As businesses generate more of their revenue online, customer experiences are increasingly digital experiences. Mobile and web site customers have two core expectations:
- They want interactions to be fast, effortless, personalized, and engaging. They want to enjoy the experience.
- They want their data and transactions to be secure and their privacy protected. They want to trust the business that’s providing them with content and services.
Customers who are satisfied on both counts are more willing to share their data, which the business can then use to understand and serve them better, to customize offerings, and to engage them even more. However, customer data is extremely valuable and often sensitive, and online businesses are under constant threat of attack by hackers and cyber criminals intent on stealing it.
For a digital enterprise to thrive, it must seize the opportunity to innovate in delivering customer experiences and meet the imperative to keep those interactions secure. It must find the balance between digital experience and cybersecurity. The enterprise that does this well creates a virtuous circle of interaction with customers. The enterprise that fails faces a downward spiral of lost revenue, reputation, and trust.
To explore this critical and complex challenge, Akamai engaged Forrester Consulting to research how companies, especially the most digitally mature ones, address it. A survey of over 350 technology executives around the world and across industries found that most enterprises are struggling to achieve the necessary balance of innovative digital experiences and highly effective security. Yet those who succeed gain significant rewards.
Major Highlights from the Survey
Executives are aware that customer trust is critical to business success.
More than two-thirds believe that’s the case already, and more expect it to become so in the future.
Customer trust has declined to an all-time low.
Over one-third of executives feel their businesses have only a moderate level of trust from their customers.
Lack of trust is costly.
Mere suspicion about a company’s data use practices can cut online revenues by as much as 25%.
Security failures cause three-fold damage.
Revenues, brand reputation, and customer trust can all dramatically decline.
Companies recognize the danger of security breaches.
But many do not appreciate the connection between protecting customer data today and gaining revenue tomorrow.
Digital experience delivery focuses on speed and reliability.
But many firms fail to monitor real-time performance – what the customer is actually experiencing.
Differences by industry and geography stood out.
Respondents in Japan and U.K. lag in terms of customer trust. Healthcare industry respondents express the most concern about damage to brand and reputation. Commerce industry respondents and those in Germany cite the biggest challenges with their technology environments when to comes to delivering secure digital experiences.
Overall, companies struggle to balance security with digital experience.
Most executives report that their firms are stronger in maintaining security and weaker in delivering innovative digital experiences.
The most digitally mature companies reap the biggest rewards.
They report growth rates that outpace their competitors, more frequently reporting double-digit revenue growth.
How Digital Differentiators Thrive
Given the financial and reputational damage of a major breach, it's understandable that most companies prioritize digital security over digital experience. But by failing to strike the right balance, they miss business opportunities.
Forrester Consulting analyzed and segmented survey respondents based on an array of indicators of digital maturity. 15% of the companies are at the most mature level, termed "differentiators." These companies are often leaders in their industries, and 82% of differentiator respondents say they enjoy a high level of trust among customers.
When it comes to balancing experience and security, differentiators are more capable across the board. They are more cognizant of the potentially catastrophic impact of security breaches and of the fact that revenue is dependent upon securing customer data. They expend more effort optimizing and securing digital experiences and are more likely to monitor those experiences in real time.
Differentiators know that they must constantly evolve digital experiences and innovate to keep up with rising customer expectations. They understand that they must invest in digital experiences to drive future revenue, and they connect investment to revenue in order to stay ahead of the game. Only 16% report budgetary obstacles to executing digital strategy.
The differentiators achieve balance by putting customer data at the center of both digital experience and digital security strategies. Customer data informs new products, services, and experiences that drive business growth. And customer data is protected as though the company's future depends on it – which may well be the case.
To learn more about how to deliver engaging digital experiences that build customer trust, download the full report. Take this self-assessment to determine how well your company balances digital experience with digital security. To raise your digital maturity, you can take advantage of Akamai's cloud delivery platform to quickly, reliably, and securely deliver the digital experiences your customers value, enjoy, and trust.
Akamai is the world’s largest and most trusted cloud delivery platform. We handle up to 30% of Web traffic, across billions of devices, on behalf of top financial institutions, e-commerce leaders, media and entertainment providers, and government organizations. Based on this capacity and capability, we see firsthand what happens at the intersection of digital experience and digital security and how that impacts customer behavior and business success.
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