4 minute read 3 Jun. 2022
EY Woman at coffee shop on laptop

Tackle three tenets in tandem to cultivate digital trust — and a competitive edge

Authors
Roobi Alam

EY Canada Privacy Leader

Roobi is a privacy professional who is determined to help organizations and individuals realize why privacy is power.

Carlos Perez Chalico

EY Canada Private Cybersecurity and Privacy Leader

I have over 23 years of experience in cybersecurity, IT risk management and privacy matters. In my free time, I read, write, go route-cycling and volunteer.

Contributors
4 minute read 3 Jun. 2022
Related topics TMT Telecommunications

For telcos, strengthening digital trust can generate customer loyalty, engagement and growth.

In brief
  • Reinforce privacy programs with clear ownership.
  • Embed cybersecurity and privacy through design.
  • Prioritize privacy at the heart of your culture. 

More than half of consumers say the pandemic has made them more aware of the personal data they share. That means instilling customer trust now represents a top opportunity for any telecommunications company looking to strengthen consumer loyalty and drive digital engagement. Doing so can empower you with a compelling competitive advantage in a noisy marketplace that’s rapidly evolving.

Case in point: EY research shows nearly three-quarters of citizens (including Canadians) believe technology makes life better. Almost as many acknowledge the role tech can play in solving future problems. Even so, they’re hesitant about sharing personal data; more than four in ten people are actively opposed to doing so with private companies and public entities.

This says a lot about the value Canadians place on their information. It also represents a critical opportunity. Organizations can capitalize on this growing appetite for tech solutions and deepen customer trust by addressing privacy concerns head on.

Putting customers at the centre of an operating model that’s grounded in digital trust tends to give people the confidence to visit, interact and share data with you more willingly. This generates important intel you can use to further personalize the customer experience and shows folks you’re thinking beyond profit alone to deliver a more meaningful impact. Personalizing experiences in this way is critical to establish credibility, cultivate brand equity and unlock new ways of creating long-term value for customers — as well as investors, shareholders, potential partners or targets, and even your own employees. These upsides build on the existing benefits of effectively managing enterprise-wide risk and regulatory requirements.

The pandemic will ultimately recede. The increased need for tech services and solutions will undoubtedly remain. It’s time to go beyond traditional, compliance-driven data risk tactics and weave digital trust right into your organizational fabric. Emphasizing data stewardship, ethics, protection and privacy at the heart of your approach can set your business — and your bottom line — apart.

How can you transform data risk into digital trust? Address these three priority areas continuously to build on momentum to generate additional progress.

1. Ground your program on a solid foundation and back it up with clear ownership.

Digital trust should become entrenched in your organization’s DNA. How are you managing and maintaining personal information now? Carrying out a fulsome privacy assessment and completing a comprehensive personal information inventory gives you a sense of where you’re starting from and how to focus your transformation efforts.

With that robust understanding, you’ll be better prepared to ground your program on essential pillars like data governance, cybersecurity and privacy practices. Then align a central privacy team and create functional privacy leads to prioritize, reinforce and improve the organization’s commitment to building digital trust over the long term.

2. Embrace privacy and cybersecurity at the design stage.

Digital trust shouldn’t be an afterthought. Are you looking at privacy and cyber risks early enough in the design process to effectively address gaps? Making these areas a priority topic at the initial stages of innovation helps create solutions that are fundamentally more secure from the get-go. Whether you’re ideating around 5G, advanced analytics, digital marketing or cloud migration: privacy and cybersecurity should always be discussed at the very front end of your planning.

We see the upsides of doing so in our work with telecom companies all the time. Incorporating privacy and cybersecurity at the design stage allows organizations to lay out clear future state plans that speak to governance, rick and compliance (GRC) solution implementation, metrics and improved supplier risk management at every stage of deployment.

Developing and operationalizing privacy by design begins by stating clear objectives, then connecting all areas — from digital identity and data privacy to internal education and data breach response planning — into a single, overarching design roadmap.

3. Commit to continuously managing change at the cultural level to bring internal stakeholders on board.

Digital trust isn’t created overnight. Do you have the tools, people and — this is essential — behaviours in place to monitor program efficiency, ensure cross-functional collaboration and adapt key aspects in real time? Developing the right framework to govern the program and ensure it stands up to the changing nature of the business, stakeholder expectations and external threats counts for a lot. Equally important is reinforcing those efforts with robust change management to actually drive a cultural shift in the way people and teams own and address digital trust going forward.

Transformation like this requires people at every level of the organization to evolve their thinking about the way businesses collect and use data and operate accordingly. Proactive and ongoing change management efforts can help move folks in that direction.

Summary

Consumer expectations are changing. True, too, for the way investors, shareholders, partners and talent assess and evaluate the value you bring. Doubling down on digital trust now is a key way to differentiate your business now and unlock new routes to profitable growth.

About this article

Authors
Roobi Alam

EY Canada Privacy Leader

Roobi is a privacy professional who is determined to help organizations and individuals realize why privacy is power.

Carlos Perez Chalico

EY Canada Private Cybersecurity and Privacy Leader

I have over 23 years of experience in cybersecurity, IT risk management and privacy matters. In my free time, I read, write, go route-cycling and volunteer.

Contributors