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A new frontier in smart technologies: digital ethics

  • Posted on March 2, 2016

Digital Ethics

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Dan O'Hara. 

Every company today is a digital business operating in a digital economy – and competition for customers as well as workforce talent has never been greater. In order to engage today’s digital customer and compete effectively in a global market, companies are increasingly relying on smart technologies that perform tasks traditionally done by humans – freeing up human talent to focus on higher-order tasks, like data analysis or problem solving.

As enterprise reliance on smart technology increases, many traditional jobs will be re-purposed. Avanade’s research on the future of the digital workplace shows that global business leaders believe that smart technologies will trigger dramatic shifts in the way we work, and the type of work we do. However, while some roles may disappear or become digitized, new roles and skills will be required – chief among them “digital ethics” officers who will establish and maintain digital ethics parameters for their organizations in this new era of smart technologies.

From Internet banking to purchasing shoes or tickets online, there is a trust equation between the modern consumer and the digital businesses they interact with. The widespread use of smart technologies is enabling organizations to collect, store and analyze unprecedented amounts of customer data – yet companies have an obligation to their customers to use that data responsibly and judiciously. In order to maintain the trust of customers and other stakeholders, it is no longer enough for organizations to fulfill compliance and security obligations; they must move toward implementing a digital ethics framework that defines not only how a company innovates and does business with its customers, but also how employee information is used and managed.

On this point, there is strong consensus within the global business community; our research indicates that 92 percent of business leaders believe that as workplaces continue to blend employees and smart technologies, companies will need to establish and adhere to digital ethics guidelines to be successful. They are putting their money where their mouth is, with 84 percent of organizations planning to invest increased resources toward addressing ethical dilemmas created by the increased use of smart technologies in the next five years.

Successful organizations will be those that take steps now to address the ethical issues that smart technologies will inevitably create.

To learn more about our research, visit www.avanade.com/smarttech.

Mary Anne Ryan

Has any research been done on the ethical issues pertaining to the use of smart phone apps for educational purposes

March 16, 2016

Dan O'Hara

Ethical issues in education add an interesting twist. Our research didn't cover that issue but I am sure others have.

March 17, 2016

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