Unity on identifying key emerging IT trends is something of a rarity, but everyone is singing from the ‘People First’ hymnsheet at the moment – and we’re at the very forefront of the revolution with our Internet of Me forum.
We’ll get to the who in a minute, but the obvious question is why, right? The start of a year often heralds reflection on the months past, and the chance to refine a company vision or personal perspective for the year ahead, but this is so widespread, so pervasive, that it feels overwhelmingly like a change in progress rather than an ideological wistfulness that will achieve nothing but some personal angst among the industry high ranks before moving on, never to be touched on again.
This, a converging of influential people and organisations saying that people need to come first and be the guiding lights and influence on growth and innovation rather than the other way around, is the start of a new normal, a chance to right the wrongs of the past and build a better, more connected future for all, with every one of us at the centre of, and in control of, our own digital lives.
It’s hard to put it better than Paul Daugherty, chief technology officer at Accenture, who said of their newly-launched Technology Vision for 2016, which this year promotes the importance of people over technology development: “Our Tech Vision theme of People First is really resonating – it’s touched on a raw nerve that many leaders have been feeling for a while now. In short, their investments in technology have outpaced their investment in people – and it’s time to mind that gap.”
One of the five pillars of their annual respected Vision report, which seeks to pinpoint the emerging IT developments that will have the greatest impact on companies, government agencies, and other organisations in the next three to five years, is one for which Paul’s shorthand formula is Digital Trust = Digital Ethics + Cyber Security.
In other words, trust is crucial at many levels, both in new technologies, the businesses that want to share or use data, and those such as digi.me, which has a deeper and more personal focus to enable others to do this, unlocking the power of personal information for each and every user. As he points out: “That’s why organizations need a new focus on cultivating trust among customers, employees, and partners – and this will differentiate those who get it right.”
Here at digi.me, trust in us and our product is crucial to our business vision – and we know we’re getting it right. We’ve been banging the Internet of Me drum for a while now, sponsoring and supporting an independent forum on what we firmly believe is a technological revolution that will transform the personal data economy (catch up with the most recent articles, including an interview with the legendary Doc Searls, here) for our business as well as many, many others. But the beauty of the movement is that we are far from alone. In fact, when it comes to trust and the need to return power over data to the person who made it in order to build it deeper and sooner for the benefit of all, we’re singing to the choir.
Here are just a selection of comments influential people in the tech world have made on the Internet of Me theme, which puts the user at the heart of their own connected world, in just the last few weeks:
Tim Cook, Apple CEO: “Over the arc of time, customers will move to people they trust with their data.”
Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO: “We need to afford the individual control. Users need to own their data, which they can examine, take it with them to other sites and vendors…”
Edith Ramirez, FTC head: “Consumers are going to be slow to take up these products if issues of privacy and security are of a concern.”
Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO: “Trust is a serious problem. The reality is that we all have to step up and get to another level of transparency and openness…The digital revolution needs a trust revolution.”
And it’s so obvious, so beautifully clear, that it barely needs explaining. But in short – the days of businesses telling users what they need and how they can have it are in their dying days. And rising in time with that is a new power to the people, that gives each and every one of us a new and potent choice – the right to choose who sees and who we trust with our data, whatever form that may take.