Data Utility Vs. Privacy is not an either/or option. How do you balance both?

In the big data-driven world, data analytics and data privacy are equally important. Just as the opportunity for enterprises to engage with consumers has grown in importance, the responsibility to secure consumers’ personal information has also gained momentum.

Richer data analytics and the better understanding of consumers resulting from this have become more important. However, the responsibilities that organizations have towards safeguarding the personal information of consumers have been steadily increasing.

The data-driven transformation of companies is already upon us. Data-driven companies have swapped approximately three-quarters of Fortune 1,000 companies over the last decade (recent Forbes article). Gartner predicts that by 2022, 90% of corporations will adopt data as a primary asset, and by 2023, improving data literacy will be incorporated in 80% of data and analytics strategies. In its 2020 letter to stakeholders, Adobe declared data as a key pillar of its growth strategy and named innovation in the field of data privacy and security as a top priority. Companies leading and influencing global markets are putting data at the forefront of their strategies to gain a competitive edge.

Safeguarding consumer data privacy can become a point of differentiation and competitive business advantage. Businesses should decide whether they want to continue viewing it as a compliance pain point view it as a differentiating factor to improve customer trust and reputation.

Privacy awareness amongst consumers and regulators is real and here to stay. Enterprises should be incorporating privacy in a foundational manner into their business processes. Deriving value from consumer data and providing privacy protection have equal roles in an organization’s success.

The tectonic plate of the privacy landscape is shifting

Data breaches and abuses are a stark reminder of the dark side of the cyber world. Data collection without consent and the recent history of high-profile data breaches have increased caution amongst consumers and individuals about their personal data. Regulators around the world have increasingly strengthened privacy protection and are giving control over data back to users. The GDPR is the European Union and CCPA in California are among the most visible regulatory actions. These regulations mandate that companies provide users with adequate disclosures and/or opt-in choices for collecting personal data. As other nations and states (in the US) consider similar regulations, companies should modify their data collecting, storing, sharing, handling, and processing strategies in a way that respects the privacy rights of individuals.

Fuelled by these regulations, privacy awareness is increasingly spreading amongst consumers. Privacy considerations influence consumer choices with those companies who support a privacy-first idea benefitting and companies who have a poor track record of protecting data privacy suffering. Consumer decision-making based on privacy considerations could dramatically alter the economics of data as we know it today.

This is evident from some of the steps initiated by market leaders to redefine their stance on consumer data privacy:

  • Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) requires app developers to ask permission to track user data across other apps and websites

  • Firefox blocks third-party tracking cookies on desktop and Android by default

  • Privacy-advocating browsers, like DuckDuckGo, are witnessing a huge surge in popularity, for keeping searches private and not tracking users.

Privacy & data utilization can co-exist

While most customers are worried about ad personalization, sixty-three percent of consumers expect it as a standard of service when they’re being served promotional offers, according to a