Data is a critical fuel in creating better customer experiences, more efficient operations, and opening new revenue streams. The organizations who are best at analyzing data will be the most competitive and impactful. As such, organizations are turning to so-called \u201csmart\u201d analytics technologies\u2014like artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language interactions, and complex algorithms\u2014to find an edge and further augment analytical abilities, drive organizational change, and catalyze digital transformation in their businesses.\nYet few of these promising technologies have achieved widespread success. Shrouded in mystery and hype, they rarely reach beyond specialized data workers to the rest of us. Due to their underlying complexities, there\u2019s still a primary focus on the technology itself, rather than how regular people will interact with it and benefit.\nIn addition to making analytics easier to use, we need to focus on the importance of trust. People won\u2019t use smart analytics if they don\u2019t understand and believe in them. Only through trust can we get to the type of mass availability and transformative change that smart analytics can enable. This starts with fundamental trust in the value of data and its surrounding technologies. Then, we can help employees understand how to best use these smart technologies to improve their productivity and insights.\nBuild agreement on the value of data and insights\nGetting people to buy in to a data-driven approach is critical to embracing smart technologies in your organization. People must believe that data is fundamental to the company's value and success, and that organizations who are better equipped to make sense out of their data will do better than those who are not. Where there is resistance to using data to make decisions, there will be barriers to new technologies that aid analysis.\nHow do you create a culture of analytics? Start by focusing on making data widely available across the organization. Make analytics capabilities available at every level in the organization and reinforce the importance of making every decision data-driven. Reinforce the behavior by bringing data and analytics directly into decision-making meetings and answer questions in real time. Measure how data is used. Understand its impact. And build a community that evangelizes it, including with executive support to reinforce its importance.\nDemystify smart analytics \nOften times people will avoid what they don\u2019t understand, and they hate to look foolish by not understanding something. We need to help people realize that most\u00a0of us don\u2019t really have a grasp on smart analytics. It is a relatively new field and we\u2019re all still learning. Education and transparency are key to wider trust.\nAs algorithms and models become more sophisticated, it\u2019s critical they don\u2019t become incomprehensible. The concept of \u201cexplainable AI\u201d is a powerful one\u2014I should be able to understand the operations and logic that were applied to come up with an answer. This helps build my conviction that the answer is right. AI techniques need to expose their inner workings, while at the same time helping us acknowledge and avoid the biases that humans tend to introduce to analytics. This combination will help leverage the best of both worlds\u2014human and machine.\nHelp people see smart analytics can help them, not replace them\nPeople will not trust something if they believe it endangers their livelihood. In fact, with smart analytics technologies, the opposite is true! People should view smart analytics as a way to help them perform better, instead of a threat to replace them. We collectively need to quell misconceptions like \u201cAI is going to replace my job\u201d and help people understand how machines learn from data\u2014not experiences. Smart analytics can help employees make better decisions to increase efficiency, automate, personalize the customer experience, differentiate versus competitors, and more. How will leaders not love that?\nPromote data literacy\nTools and technology are certainly important parts of the greater movement, but employees must also learn to think critically about data. They need to understand when it\u2019s useful and when it\u2019s not. Acting on the wrong data\u2014or wrong recommendations from a \u201csmart\u201d machine\u2014will lead to bad decisions and wasted resources. This is where data literacy, critical thinking, and people development come in.\nAn impactful data education requires both practical and creative skills. Introducing smart analytics into business processes will require trust in these technologies alongside good judgment from the workforce. Even more experienced data scientists may have hesitations\u2014why, if they have tried and true experience, should they trust a machine? Less experienced users will need to learn how to interact with and validate smart technology recommendations, or to interject human knowledge to correct course.\nCan you make the change?\nChange is uncomfortable, especially with adopting advanced technologies. But it\u2019s no longer a question whether the organizations that best master their data will be the most successful. The bridge from discomfort to success will come in helping your people build trust in these new capabilities.\nIt will be exciting to see in the coming years how trust and confidence are addressed as smart analytics\u00a0improve and evolve. How will people react as machines learn to extract users' domain knowledge? Do your employees understand the role they play, together with the technology, in maximizing the potential of your organization\u2019s data?