Building trust is key to any business’s digital transformation

Building trust is key to any business’s digital transformation

We speak to Chris Dimitriadis of IT body ISACA about the importance of honing digital trust in any business trying to grow using technology.

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As businesses in Europe continue to move further into a world of digital transformation, gaining digital trust has never been more important – and the lack of it can be one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of new technologies.

However, there appears to be a big gap between what enterprises are doing now and what they need to do in order to secure customer trust moving forward.

A recent survey by ISACA, a global professional association focused on IT governance, has found that while a vast majority of business leaders across Europe believe digital trust is important, fewer than one in 10 organisations have a role dedicated to it.

“Digital trust has to do with the confidence in the interactions and relationships in every single aspect of a digital ecosystem,” ISACA chief global strategy officer Chris Dimitriadis told in an interview.

As businesses continue to expand and speed up their time to market by innovating and incorporating emerging technologies to gain a competitive advantage, Dimitriadis said that collaborations and supply chains are getting larger in scale and more complex.

And with this increase in complexity comes the need for the entire ecosystem to be worthy of digital trust and confidence from all stakeholders.

“This confidence can be from a range of perspectives including cybersecurity, quality for customers, privacy and respect for ethical standards,” he added.

“So, it’s about the correlation of all of those domains with an end target – the end consumer – and the stakeholders of the system to gain that confidence from the operation of the digital ecosystem.”

Need for digital trust training and framework

Even though the survey did not reveal promising results for the state of digital trust within organisations today, 86pc of the 370 professionals surveyed said digital trust will be even more important five years from now.

The survey also found that only about a quarter (27pc) offer digital trust training to staff. Dimitriadis thinks that this upskilling of employees is essential for any business to improve digital trust within its organisation.

“One thing that needs to be done certainly is to upskill personnel within a digital ecosystem to conduct more trainings – and not purely from a vertical expertise point of view. This training needs to be in digital trust terms, meaning that those professionals will also need to be upskilled to first understand the adjusting domains,” he said.

“For example, how is a digital transformation project run? What are the goals of the digital transformation project in relation to the business? What are the cost elements? And what are the time-to-market elements for cybersecurity professionals to be able to suggest solutions that are applicable to those parameters?”

To complement this training, organisations also need a framework for digital trust to help them understand the interactions between the technology, process, people and other aspects of the ecosystem. Dimitriadis said ISACA will be publishing a framework to address this later this year.

“You need a framework in order to be able to measure the maturity of digital trust rather than targeting one-off certifications or one-off assessments which are irrelevant to the journey or to the continuous transformation of an organisation’s practice.”

Other than lack of skills in the area, the survey also found that some of the other barriers to digital trust were lack of alignment with business goals, lack of budget and lack of technological resources.

“Organisations are yet to grasp the steps needed to get to a mature state of digital trust, which could have serious reputational, regulatory and financial repercussions,” Dimitriadis said when the survey was first published last month.

New Dublin office

Headquartered in Schaumburg in the US state of Illinois, ISACA has been helping train and upskill individuals and enterprises for more than 50 years. The non-profit has more than 165,000 members across 180 countries – including 45 chapters in Europe.

Last month, ISACA announced that it is opening its first European office in Dublin to help facilitate cooperation between its local regions, chapters and more than 30,000 European members.

Dimitriadis said that the Dublin office will also be used for advocacy and creating relations with European governments.

“The Dublin office will help us coordinate this advocacy function and express our opinion even more effectively to governments around Europe as well as the European Commission. The office will be growing as we go forward and we’re very proud to have our first office here,” he said.

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