Involve end-users at the design stage

His point was trust in the technology driving the digital economy went far beyond the technology. Fellow panellists agreed it permeated through every part of every organization. Technology might be an enabler but the people behind the technology and those using it every day helped build the trust with customers.

Fellow panellist Sarah Adam-Gedge said there was a “yin and the yang of trust”.

“We trust technology to do the things that we need to function as a society and we trust it to do the right thing. Getting the balance right is the holy grail for organizations,” Adam-Gedge said.

“And if we’re talking about a brand, the brand is the promise and if you don’t have that trust, you don’t have a good brand and you don’t have customers or consumers,” Adam-Gedge said.

All panelists agreed everyone wanted to trust in the technology that enabled us to go about our daily lives and we generally did but, we often misunderstood the difference between trusting an organization and trusting the technology.

Emma Weston, the chief executive and founder of digital supply chain company, Agridigital, said there was a difference between being a trusted technology, which was about brand and marketing, and having people trust in your technology.

Using Agridigital as an example of trust in the technology, she said the company brought together every element of the grain supply chain into one digital platform. It was a long supply chain and Agridigital’s technology allowed each element of the supply chain to track the whole process, she said.

Each element could use the data to improve their own processes and see how those improvements enhanced the whole supply chain. Trust in the data from each element connected disparate elements of the whole supply chain, providing an enormous opportunity to improve productivity right across the nation’s grain industry, she said.

“The trust parameters are built into the technology,” Weston said.

Dan Chesterman, chief information officer at the ASX, said while we tended to trust the technology we knew and understood, the issue was the number of “on and off ramps” right through the digital process. The questions we needed to ask were about trusting what was coming and what was going out and how it was being distributed.

He agreed we needed to look at the whole ecosystem when we examined the digital economy and this involved building trust not just with end-users but with everyone along the way.

Chesterman spoke of the ASX’s evolution in recent years and how it had endeavored to build a whole ecosystem with different parameters inside it so investors could obviously trust in the market and the whole settlement system on one level but also trust in peer-to-peer communication and sharing.

He cited the secure nature of blockchain technology. People only associated it with cryptocurrencies and not with other areas such as smart contracts, digital identification or supply chain management, he said.

Interestingly, most cryptocurrency investors were probably not interacting directly with the blockchain at all but with an exchange, he said.

“You don’t have the keys to the blockchain, you’re leaving your money on an exchange but you are trusting that exchange as it plays a part in a wider trusted ecosystem,” Chesterman said.

Adam-Gedge said companies hoping to build trust right across their organization from their employees through to their customers have to be led from the top.

“A fish rots from its head and if you don’t embed the importance of building trust from the leadership down and have it cascading through an organization then you’re not going to build it at all,” she said.

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