EY Global Forensic Data Analytics 2018 Survey: An Overview

Today, fast expanding digital footprints across the globe come with their own set of risks. Rapid advancements that we are making courtesy emerging technologies like robotics process automation (RPA), data analytics and artificial intelligence come with the associated risks of regulatory compliance and data safety/privacy concerns for companies.

Ever wondered how can you disrupt such risk in the era of digital transformation? Well, that’s precisely what the third edition of EY’s biennial survey titled, “EY Global Forensic Data Analytics 2018” went into exploring.

Forensic Data Analytics or FDA is the discovery and communication of patterns from the study of structured and unstructured data using statistical techniques and cutting-edge technology.

Some of the themes that emerged from this EY Survey are:

  • FDA advancements are happening at a rapid pace because of the progress made in AI, automation and machine learning.
  • Ensuring data privacy is now a major concern for enterprises which gets further complicated due to cross-border regulatory compliance issues.
  • Growing number of businesses are using FDA to transform business functions.
  • Aggregating complex data coming from disparate sources remains a main challenge.
  • Need of specialized skills to enable technological advancements.

These key trends in FDA point to the fact that there will be huge demand for data science professionals in the future. If you are an IT professional aiming to boost your career, now is the time to explore
The Why, What and How of Becoming a Data Scientist in India.

Coming back to the Survey, the following were the key takeaways from this report:

  • Average annual spend on FDA has shot up by 51% from what it was in 2016.
  • With new risks emerging, the overall risk profile of companies continues to expand.
  • 39 percent of survey respondents plan to invest in emerging technologies like RPA.
  • FDA is most effective in addressing issues of bribery & corruption, preventing financial statement fraud, data breaches and insider threats.

Respondents to this EY Survey also indicated a significant improvement in addressing issues of data privacy and data safety using FDA. This comes as a positive news especially in the wake of the recent
Facebook Data Scandal.

One of the top concerns in the minds of executives the world over pertains to regulations around data protection and data privacy. The upcoming enforcement of EU’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR from May 2018 is one good example to cite here.

Following questions were put to the respondents of the EY Global Forensic Data Analytics 2018 survey and this is how they responded:


Image Source: EY

Some of the benefits of implementing FDA as per respondents in this EY Survey on Forensic Data Analytics 2018 include:

Around 88 percent respondents stated that
Improved Risk Assessment is the primary benefit of FDA implementation,
Faster Responses during investigative processes,
Regulatory Compliance and
increased Business Transparency were some of the other benefits of FDA and got 81 percent, 79 percent and 74 percent responses respectively.


Image Source: EY

As many as 72 percent of respondents felt that risk-scoring and aggregation is something that they will be trying next year. Around 56 percent said that social media analytics, 39 percent RPA, 38 percent for Artificial Intelligence and 32 percent Blockchain.


Image Source: EY

On being asked how the respondents would rate their organization’s current FDA capabilities, only 13 percent rated them on technical skills, 12 percent on data analytics and 28 percent on domain knowledge.

As many as 39 percent respondents in the EY Global Forensic Data Analytics Survey 2018 said that there are no dedicated personnel involved in executing their FDA strategies. Around 9 percent said there are 6-10 and 36 percent 1-5 dedicated personnel for their FDA execution needs. Just 13 percent respondents said there were more than 10 dedicate personnel for their FDA execution efforts.

The survey revealed that
EU GDPR Compliance readiness remains a major concern. While 39 percent said they are not ready for GDPR yet, around 32 percent felt they have a plan. Around 17 percent confided that they’ve have heard of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation but have not taken any action to comply with the guidelines, whereas 11 percent revealed that they are in the process of analysing the scope of GDPR.

Companies looking to demonstrate returns to their investors and mitigate risks to cut down on losses will have to look for new ways to leverage technology to their advantage. Investments in FDA is an important step to detect and prevent internal frauds as well as comply with regulatory directives when it comes to data privacy and data protection.

EY’s Global FDA survey was conducted between Oct-Nov 2017 by Longitude Research where they conducted 745 interviews with participants from 19 countries who were using FDA. Diverse industry verticals were covered in this EY survey including (but not limited to) representation from consumer products, manufacturing, financial services, mining, transportation and retail.