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The convergence of customer experience and data privacy

Akamai Customer Day 2018 in London brought together an elite roster of identity leaders and marquee Akamai customers. Kicking off Cybersecurity Awareness month, senior representatives from some of Akamai's multinational clients -- from global pharmaceutical, telecommunications and consumer products companies -- discussed how to manage security and privacy risks in order to protect data and build trust-worthy customer engagement.

Customer experience drives digital transformation

With her keynote presentation "The Convergence of Experience and Security," Forrester Research Senior Analyst Enza Iannopollo provided a fresh perspective on digital transformation including key areas of consideration and recommendations for implementation. She began by pointing out that the primary driver for a brand to undergo a digital transformation was a desire to be recognized by consumers, a desire to stand out. "What makes a business digital?" asked Iannopollo. Certainly, it takes more than having an app. Businesses are embracing digital initiatives with two primary goals. Research indicates that 29% of businesses approach a digital transformation with the motivation of improving customer experience; the second most common priority was winning new customers. Both indicate an awareness that digital channels and experiences are the expectations of current and future customers.

IIn fact, Forrester Research's report indicates a close connection between customer experience and revenue. Their Customer Experience Index provides a standard by which CX can be compared - business to business, industry to industry, year to year. Since they've been using this measure, analysts have been able to quantify the contribution of customer experience to businesses' bottom lines. "The potential upside of a 1-point improvement in CX Index ranges from $874 million for a large mass market auto manufacturer to $5 million for a large credit card provider," wrote Maxie Schmidt on the Forrester blog.

Balancing privacy and customer experience

But the desire of businesses to activate digital channels and embark on digital transformations that deliver the experiences their customers want is balanced against some real challenges. Among the challenges called out by Iannopollo were security and consumer privacy expectations. In her research, Iannopolo found that security was cited by 34% of digital transformation project leaders as their biggest challenge, noting that "Data is at the center of a digital transformations; attackers will try to find ways to corrupt this data."

Morphing boundaries and increasing awareness are changing consumer expectations for data privacy -- creating an additional challenge for digital transformation. As workplace privacy and security training programs heighten employees' privacy awareness these expectations are carried outside of the workplace and into online shopping, recreation and social experiences. In our recent survey on consumer digital privacy, Akamai found that 74% of consumers felt that brands either didn't care about data privacy, or were bad at managing their data.

Iannapollo summarized these challenges, saying, "Security and privacy concerns must be addressed in a way that does not degrade customer experience." The road to this solution is forged by aligning an organization's digital transformation with security and privacy to deliver the common goal of improved customer experience across all touchpoints. This requires a shift in thinking about security and privacy -- from a focus on compliance to a focus on customer value creation. Some action items that support that realignment:

  1. Creating a dedicated, multi-functional team to address customer privacy rights requests

  2. Consulting with the most customer-focused team (often tech support or customer success management) in your organization to design customer consent and privacy processes

  3. Incorporating best practice for UX design into privacy and consent management

  4. Striving for one-click resolution to customer privacy request fulfillment

How CIAM enables digital transformation

A Customer Identity and Access Management platform (CIAM) can be an important part of a successful digital transformation by enabling trusted digital experiences and connecting data insights and data security. CIAM streamlines on-boarding of new customers with registration, authentication, and single sign-on (SSO). An enterprise-ready CIAM solution also provides user-centric consent and preference management to meet global privacy requirements and to exceed customer expectations.

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