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To win in the digital economy, build trust

Sam Liew, Managing Director, Technology, ASEAN, Accenture | Aug. 15, 2016
Accenture's Sam Liew shares why and how companies should build trust as they transform themselves into digital businesses.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The digital economy presents new opportunities to reach out to customers. It is expected to make up 25 percent of global GDP (US$24.6 billion) in 2020, up from 22.5 percent (US$19.2 billion) in 2015, according to Accenture research.

Data from wearables, online transactions or internet browsing history allows businesses to personalise customer experience. And with technology advances in areas such as cloud, sensors and analytics, businesses can release products and services to millions of customers quickly, or use data at scale to make faster, better decisions.

Yet, the digital economy also exposes businesses to systemic risk. A cybersecurity breach or mismanagement of data can lead to widespread loss of customer trust. And without trust, businesses cannot use and share the data that underpins their operations.

In fact, 83 percent of 3,100 respondents in the Accenture Technology Vision 2016 survey agreed that trust is the cornerstone of the digital economy. Accenture Technology Vision highlights the five trends that will affect organisations in the next three to five years.

Businesses need to have strong security and practise good ethics at each stage of the customer journey to build digital trust. Company boards, and their risk committees in particular, need to pay attention to the trend of digital trust. Without comprehensive policies, training, incentives, and consequences for data and digital ethics, exposure to risk increases and adverse outcomes are more likely.

Cybersecurity remains important
Hacking incidents continue to increase and they are getting more sophisticated. 7 out of 10 organisations suffered from at least twice as many privacy or security breaches compared to two years ago, according to our survey.

Recognising the new risks from the digital economy, businesses are investing in information security with global spend set to exceed US$100 billion by 2019, according to Gartner.

And the next-generation security mechanisms are moving away from exclusively perimeter-based tools such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems towards being data-centric - wherever data goes, security goes too. This new approach includes human factors-based security such as cognitive fingerprinting and hardware authentication.

For example, mobile-device security firm InAuth establishes the trustworthiness of a device before giving it access to network resources. Once the device is validated, another feature such as BioCatch's multifactor authentication analyses the way users interact with the device as a way to verify and provide persistent identity.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should
It is equally important that businesses consider the ethical implications of the way they use data in the digital economy. Failing to do so could leave one's reputation in tatters when unsound practices are exposed.


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