RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Trust is the differentiator between competing platforms: Users select the platform that best meets their expectations most often.
  • Platforms must nurture trust in a coordinated and consistent fashion across a diverse set of customers, partners, employees and service providers.
  • As we include AI, machine learning and blockchain in the equation, a key question emerges: How will your business differentiate on trust?


Every time a customer downloads your app, it’s an act of trust. Whenever they sign up, and provide valuable personal data, it’s an act of trust. The same applies to inputting payment details, using your services and even sharing their experiences. At each of these interaction points, companies have an opportunity to validate and reward trust—or damage it. If trust is the basis of everything your business does it should be something you can define, communicate to others, drive effect from cause and measure.

This isn’t the case today. The trust that underpins every interaction is rarely discussed in an actionable way.

What if it were possible to transform your relationships with all stakeholders? To manage something you’d never thought was manageable and, in doing so, completely change your standing in the world? That’s the scale of opportunity we’re talking about.

The trust value conundrum

The network effect of platforms multiplies even small preferences into mega-successes and turns leading platforms into economic powerhouses. Because trust is such a powerful source of sustainable competitive advantage, platforms must nurture it in a coordinated and consistent fashion across a diverse set of customers, partners, employees and service providers. Every relationship will, of course, raise its own unique issues.

Managing, directing and guiding trust through all of these factors is the goal. But to what extent can this be enabled and fine-tuned across an ecosystem until it’s owned and acted upon throughout the organization?

Ultimately, the question every CEO needs to ask: What’s the value of differentiating on trust?

Clearly, we’re now past the inflection point. Bill Theofilou, senior managing director, Accenture Strategy, says, “Trust can no longer be considered a ‘soft’ issue for companies. We can now quantify how trust, specifically the loss of it, impacts a company’s revenue and EBIDTA growth.” In other words, trust is now in the boardroom. And just as getting it wrong has a direct impact on potential revenues, so getting it right has a real and direct impact on the business: Real revenue dollars, real investment capital, real employment applications and real positioning in competitive ecosystems are all generated by trust.

What happens when trust goes wrong?

Accenture researched 7,000 companies on a wide-ranging set of social, economic, customer, ecosystem and performance criteria in the Accenture Competitive Agility Index.

84%

had a fraud event occur last year

86%

had a cyber event occur last year

So, what does "getting it right" mean?

It’s all about repeatable and transparent practices—having a vision for your customers’ view of trust, then back-planning to orchestrate how your enterprise designs, deploys and tests services on behalf of your trust commitment. Capabilities like DevSecOps, Privacy by Design and Design for Trust are Accenture offerings developed to shape and strengthen trust strategy through execution at scale.

As we include AI, machine learning, blockchain and more in the equation, the most important question emerges: How will your business differentiate on trust?

Robin Murdoch

Managing Director, Global Industry Lead – Software & Platforms


Kevin Collins

Managing Director – Software & Platforms


Mark Egner

Senior Manager – Accenture Security

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