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Digital Trust

Authors

Gary Zimmerman- Principal Consulting Analyst

Gary Rowe, CEO/Principal Consulting Analyst

Abstract

Trust is a cornerstone of the digital economy and is what makes efficient markets possible. Without trust, few transactions would take place. While mutual benefit is often the reason behind a transaction, trust is the insurance or likelihood that the purchaser will receive that benefit. Consumers will not buy from a seller if they do not trust the seller to deliver the product as agreed. Businesses will not trade if they do not trust the other party to follow through with its promises. Clients may refuse to do business if they don’t trust the security and privacy practices of the vendor. Lack of trust can lead to costly legal protections, inefficient contracts, lost sales, and business failure.

Trust is a human construct that is based on the perception that another person or organization will deliver on a promise to do something. In the days of brick and mortar, people (salespeople, support staff, managers, etc.) provided the basis for trust. Now businesses are becoming digital, and that means there are fewer human touchpoints and interactions with customers. That drives the need for the digital platforms that demonstrate and reinforce this perception of trust; that you act honestly and upright (Integrity), are capable and competent within your fields (Competence), balance your own interests with the interest of others (Benevolence), and act with consistency (Predictability).

In a world where almost any product or service can be purchased online from countless companies globally, trust is a significant differentiator. This report defines trust for the digital world and how an enterprise can deliver on the explicit and implicit promises made with your customers and prospects.  Note that trust builds or is eroded over time. We break down the dimensions of Digital Trust into two areas:

  • Mechanical trust, in particular as it relates to and is supported by cybersecurity and Identity and Access Management is at the heart of Digital Trust. This is the technical foundation means that deliver predefined outputs reliably and predictably.
  • Relational trust, the promise to abide by the social norms and agreements that address the complex realities of the relationship between the customer and the Digital Enterprise.

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