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Yesterday, Gartner published an analysis listing Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2019. This analysis aims to help enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders to identify opportunities, counter threats, and create competitive advantage. Among the very obvious rising technologies trends, there is one more trend that has made to the Gartner list, which is digital ethics and privacy.

The following are the top 10 strategic trends you need to watch out for in 2019:

Top strategies

Source: Gartner

2018 has been the year of data breaches, hacking, and various privacy concerns. We saw many data controversies involving tech giants like Google and Facebook.

For instance, last month Facebook witnessed the biggest security breach in which 50 million accounts were compromised. This happened because of a vulnerability in Facebook’s code that existed between July 2017 and September 2018. Later, Facebook clarified that data of 30 million accounts were stolen.

“We now know that fewer people were impacted than we originally thought. Of the 50 million people whose access tokens we believed were affected, about 30 million actually had their tokens stolen.”

Previously, Facebook was also in news for sharing users’ personal identifying information (PII) with their advertisers. This was a conclusion of a study done by researchers at Northeastern University and Princeton University.

Reportedly, Google also had entered into a deal with Mastercard to track whether users’ offline buying habits are influenced by online ads for the past year. Bloomberg reported that Mastercard provided customers’ transaction data to Google and it is likely that other credit card companies are also doing the same.

These controversies have made consumers more aware that their personal information is valuable and they should demand control. Users are now becoming increasingly concerned about how their personal information is being used by both the public and private sector. If the organizations do not proactively address these concerns, they will surely witness a backlash.

Organizations are also recognizing the need for increased security and better management of user’s personal data. As a result, they are beginning to take actions such as revising their data privacy policy while governments are exploring how best to implement strict legislation to ensure they do, without stifling tech innovation.

For example, recently, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing with privacy advocates in the US and EU representative, on protecting consumer data privacy: As per the committee’s hearing, it focused on the perspective of privacy advocates and other experts. These advocates encouraged federal lawmakers to create strict data protection regulation rules, giving consumers more control over their personal data. The major focus was on implementing a strong common federal consumer privacy bill “that sets a floor, not a ceiling.”

Also, major tech giants and social media companies, AT&T, Amazon, Google, Twitter, Apple, and Charter Communications met the US Senate Committee to discuss consumer data privacy.

Ethics and privacy: The hierarchy of intent

Importance of privacy to an organization should be driven by its ethics and trust. Enterprises should not just be asking “are we compliant?”, rather they should ask “are we doing the right thing?”

The following diagram shows Gartner’s hierarchy of intent, which means:

“The move from compliance-driven organizations to ethics-driven organizations can be described as the hierarchy of intent.”

The Hierarchy of Intent

Source: Gartner

Mind compliance

Mind compliance is the lowest level in the hierarchy and is only externally driven. Enterprises at this level focus on avoiding issues and make decisions about the use of technology based on what is allowed. Irrespective of whether something is right or wrong, if there is no rule against what is proposed, it is allowed.

Mitigating risk

This level includes those enterprises who have the mindset of taking the risk of doing harm to others without harming itself. This also assesses the risk of getting caught doing something that leads to public embarrassment and reputational risk.

The report says:

“Companies that misuse personal data will lose the trust of their customers. Trustworthiness is a key factor in driving revenue and profitability. Building customer trust in an organization is difficult, but losing it is easy. However, organizations that gain and maintain the trust of their customers will thrive. By 2020, we expect that companies that are digitally trustworthy will generate 20% more online profit than those that aren’t.”

Making a difference

To make a difference for customers, industries or society at large, companies should use ethical considerations. Going by ethics, commercial enterprises will be able to create a competitive differentiation and public sector institutions will be able to create value for citizens.

Following your values

This means making moral-driven decisions. Your decisions will be based on what your brand values are, what your brand represents, and what your brand permits. The analysis highlights that technology is not for maximizing profit at the expense of customers:

“Following your values comes down to being able to look yourself in the mirror and feel convinced you are doing the right thing. Are you treating customers, employees or citizens as you would expect to be treated? The successful use of technology is not to maximize its utility for the organization at the expense of the customer, rather it is to figure out how to get the most value out of it for both the organization and the individuals it depends on.”

To read Gartner’s full report, head over to its official website.

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