“What do I replace ‘the man from the Pru’ with?” asked Neil Chapman, SVP and MD International at ForgeRock, at a keynote presented at the inaugural U.K. CDO Summit at the BBC in London, England, on October 29, 2014.
“The man from the Pru,’” the classic tag line from Prudential, is not simply one of the insurance industry’s best-known mascots, but also a very real symbol of the divide between the legacy that built an organization and the digital future that awaits it.
At one time, insurance agents would visit customers in their home and, over a cup of tea, discuss the very personal issue of life insurance.
How can organizations today replicate that kind of personal engagement with their customers, at-scale, and with the added challenge of multiple new channels?
Chapman and ForgeRock have proposed a solution: customer identity. Working with clients in the insurance, digital government, and telecommunications industries, ForgeRock created a platform which today supports over half a billion identities for some of the world’s largest and most trusted brands.
“We put the ‘my’ into many of the world’s digital brands,” Chapman said.
He asked customers such as Thomson Reuters, Toyota, and Zalando what they will need to succeed in tomorrow’s market. The bottom line: scalable, quick, customer-centric applications and services, personalized for users and responsive to context.
“Why should Chief Digital Officers care about identity?” asked Chapman. “You should care because…identity is really a fundamental backbone that either can be a huge enabler in a digital transformation or can really encumber and hold you back.”
The Legacy Problem
“The biggest elephant in the room is legacy,” Chapman declared.
An outdated identity management infrastructure built on poorly integrated tech will prevent identity at scale and, ultimately, doom any hope of digital transformation.
“In pretty much every industry that we work with customers in, we find the same divisions and silos and parts of the business not talking to one another,” Chapman explained—“therefore hobbling their ability to give the customers of those organizations the kind of personalized, differentiated, positive digital experience that they deserve.”
When faced with such monumental change, Chapman advised, “Don’t try to boil the ocean!
“Choose one achievable thing that you can do and execute in three months. That makes a measurable difference for your customers – go ahead and do it.”
Watch Neil Chapman’s Keynote below:
For decades, many large enterprises set specific series of rules and policies that governed all interactions with customers.
“Today’s massively distributed, converged world is simply not fit for [that] purpose,” Chapman concluded.
While “the man from the Pru’” only had to deal with one household at a time, large organizations today have to interact with thousands of employees, millions of customers, and tens or even hundreds of millions of potential customers across an average of three devices each.
Context awareness, enabled through identity, is the best way to personalize experiences and build trust at this scale. Factors such as the physical location, typical behavior, and apparent goal of the customer all determine the context of an interaction.
“What context enables an enterprise or brand to do is to really personalize an experience while building trust,” Chapman explained.
The opportunity for personalization can also come with a risk to privacy that the CDO, CIO, and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) should be aware of.
“It is important to ensure that whilst we execute on this agile, fast-moving, fast-paced, customer-centric, customer-driven evolution,” Chapman noted, “we don’t do it at the cost of the trust and the security of our customers’ data.”
Replacing “The Man from the Pru’”
Today, a single digital platform enabling identity across any device can do a better job of building relationships than an army of tea teetotaling insurance salespeople, especially considering global reach and scale. Every Chief Digital Officer, CIO, and CISO should ensure that their legacy processes do not prevent the effective use of identity—a key ingredient in digital transformation.
“If you can build a really genuine trusted relationship between an enterprise, a brand, and your customers, and if you can then surprise, positively, with personalization,” Chapman remarked, “and if you can make that person’s life in some meaningful way improved by using the things you know and learned about them in your interactions with them, then you can build exactly the same kinds of sticky, high-margin, high-valued emotional relationships between your brand and your customers that built your brand in the first place.”
– By Andrzej Sienko
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