However, they can be undermined by the realities of less control and choice, privacy breaches, and unethical behaviors and actions.

There are growing trust gaps that are limiting growth, slowing innovation and undermining value creation. These are the gaps between what data and technology can do and what people are willing to let it do. Until these trust gaps are closed, the full potential of AI and other intelligent technologies cannot be realized.

As trust gaps increase, only trusted organizations will have “permission to operate” from customers, markets and within connected intelligent ecosystems. What’s needed is a way to be recognized as a trusted enterprise. To gain this recognition, overcome new barriers, create new business models and gain competitive advantage, businesses need intelligence that they can trust — Trusted Intelligence.

What is Trusted Intelligence?

Trusted Intelligence builds on the concept of the intelligent value chain and reframes how data is obtained, managed, used and scaled within a business. 

Trusted intelligence graphic 1

It’s a value-first approach that begins not with data, but with the outcome you want to achieve.  From there, we look at:

  • Business rules and models defining financial viability
  • AI determining speed, experiences and behaviors
  • Targeted data creating differentiation
  • The enabling cloud-based technology supporting scale

Trust is the element that runs through each capability, ensuring reliability and credibility to the entire intelligent value chain.

Think of the speed and scale of recent disruptors. They started from a clear value proposition (“drive passengers” or “rent apartments”) and built competitive advantage through excellence; in each of their capabilities in the intelligent value chain and their ability to operate all of them in synch, seamlessly. Nonetheless, they would not have had a business unless people trusted them.

This is in sharp contrast to the traditional data-first approach — which treats data as an asset to be hoarded, extracted from the business, and siloed in expensive “data cathedrals,” and only then looks at ways to exploit value from it. 

A Trusted Intelligence approach embeds trust into data on its journey to value creation. It does this through a framework of human governance. People are needed to align data-powered intelligence with an organization’s values and to adhere to ethical, social, regulatory, legal and business standards. With Trusted Intelligence, organizations can:

  • Build world-class capabilities
  • Leverage AI to control AI
  • Define from the outset the quality and reliability of the targeted data
  • Build on secure technologies and access controls
  • Design trust consistently through frameworks and operating models

This results in a multitude of benefits. As data becomes more accessible throughout the organization, it drives better decision-making and risk management, and builds confidence with markets and partners.  Ultimately it empowers your organization to win in the marketplace and deliver long-term value.

Equipping your organization to move at the speed of trust 

With data sciences and technologies advancing at speed, the future cannot be fully predicted. But you need to understand the profound implications of data and intelligent technologies, based on advanced machine-learning algorithms and enabled by limitless cloud-based computing capacity. These implications span strategy, operations, risk, reputation, talent and financial investments.

How can you innovate while complying with complex regulations? How can you close trust gaps with customers? How can you be confident that the intelligence in your organization can be trusted?

The answer is Trusted Intelligence. Once trust is embedded throughout the enterprise, you can infuse confidence, innovate at speed and scale your business. This creates intelligent markets, in which companies reshape how we work and interact. As more enterprises earn this “badge” of Trusted Intelligence, it becomes a prerequisite for joining intelligent ecosystems, which connect us at speed across boundaries.

Trusted intelligence graphic 2

While advances in data and intelligent technologies have created tremendous potential, they’ve also created new languages and new rules. Entire processes become algorithms. To reach this radically new, intelligent future, it is essential for leadership and boards to access the skills and capabilities they need to create Trusted Intelligence.


Trusted Intelligence reframes how data is obtained, managed, used and scaled within a business. It’s a value-first approach that begins with your desired outcome and embeds trust into data and its journey to value creation.

To navigate the new languages, rules and implications of data and intelligent technologies, leadership and boards need to access new skills and capabilities. Only then can they become intelligent enterprises with trust embedded across the value chain, creating competitive advantage. 

About this article

By Marco Vernocchi

EY Global Chief Data Officer

Data visionary. Passionate leader. Avid skier and lover of Italian wine.