Companies that want to get ahead of the curve will need to give consumers more control over their data, be more privacy conscious and transparent about data practices, according to a new report by Accenture. We agree!

This insight comes from Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019 report that predicts technology trends that will redefine business over the next three years.

In this article we’ve rounded up the key trends from the report related to data and consumer privacy and how these offer both an opportunity and risk to organisations.

What does post-digital mean?

Accenture believe that we’re in the midst of “digital saturation.” Post-digital refers to the idea that as a society we’ve been ‘showered’ by digital products and services for years, and digital itself is not innovative or something that can “differentiate” organisations from their competitors.

But wait. Digital itself isn’t over as the report says, “its impact is still changing the relationship between businesses and society, and the expectations of individual people.” So how will this changing relationship impact organisations in a post-digital world? And what are the important points to consider in order to stay ahead of the curve?

Risks & opportunities

The past year has seen privacy come into the public eye, with big technology brands being damaged from scandals such as Facebook and Google. Such scandals are continuing to shift the relationship between consumers and organisations.

The report suggests that despite the risk of there’s a growing opportunity for organisations. “The coming era will be characterized by massive pressure as customers, employees and society make their demands known. But it will also provide tremendous opportunities”

We’re all different

Individualisation and the term individual are both referenced frequently throughout the report. Individualisation refers to the the idea of the ‘market of one’ where technology identities offer new ways for organisations to personalise existing product and service offerings.

However as the report points out, individualisation will come with greater responsibility when it comes down to consumer privacy. “As companies move toward serving the market of one, they must toe the line between “useful” and “creepy” — and bear in mind that the line will vary for each person.”

This echoes what we’ve written about before and how individuals have differing beliefs when it comes to privacy, after all, we’re all different.

Don’t be creepy, it may cost your brand

We see and hear about new technological innovations everyday, from products that track a person’s movements, heart rate, sleeping patterns, to tracking domestic products such the location of a toothbrush.

Although some tracking may be useful to the user, for many individuals it can be a step too far. The report suggests that organisations must get to grip with consumer’s privacy demands or risk damaging their brand. “Going beyond the red line for an individual consumer could mean all is lost.”

For data’s sake

At the start of the report, Paul Daugherty Accenture’s Chief Technology and Innovation Officer says, “The key thing for companies to think about is just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something.”

This goes back to the idea that just because you can collect data, doesn’t mean you should. We’ve talked before about building Tap on the Privacy by Design principles, and how in our journey building Tap we’ve constantly had to ask ourselves, ‘do we really need that data?’ and ‘is that right to be collecting that?’. It’s that mindset that comes to mind here.

As an organisation you must question whether you are doing things just for the sake of it. Ask yourself why?

Consumer trust is key

For organisations to truly personalise their products and services to the ‘market of one’ they’ll need to build a lasting trust with their customers, the report says.

“Integrating experiences into consumers’ lives requires an ongoing, intimate level of understanding; such insights rely on a strong foundation of trust, which companies must maintain through every consumer interaction.”

Organisations that take heed to these challenges will, as it says, “achieve the new level of continuous insight and understanding needed to lead in the post-digital world.”

Key takeaways

  • Privacy & individualisation: There’s a line between privacy and the individualisation of product or services, if you cross the line you risk damaging your brand or worse, losing customers.
  • Don’t be creepy: how would you feel personally to receive this message or offer? Be careful to not step over the line…
  • Don’t just do something because it’s what you’ve always done: Be mindful about why you do things. Why do you need that data? How long is it needed for?
  • Customer trust is key: Listen to consumers, build trust through transparent insights and open dialogue.

Please comment, and if you have any questions get in touch. You can find Accenture’s full report below for further reading.


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