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Powering EY's Trust Score: Defining business priorities for long-term value

“We’re utilizing the pioneering capacity of Signal AI to produce a Trust Score that is truly game changing for our clients, helping them to better allocate resources required to protect and build trust in accordance with their enterprise strategy. ”


External Intelligence for EY’s clients 

  • Powered by Signal AI, EY’s Trust Score provides businesses with a metric to understand how they are trusted externally, helping them make decisions for the long term.
  • Armed with the right knowledge from Signal AI, EY’s clients are better able to allocate resources required to protect and build trust in accordance with their enterprise strategy.
  • EY builds its Trust Score by harnessing the power of Signal AI’s External Intelligence Platform, which makes sense of vast volumes of data to deliver knowledge allowing EY’s clients to make confident decisions for long-term value.


Download a pdf of the case study here

The importance of trust

EY, one of the leading global professional services firms, identified the growing importance of trust for organizations. Its own research, on the financial performance of a representative sample of FTSE 100 companies during a 12-month period, highlighted a direct correlation between the trustworthiness of organizations, long-term sustainable value and even share price.

Ross Jackson, Associate Partner and EY Trust Analytics Leader, said: “Our research has shown that Trust can be a lead indicator of future corporate performance and long-term value. The way stakeholders trust a company or brand today can affect how they respond toward it in the future. Trust is critical for organizations – but it is also one of the hardest issues to track and quantitatively measure.”

Quantifying Trust with EY

With the revelation that trust was such an important driver of long term performance, EY set about quantifying corporate trust, defined as the various driving factors that make a business thrive.

EY’s goal was to give their clients the ability to benchmark themselves against peers and to provide actionable insights that would enable them to develop their corporate strategies taking into account knowledge about how they are perceived externally among key stakeholder groups.

Before using Signal AI, EY’s clients’ only option was to quantify trust by manually reading press releases and surveys, and by judging trust based on relationships, connections, instincts and past experience. Without the application of Signal AI, there was no scientific approach and no standardized method, and analyzing the overwhelming amounts of data and sources took many hundreds of man hours. With this manual approach to gathering external intelligence, it was impossible to identify unknown unknowns, such as the drivers behind how well or poorly perceived an organization is in key areas – and it was even more challenging to dynamically track this over time with the velocity and frequency of changing data.

Understanding trust to inform decision making

EY set out to quantify trust in a more reliable and scientific way. They turned to Signal AI’s External Intelligence Platform to make sense of the vast volume of data needed to properly identify trustworthiness and perception, and augment decision making for its clients.

The EY Trust Score ingests digital data from both internal and external sources to enable organizations to understand how well trusted they are in areas of importance. Utilizing the Signal AI External Intelligence Platform for decision augmentation, which is powered by its underlying AI and human-based intelligence platform AIQ, EY is able to pull data from over a million unique sources of media data including national, local and trade press, scraped web content and blogs. EY trained the AIQ platform’s machine learning models on 15 pillars of trust to access the right information, such as “corporate compliance” and “sustainability”.

AIQ, the brain behind the Signal AI platform, ingests content from 5 million articles a day and, searches through topics – instead of searching keywords in a lengthy search string – to identify every relevant mention of an issue. This produces results you actually care about around all relevant adaptations of keywords – for example, searching the topic ‘Diversity in the workplace’ without searching for all the terms associated with that issue.

From the vast amounts of diverse content AIQ reads and understands on behalf of EY’s clients, the External Intelligence Graph begins to identify connections between the companies, people, products, topics and the trust pillars that it has been trained to understand. This network of relationships between trust pillars and organizations is stored on the platform’s External Intelligence graph which, in turn, is used to help EY’s clients understand what areas are more important to different stakeholders – consequently augmenting their decision making around corporate strategy and resource allocation to maximize the key drivers of reputation and trust.

As Signal AI integrates seamlessly into EY’s Trust Score, EY is also able to bring other internal data, such as customer survey results, social media, NPS, to bear when determining trust scores for clients. With the Signal AI Platform having made sense of this data, EY can help organizations understand not only how trusted they are by various stakeholders, but help grade them in comparison to competitors, the industry and the wider market.

The results

By showing the areas businesses are most and least trusted, EY’s Trust Score, powered by Signal AI, gives organizations the knowledge they need to make decisions about their business priorities. With a clear understanding of how they are “trusted”, organizations can make more informed and confident decisions about where to focus efforts to improve their trust score and take advantage of the proven benefits of increased trust on long term sustainable value and share price.

EY’s Ross Jackson said: “Using Signal AI, EY is able to provide clients with a trust metric which gives them an understanding of how their company is perceived by different stakeholders and in different areas – such as diversity, sustainability and corporate responsibility, – which will help them make decisions for the long term, as we’ve seen that trust ultimately impacts share price and long term value.”

As Signal AI’s AIQ continues to learn and train itself on emerging topics and add new sources of data, EY can apply these learnings to expand its Trust Score. In the future, EY’s clients will be able to incorporate data from segments such as investors, regulators and consumers into its understanding of trust, thanks to Signal AI’s decision augmentation solution.

Identifying trust drivers to shape decisions for long-term value

A decision augmentation solution is trained to understand the unique decision context of its users. For EY, it means the ability to train Signal AI’s AIQ around the pillars of trust and organizations they work with, and to identify the connections between them. AIQ, by ingesting millions of data points, can feed these identified connections into EY’s trust score, so EY can better inform clients about their reputation and trustworthiness in key areas.

Armed with the right knowledge from Signal AI’s decision augmentation solution, EY’s clients are able to understand the areas that matter to different stakeholder groups and how well they are trusted. Consequently, they can augment their own decision making around these key drivers of trust to protect and improve their reputation and ensure greater long-term value.

EY’s Ross Jackson said: “We’re utilizing the pioneering capacity of Signal AI to produce a Trust Score that is truly game changing for our clients, helping them to better allocate resources required to protect and build trust in accordance with their enterprise strategy.”

Signal AI’s Decision Augmentation Solution

Signal AI, the External Intelligence company, helps businesses make sense of the outside world. Using the Signal AI External Intelligence platform for Decision Augmentation, organizations can spot critical signals in the external noise, allowing them to get ahead of risk and opportunity, and make confident decisions.

Powered by Signal AI’s External Intelligence Graph, the platform crunches huge amounts of information from the world’s content, and provides timely insight on trends, patterns and unknown unknowns to augment critical business decisions. Signal AI serves over 40% of the Fortune 500 including Deloitte, Bank of America and Google, and is building an innovative and inclusive and enduring company to transform the way businesses make decisions.

Download the full case study here

Ross Jackson

Associate Partner and EY Trust Analytics Leader

Ross joined EY in October 2017 from PwC where he led the incubation and commercialisation of a portfolio of assurance products and services. Notable examples of the latter included, PwC Media Assurance, PwC Food Trust and PwC Trust Analytics.

He was recruited to EY as an SME in an innovation role with the primary objective of establishing a Trust Analytics capability within EY UK&I. Ross’ notable innovation achievements include:

  • Leading the Consumer Trust working group for the Embankment Project for Inclusive Capitalism which established EY's Trust Analytics methodology as a lead indicator for share price and other metrics of financial performance.
  • Lead engagement for a global pharmaceuticals company with predictive insights into the performance of both the company’s share price and product sales using trust as a lead indicator.
  • Leading the 50-member EY Advanced Financial Analytics Lab to the successful development of the EY Advanced Financial Analytics PoC and MVP – both completed on time and under budget.

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