“Experts often possess more data than judgment,” so said Colin Powell the former United States secretary of state. Whether the frontier is governmental, military, sporting or business, it is undeniably true that decision making power is gradually being taken away from conventional - and fallible - instinct and wisdom, in favour of data led analytics and its informed conclusions.
As an industry we have, at times, been guilty of inaccuracies, misrepresentation and secrecy. While almost all within the market clamour for transparency, there remains few avenues through which genuine transparency can be achieved.
When we ask for transparency, what is it we are asking for? It is easy enough to look through a window, but understanding what is on the other side can be far from simple. Being presented with large data sets and carefully selected statistics can be as misleading as it is useful without the guidance of independent analysis.
In order for data to be effective as a business tool, it must be applied, analysed and evaluated in a thorough and impartial manner. Expecting lists of new orders and yachts delivered to provide genuine market insight vastly overlooks the complexity of the market in which we operate.
In 2016 the Superyacht Intelligence Agency has obtained, curated and analysed the most accurate appraisal of the new build sector available to date. This process did not just entail updating our current database with figures gathered over the last 12 months, it required a dedicated team of five to go back further still in order to correct and improve upon historical data, the fruits of which are displayed and analysed in the 2016 Superyacht Intelligence Annual Report.
Beyond the myriad data capturing difficulties that were overcome, from unsold projects to contractual changes and projects in flux, our industry is one built on discretion. Without the trust of the owners, or each others businesses, there would be far fewer projects. Therefore, although there may be projects that cannot be included in the listings for discretional reasons, these projects have been included in the Annual Report’s statistical analysis, providing the market with the most effective business tool available.
“Excellent report. Well worth the money,” says Ian Petts, World Fuel Services business development manager. “Great report, statistics and facts in an industry plagued by a lack of factual information.”
It is possible then to be accurate, representative and secretive (discreet) – transparent.