June 06, 2017
June 06, 2017
Contributor: Sony Shetty
Organizations are rethinking their digital ethics strategies.
The digital business era has blurred the boundaries between technology and business, and IT has moved from being a support function to an important business enabler. This has brought the discussion on digital ethics to the forefront.
We asked Frank Buytendijk, vice president and Gartner Fellow, to share his insights on digital ethics issues in digital business.
A: Many professions have specific ethical codes. Think of medical ethics, legal ethics, military ethics, scientific ethics, engineering ethics, accounting ethics, educational ethics and so on. However, in the field of information technology, ethical codes are less common, less developed and less prominent.
But now with the traditional IT function expanding to include digital business enablement, there is an acute need to develop and maintain digital ethics, especially when considering the scandals in the press and the public discourse. Unintended consequences and the amplification of their effects make the risk very real, very fast.
The scope of digital ethics is broad and includes security, cybercrime, privacy, social interaction, governance, free will, and society and economy at large.
A: The scandals and societal debate around intended and unintended ethical consequences of use of digital technology requires CIOs, senior IT professionals, boards, risk officers and investors to pay close attention to digital ethics as part of digital risk and digital business.
A: Organizations today are rethinking their strategies based on this hierarchy:
A: The biggest challenge is thinking or hoping that there are checklists you can copy from. This checklist mentality where you are trying to tick the boxes will not help as society is ever-changing and volatile. The trick is to always keep an eye for unintended consequences and constantly monitor that you are doing the right thing.
A: Some of the key guidelines to follow are:
Join your peers for the unveiling of the latest insights at Gartner conferences.
Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:
Digital Ethics, or How to Not Mess Up With Technology by Frank Buytendijk.
*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.