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The Hindu Business Line: Senior Director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work Says Data Ethics is at the Heart of Business Success

“In an age when personal data is the key to honing competitive edge, data ethics is at the heart of business success,” writes Manish Bahl. “A Cognizant study on the business value of trust shows that almost 70 per cent of Indian consumers surveyed are willing to pay a premium for products and services from companies they trust most. However, the reverse is equally true: Roughly 53 per cent will stop doing business with a company that has broken their trust. “Return on trust” emerges as the new digital economy imperative in India.” Excerpts:

“As the digital revolution unfolds, trust will become even more important. Moreover, as consumers become more educated about how a company is using their data, they want a personal, tangible and immediate benefit in return. We call this the “give-to-get” ratio and managing this trade-off transparently is essential for trust to grow and for companies to succeed.

There is no such thing as blind trust in today’s business world. In the digital era, consumer trust is driven by data ethics, transparency and the give-to-get equation. Winning companies will radically change their business models to break away from the old mentality and take risks to revamp their customer engagement strategy and deliver value that matters most to consumers. The growing value and quality of the data that companies gather have changed not only the way products and services are delivered, but also the way consumers make decisions.

Here is a framework that can help companies build and maintain customer trust.

- Ensure manageable “gives” and positive “gets”.

- Give customers a delete button.

- Tear down the wall between IT and business with a “chief trust officer”.

- Be quick to respond to failures.

- The law will never catch up, so develop self-control.

Companies that view trust as a brand-building opportunity, and place consumers before profits and their own self-interest will be best equipped to sail through the choppy waters of trust-driven business disruption.”

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