Customers won't do business with companies they don't trust with their data, according to a new report from Accenture.
Titled Guarding and Growing Personal Data Value, the report is based on research conducted by Accenture Institute for High Performance that included an online survey of nearly 600 business professionals across seven countries - Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, U.K. and U.S. - and across eight industry groups; interviews with academic experts; and other secondary research.
There are several benefits of using personal data to support innovation in customer service, product development and market development.
However, businesses face several challenges when using personal data, as a result of changing sentiments among stakeholders such as customers and regulatory bodies.
90% of respondents agree that digital stewardship is the most important principle in terms of being responsible managers of personal data. 74 percent said that their businesses are taking action on this principle.
"Customer data is a digital 'crown jewel' for any business but an organisation's ability to collect, analyse and monetise that asset in the future is under threat due to shifting perceptions, preferences, regulations and attacks," said Ryan LaSalle, managing director, Accenture Security. "Above all, stewardship and effective safeguarding of personal data is paramount to establishing digital trust. The implications of failing to do so extend into a business's operating model - meaning businesses must be organised and have the capabilities to protect the data that is entrusted to them."
Acting on privacy concerns
Customers have begun to act on their privacy concerns and this could compromise the amount and quality of personal data that businesses can use.
About 60 percent of respondents from products and manufacturing companies said that their customers are actively monetising their own data such as by selling it to data intermediaries.
The report indicates that growth in new privacy-enhancing technologies could impact the quality of customer data available to businesses.
Governments are increasing their regulatory response to concerns over data privacy and groups like Fair Data (U.K.) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (U.S.) are scrutinising the way businesses manage personal data.
"Rather than fight these trends, businesses should pursue proactive strategies that will help them adapt to the changes ahead," said Matthew Robinson, managing director, Accenture Institute for High Performance. "This includes investing in the right talent and technologies to bolster their security capabilities and provide greater data protection, defining an operational model centred on risk management goals to better predict, detect, respond and recover from security threats, and taking action on the principles we've identified that can promote greater digital trust."
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