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Australian tech sector struggles with balancing data security & personalisation
Fri, 1st Dec 2023

The technology sector is entering a challenging period, as a recent Australian report suggests corporations are grappling to strike a balance between consumers' data security and the demand for personalised service. The Great Tech-Spectations Mind the Gap Report was launched at the Ivy Penthouse in Sydney, attended by 140 key figures from the Australian tech industry.

Versent, an Australian technology firm, drafted the report, revealing that the tech sector's focus on enhancing technological solutions in a business-as-usual manner is having a damaging effect on consumer trust and brand reputation. Versent was recently acquired by Telstra Purple.

Kate Wellard, Versent Chief Marketing Officer, spoke at the launch, emphasising the enormous gap currently existing between Australian consumers' expectations and the actual output of businesses and government agencies. According to the report, over 90% of Australians are content to share behavioural data for personalised experiences. However, over 80% have concerns about data security, and a further 2.1 million Australians have a pronounced fear of AI.

Wellard outlined some of the findings from the report: "These are some staggering results. There is a notable gap between what Australian consumers want and expect from technology, and what business and government in Australia are delivering."

The report assessed several companies across ten different industries, with consumers giving an average rating of 7 out of 10. Wellard suggested that these scores reveal a level of frustration with the technology consumers must use. This she describes as a significant risk for businesses.

A monumental challenge centres around the juxtaposition of consumers' yearning for personalised service and buffered systems against their valid concerns about data security. With 85% of people concerned about their data being at risk—54% worried and 31% very worried—security ranks as the primary tech-related anxiety for people.

"The almost weekly media stories about data breaches and cybersecurity issues certainly aren't helping consumer confidence or building trust with brands," added Wellard.

The report also stressed the importance of improving workplace technology. Particularly within large companies and public sector workers, there was a clear call for employers to invest. When rating their job's technology against expectations, employees from SMEs and medium-sized companies rated their tech at 7.1 out of 10, while large companies scored 6.8 and the public sector lagged behind with a score of 6.6 out of 10.

While Australia's technology sector, worth $200 billion, is rapidly expanding, 30% or 6.1 million Australians claim that technological advancements over the past two years have not improved their interactions with companies and government bodies.