Privacy issues and cost concerns derail tech’s progress the most

Privacy issues and cost concerns derail tech’s progress the most

In the recent KPMG 2012 Technology Innovation Survey, we identified privacy issues and cost concerns as the top barriers to commercialising disruptive technology innovations. Specifically, transparency and privacy issues were named by 40% of respondents as the highest hurdles getting in the way of tech advances in the corporate world.

This is the constant balancing act that organisations need to deal with. While we are encouraging and incentivising people to be more innovative, we need to be mindful of not compromising the security and privacy of the data that we hold in our organisations.

With the advent of “big data”, this situation is getting worse. Respondents from large enterprises are also more inclined to rank security as a priority issue.

Roadblocks limiting the uptake of new consumer technologies

With consumers sharing more and more data online and via their mobile devices, concerns over security and privacy are a given – though it is unlikely these worries outweigh the advantages of being always connected and accessing a new array of services and products. As cloud and mobile business models continue to change, transparency from vendors is essential to maintaining customer trust and loyalty in the consumer and enterprise markets.

In South Africa, we’re eagerly anticipating the enactment of the Protection of Personal Information bill. Once this is in place, South African organisations will need to have formal measures in place to protect customer and employee private information.

While this can be seen as yet another obstacle to overcome, I prefer to think of this as an opportunity for even more innovation. If you can show how your innovative idea will benefit customers and/or employees, they may be willing to forgo some privacy requirements.

Expect to see new developments in privacy and security solutions

We asked this exact question in a South African Information Security survey a number of years ago. I was quite surprised to see just how many respondents replied that they would happily give up some privacy requirements as long as they get a direct or indirect benefit.

If I look at the geographical breakdown of the barriers to commercialising disruptive technology innovations, it’s interesting to note that the EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) respondents rated “funding/access to capital” above “security/privacy” concerns. Maybe we are better in our region at understanding the security and privacy issues and incorporating these into new innovative products and services.

At a global level, pricing was the biggest challenge listed (45%) for consumers to adopt cloud and mobile technologies in the next three years, out-distancing privacy and transparency concerns named by 40%. Public and private sector will need to continue balancing the attractiveness and cost of new technology innovations with the need for security and privacy of consumer data.


The KPMG 2012 Technology Innovation survey identifies disruptive technologies in consumer and enterprise markets over the next four years and spots leading innovation markets and innovation management trends in the technology industry. 668 technology executives took part in the survey, representing the top 10 countries driving technology innovation. The mix included technology startups, mid-market enterprises, large technology companies, venture capital firms and angel investors.

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About Frank Rizzo

I have been involved in the Information technology industry for over 20 years. Over this time, Technology has changed the way we live and the way we work. The pace of change in this industry has accelerated further and I am excited about the new innovations and inventions that Technology is bringing to business. My focus is to help our clients understand how Technology can be used to improve current business models and how Technology is opening up new business opportunities for our clients. I look forward to your comments and views on this exciting industry.

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  1. KPMG 2012 Technology Innovation Survey - KPMG South Africa Blog - July 1, 2013

    […] the recent KPMG 2012 Technology Innovation Survey, we identified privacy issues and cost concerns as the top barriers to commercialising disruptive […]

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