How Can You Trust and Be Trusted In Digital Business?

August 26, 2015

Contributor: Laurence Goasduff

Trust is the foundation of all personal and business transactions. There are deep questions about security, ethics, and trust that need to be addressed in a connected environment.

Trust is the foundation of all personal and business transactions. But who can you trust in digital business, with its endless connections and constantly shifting configurations? How can you behave in such a way that others will trust you?

"There are deep questions about security, ethics, and trust that need to be addressed in this connected environment," said Jeffrey Mann, research vice president at Gartner, ahead of Gartner Symposium/ITxpo South Africa 2015, in Cape Town.

Architecting for trust may be the most tangible contribution a CIO can make to the digital business. With so many different aspects of trust to deal with, companies who are best able to adapt to this will be the ones that gain competitive advantage.

Many of the concepts associated with digital business are what happens when the real and digital worlds intersect. This creates the need to make better use of the data that is at the disposal of the business. The emphasis on the sharing of information through a sense of connectedness will see an increase in the value of trust. Information will neither be fully open, or completely locked down.

There will be more of a threaded approach with the likes of bimodal IT evolving into bimodal business. In the one mode, you have traditional systems that keep the lights running. The second mode is a more agile and innovative environment with faster cycles between iterations. With data in the first mode being very sensitive, it becomes necessary to experiment on what is available in mode two. In this instance, everything is focused on minimizing risk but, if it does not work, then the company has the ability to improve without compromising sensitive data.

For example, you are not likely to see a bank innovate quickly on its core transactional services, but it may be willing to experiment with various outreaches to entrepreneurs and the unbanked to try new things. Compliance provides guardrails to this. It provides companies with a shield to protect themselves, but it also gives them the means to innovate in a particular way.

Trust goes in two directions

First, you must be in a position to trust colleagues and partners, and react quickly when something goes wrong, trusting and verifying at the same time. That is the core idea of people-centric security — a focus on behaviors, sensing, and responding.

Second, you must earn trust. That starts by being trustworthy, literally. Treating others and their information with respect is a good place to start. This will result in enabling multiple views of the customer. Questions you need to consider include, what the customer is sharing and how is that customer interacting with the company, with others, and what is that customer doing with the information.

A multi-layered approach between the interconnectedness of information will provide companies with the ability to define patterns and identify ways to be more effective in their customer engagements.

"It's not just what you know about the customer, but what you do when combining that knowledge with other information you have on them. People value connections, but they want to be in control of it," said Mr. Mann. "Big data, the Internet of Things, and the digital workplace are the underlying ideas behind digital business — so the need exists to analyze data."

Analyzing information drives business benefit, and this reinforces the importance of the people aspect of digital business. Ultimately, it will drive what it means for the deep interconnectedness that already exists and the responsibilities associated to it.

Gartner analysts will further explore digital business trends at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo South Africa 2015, at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from September 28 to 30.

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