Covid-19 crisis has served as rocket fuel for organisations aspiring to achieve rapid scale and velocity on digital transformation. The pandemic has accelerated the shift of off-line processes to on-line across the spectrum of the organisation’s functions, whether they are government, corporate, or non-profit organisations. Consequently, we have witnessed a drastic increase in the generation of data and information during the pandemic period.
In the post-Covid-19 world, the anxiety of people will shift from pandemic related concerns to personal data security and how it's being handled by these organisations. The winning formula of organisations’ success will shift from their digital platforms and 'their underlying data, to customers trust in how these organisations are using customers’ data. If organisations get the dynamics right and win customers’ trust, they will be successful to attract more customers and their loyalty, and this will help them build a sustainable business for the future.
To build that trust, organisations must focus on their data culture. Organisations must establish the importance of what it takes to be a data-driven organisation. This includes a formal focus on data governance and informal cultural signalling in the organisation. As an example, we set up ‘data days’ where members of the senior management committees were taken through gamified exercises to ensure that they understand the intricacies of data, and in the process sending a clear message right from the so-called top of the organisation on where and what everyone should be choosing to spend their time on.
An easy-to-use experience that conveys a sense of security to customers and employees will build a much deeper natural commitment to building digital trust. To accomplish that businesses, must deploy the right information security technologies and processes to digitize the trust mechanisms. The digital trust framework should take an integrated approach i.e. combining data discovery and protection, cloud-based access management, authentication, risk management, AI-based fraud detection, and global threat intelligence. All of this should behind the scenes to ensure that the robustness of the security protocol so that it is not overwhelming for the user, while at the same time establishing a sense of trust.
Equally, that sense of trust is built if an organisation is transparent to customers about the data that is being stored and processed or removed based on customer’s preferences Customers need to visibly see that their preferences are being acted upon.
Organisations, particularly in the financial services sphere are investing significantly in Blockchain technology to get future-ready. Blockchain could be a game-changer for the world - what the internet did for information world a few decades back, is what Blockchain is going to do for transparency and trust.
Finally, digital trust will be established only if the organisation can confidently answer this critical question –Is the data being ethically used for customers' benefit or for its own? It’s a societal question that organisations are presently dealing with. In the next five years, it’s going to become an even bigger question. To answer that, organisations will respond in a different way going forward – from hiring a Chief Trust Officer to even embedding psychologists into technology teams to think about the ethical side of – ‘are we doing the right thing?’ and ‘what impact are we having on the society?’.
In the post-Covid 19 worlds, the use of data is going to be even more disruptive. While it is a challenge for organisations to keep pace with the volumes of data being generated, nevertheless, the focus should be on building trust with consumers and larger stakeholders and challenging within to get the right balance between societal trust and corporate profits. Future success will belong to the organisations that get this balance right.
Please note the article was originally published in the Economic Times in June 2020.
The opinions expressed are author's own. Fidelity International is not responsible for the author's opinions.