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  • Writer's pictureDave Westlake

Going “Green”, Digital Disruption, and a Perfect Beach Body…

Original Post: May 15, 2017

Jannes du Plooy

…everyone wants them, but no one wants to work to get them. 

At one point in my life I led a thriving document management services company. One question which many companies used as a qualifier prior to engaging our services was “how are you going to help us ‘go green’?” Initially, my answer was "remanufactured cartridges and recycled paper"—a response that was almost universally rejected. Subsequently, I initiated the “green” discussion and confirmed our clients’ intentions regarding generic cartridges and recycled paper…and the question of “going green” was never brought up again. Ultimately, they were more interested in talking about going green than they were in doing something about it.

Similarly, today it seems that everyone is talking about digitization and disruption. To that end, it is generally accepted that the word “disruptive” is followed by “technology.” My view is that the decision to change is actually the disruptive part; technology is merely the tool facilitating disruption. I believe this holds true for all major disruptions throughout history, just as it holds true today for digitization. Digitization of a process is not disruptive. It is simply business process improvement.

By extension, I believe this also applies to other hot topics like GDPR in Europe, HIPAA in the US, and protection of personal information everywhere. We hear foreboding projections and read dire warnings about our readiness (or lack thereof) for the market to protect consumer data, but most people are still on the sidelines, waiting for a “technology disruption.” And while we wait, threats persist… 

Do we want to trust one organization to protect 5 million…10 million…hundreds of millions of customers’ personal data? Objectively speaking, that sounds absurd—it concentrates the risk to one very focused target of opportunity and makes it more dangerous for us all, regardless of encryption protocol. If you really want to disrupt how personal data is secured, I say give it back. That is, give the consumers’ personal data back and let us all protect our own information. Now that’s disruptive – it lowers the risk of being in business, it eliminates the illegal gathering and resale of personal information for “lead generation,” all while simultaneously making it nearly impossible for one data breach to compromise millions of personal records, and the company can still view the data whenever they need to. 

Could it work? Of course it could…but just like “going green,” digital disruption, or having that perfect beach body: only if we’re willing to do more than just dream about it. Ask me how.....

Article originally published by Jannes du Plooy on LinkedIn.


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