Personal data is business critical. However, the collection and use of personal data is being challenged by changing customer attitudes, increased government regulation and new sources of independent scrutiny. To preserve and even increase the potential of personal data, businesses need to embrace the principles of corporate digital responsibility to turn these potential risks into opportunities for differentiation and growth.
Business use of personal data is at risk
Despite the benefits, there is a growing challenge to the business use of data from changes unfolding among businesses’ key stakeholders, including customers, regulatory bodies and watchdogs. Accenture has identified a number of changes that are particularly important for organizations to understand if they hope to respond effectively.
There is a crisis of trust in data security
Customers will not do business with companies they do not trust with their data. More than half of our survey respondents agree that their businesses are not doing enough to to build trust with customers over use of their data.
Customers are acting on their privacy concerns
This will compromise the amount and quality of personal data that businesses can use. 67% of survey respondents believe that their customers are taking measures to protect data privacy.
Customers are demanding a data dividend
Customers’ active monetization of their data can bring an end to “free” data collection. Nearly 60% of survey respondents from products and manufacturing companies report that their customers are actively monetizing their own data.
New technologies and startups are helping more people go “off grid”
This can reduce the quality of customer data as well as the speed at which businesses can analyze it. Internet services and mobile devices designed to protect online footprint are growing.
Regulation is changing the rules of data collection
The majority of businesses represented in our survey see stricter data-protection regulation (such as data localization) as the number-one disruptor. In 1993, four countries had data-privacy regulations. By late 2013, this number reached 101.
Watchdogs are increasing the scrutiny of business data practices
Ethical data “kite marks” may become the FairTrade label of the future, influencing customers’ purchasing decisions. A number of independent organizations are scrutinizing how businesses manage personal data. By publishing scorecards and awards for ethical data handling, they can help customers make more informed decisions.
Addressing personal data risk while stimulating innovation
Accenture believes five principles of digital responsibility—stewardship, transparency, empowerment, equity and inclusion—can address potential risks and fuel opportunities for growth and differentiation.
1. Digital Stewardship
Ensures that the management of personal data is consistent with consumers’ expectations.
2. Digital Transparency
Demonstrates openness from businesses in how they use the personal data collected.
3. Digital Empowerment
Gives customers greater control over their data.
4. Digital Equity
Clarifies the benefits customers receive in return for sharing their data.
5. Digital Inclusion
Puts personal data in service toward social improvement.
Business use of personal data is under threat from a number of different sources, such as changing customer attitudes, increased government regulation and new sources of independent scrutiny.
Personal data is business critical. But new risks are emerging, threatening to reduce the availability and quality of personal data businesses can use. To turn these risks into opportunities for growth and differentiation, business need to embrace Accenture’s five principles of corporate digital responsibility.
In an Accenture survey of nearly 600 businesses around the world, 79 percent of respondents said their companies collect data directly from individuals (through online customer accounts, for example) as well as from commercial or data-sharing partnerships, connected devices and third-party data suppliers. How organizations preserve and even increase the potential of personal data will determine whether they will feature among the leaders of the digital economy.
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