Tech in the 20s: Is TRUST at Stake in the all-Digital Era?

Moderator: Govind Ethiraj, Founder BOOMLive

Panelists: Stuart Warner, Head of Technology, Fidelity; Ashwin Yardi, CEO – India, Capgemini; Harsha V Agadi, President & Chief Executive Officer, Crawford & Company.

The Takeaways:  

  • Trust can be earned only over a period of time”, Arthur Ashe, Tennis Great.
  • We need to understand why are we even talking about trust. What has happened that’s fundamentally changed the way we now look at trust. We need to ask ourselves, why are we falling in this area as individuals and entities? If we agree that there’s a huge trust deficit in society then are we willing to seek out solutions. In addition, should the focus be on people or technology?
  • Studies suggest that the trust quotient is on a steep decline. Even NGOs, Governments and the media have not been spared. And, trust is not limited to Digital only, it is all-pervasive. Though, for our industry, we are looking at building trust in a digital economy. The big question is – are we accountable for what we are supposed to do?
  • It was revealed that trust is a function of two parameters – competence comprising one-fourth and ethical behavior, three-fourths. And global shock waves have disrupted status quo time and again – Cambridge Analytica, Diesel Gate, the MeToo movement are all glaring examples in recent times.
  • We may like to believe that trust is linear where there’s complete trust in one end and total distrust in the other. Well, in reality, that’s not the case. Trust and distrust are operative at the same time. For example, you may trust your banker with money and hence you choose to keep it there. However, you may not seek your banker’s advice on how you should invest the money. In the financial services sector, the idea of trust is at an all-time high (arguably). Accentuated by the fact that there’s no physical contact with the customer (in general).

 The Airbnb example. You decide to trust a few “comments” on social media and seek temporary accommodation with someone you don’t know at all. But the comments or the lack of them form trust in your mind. Similarly, the owner decides to hand over the keys to you. Trust is a brand. Trust is a protocol. Trust is about having a transparent data strategy.

  • Profit is generally an outcome of trust – seeing it from a long-term standpoint and making it sustainable. Putting it very simplistically, a high level of trust will increase business volumes. An intangible something that businesses give back to customers.
  •  TRUST is the key to digital assets. Choose to keep them locked or open.  
  • There’s contrarian theory – TRUST is binary. Either you have it or you don’t. It’s really a summation of PRIVACY, SECURITY, ETHICS, RELIABILITY & COMPLIANCE.
  • Governments worldwide are being held accountable for the ways in which citizens’ data are being used. Concerns abound, their role, and what needs to be done to shed the tag of “Surveillance State”.
  • 84% of companies that comply with GDPR norms have worn the “trustworthy” tag well and experienced 20% more online traffic to their websites. Most companies are investing heavily in cybersecurity and its gone up by as much as 5 – 7 times even in the last few years. Leaders are increasingly being paranoid about trust – Welcome to the world of mistrust! The very idea os data breaches keep CEOs awake at night. Right now, there’s a lot of activity but the desired level of alertness is still the distance away.
  • Just as Financial Audits are mandatory, we should consider TRUST AUDITS as well. We need to identify a body of individuals (and it will be time-bound) who can undertake this activity. They need to retire periodically to usher in a new set. This will enforce transparency, accountability and lack of bias.

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