In 1968, the German patent office received a patent request from Telefunken, a radio and electronics company. The invention: a trackball controller. Or what we nowadays would refer to as a mouse. Compared to today’s sleek, ergonomic designs and track pads, it was clunky and unwieldy. But in 1968, it was an innovative way to navigate across computer screens. The German patent office disagreed. It rejected the controller on the grounds that its use of an already existing technology, the trackball, lacked ingenuity and novelty. In the 1980s, Apple released its first trackball mouse. The rest is history.
Hindsight is always 20/20. It’s easy to look back on this missed opportunity and recognise it as such. However, when confronted with similar opportunities, many companies are still making the same mistakes. Instead of integrating innovative technologies and tools, they are relying on outdated processes and devices to manoeuvre through completely new territory. We cannot continue to respond to the digital transformation with analogue tools.
A History of missed opportunities
In 1996, one year before the world had ever heard of Google, MetaGer was one of the first search engines to go online. With the dawn of the Internet, the company had recognised real and problematic hurdles to searching the world wide web for information. It was nearly impossible to find what you were looking for without using multiple search tools. So, relying on the data centres of the University of Hannover, MetaGer launched its search engine and became one of the favourites among Internet users in Germany. That is, until it got some unwanted attention for using up one-third of the university’s data traffic. A lack of grants and subsidies forced MetaGer to turn to donors for financing. By the early 2000s, Google had already weaved its way onto home, university and of course administrative computers across Germany.
Google has since taken the lead when it comes to using valuable accumulated user data to turn a (tremendous!) profit. What was a real opportunity to create a viable European competitor in the search engine domain became a cautionary tale about the risks of missed opportunities. Not only could Germany and Europe have designed digital tools that were more aligned with their data privacy standards; they also could have curbed the complete and now nearly insurmountable monopolisation of the digital industry by a handful of behemoth corporations.
Using customer data for good
Today, it’s just as easy to miss out on a golden opportunity. That said, it’s also much easier to stay in the game as a competitive provider of digital products and services. This is especially true for companies that are committed to their customers. Because customers who feel valued and whose needs are being accommodated reward companies with their trust, loyalty and data.
Most companies realise that data is gold. However, many still aren’t sure how to use it to their, and most importantly, their customers’ advantage. That’s where customer identity and access management (CIAM) comes in. CIAM tools are redefining the digital customer experience. They are making it possible for companies to merge the scalability and legal compliance essential to successful business operations with the security and top-notch experience that customers demand. How do they do this?
How does CIAM work?
We create a unique digital identity whenever we create a digital account, be it on social media or with our favourite retailer. All of the data we provide about ourselves (name, postal address, email address, age, etc.) and all of the accumulated data (clothing size, past purchases, likes, etc.) are stored under this unique digital identity. When a company implements CIAM software, it can aggregate this data and use algorithms to personalise our user experience.
What does that mean? Companies can recommend products that reflect your interests. They can tell you what size would most likely be your best fit. They can design a singular experience based on your tastes and preferences. And what makes the system so appealing to customers and businesses alike is that the customers have the final say on what data they share and what information is shown to them.
The ultimate result is a co-curated user experience and wholly satisfied customers.
Benefits of CIAM
As more and more competitors have begun to emerge in already saturated markets, successful businesses have realised that they can set themselves apart by creating an unmatchable customer experience. That means personalised services, data autonomy, convenience and security. It is essential that none of these factors is sacrificed at the expense of another.
What does that mean? Having the highest level of security for sensitive data is tantamount to gaining and maintaining customer trust and loyalty. However, you've gone too far when your login and data access protocols are so convoluted that customers can’t access a basic user account.
This is one of the main benefits of CIAM. It lets you integrate security features and adjust them based on the level of data sensitivity. Data that should be handled with the utmost discretion – like banking, health and credit card information – can be protected with stronger security protocols, including passwordless biometric identification and multi-factor authentication (MFA). Less sensitive data – like personal preferences, previous orders, etc. – can be protected with a standard password or accessed using a social login (through a social media or email account).
Beyond this significant advantage in terms of safety and security, CIAM places an enormous amount of power into the hands of your customers. Integrated self-service tools make it easy to check on an order status, update personal information, and track shipments and deliveries. Moreover, CIAM is a smart solution that is accessible across all mobile and desktop devices. That means your customers can stay up-to-date anytime and anywhere.
Don’t miss the boat!
There are plenty of companies still on the fence when it comes to CIAM. But as history has shown us, waiting to get started only gives your competitors a chance to get ahead. Customers are getting savvier when it comes to technology, and they also are more aware than ever of what they want and expect from their online experiences. If you cannot give them the comfort, convenience and security they demand, the next competitor on the market will be.
Nevis’ CIAM tools make security an experience. Built with customer satisfaction, top-of-the-line functionality and easy integration in mind, it guarantees both ease of use and safety for your customers and their data. Let us help you put your customers first and ensure that your product and services remain irreplaceable.