Big data is king but we don’t need to be servants

After several high-profile data breaches last year, consumers have come into 2023 with a renewed interest in exactly where their data is stored and what organisations are doing with it.

Click image to zoom Tap image to zoom

This sentiment has been rapidly growing over a number of years as the world has become increasingly digital and data has become king. In its 2021 Consumer Privacy Survey, Cisco found 86 per cent of respondents care about data privacy and want more control over how their data is collected. Similarly, in a February 2022 Global Consumer survey, Axway found 90 per cent of respondents wanted more transparency on the data companies collect about them.

“With consent regulations evolving globally, and an increased focus on customer privacy and control, organisations must carefully consider the data they collect and how it is used, particularly for personalisation.” - Danny Tyrrell, Co-founder of DataCo

However, on the flip side, consumers want the offerings they receive to be personalised to their needs and wants. In its “Next In Personalization” 2021 report, McKinsey & Co found 71 per cent of respondents “expect personalisation” from brands and businesses and 76 per cent “get frustrated” when this expectation is unmet.

As a result, companies today have a very fine line to tread: keeping customers’ trust through transparency and security while accessing enough information to maintain the high level of personalisation in ads, offers and products customers’ desire. This is not just a problem for the large corporations, it is a challenge faced by organisations big and small.

Corporate legal structures, enterprise partnerships, a cookie-less future and privacy legislation drive, and often limit, what corporate and government can do with the data they collect, what can be analysed, and what and how the data is shared.

In Australia, the Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, is currently reviewing the Privacy Act to determine the controls and penalties needed to limit the personal data companies hold from customers and for how long. While Australia awaits a revision, legislation overseas, particularly in the UK and Europe with GDPR, has organisations facing heightened responsibilities, obligations and reporting - all with greater consumer protection built in.


With consent regulations evolving globally, and an increased focus on customer privacy and control, organisations must carefully consider the data they collect and how it is used, particularly for personalisation. By partnering, organisations can deliver personalised offers and create new shared value but the question is how to do it in a way that doesn’t compromise the consumer.

ANZ searched for a solution to balance ongoing collaboration with strategic partners with the increasing customer demand for greater protection and control of their personal information. This solution needed to securely address concerns related to data breaches, ensure personal and sensitive data were never revealed, and ensure data use was always in line with customers' consent.

After an unsuccessful search to find a holistic solution, DataCo Technologies was formed out of the Ventures Lab of 1835i, ANZ’s external innovation and venture capital partner. The aim was to develop a secure platform that places privacy front and centre of every data interaction and collaboration.

With the recommendations of global privacy and data regulators top of mind, DataCo developed a platform that embraces the best in privacy and data protection techniques and technologies.

In our view, there are three critical areas for companies to preserve privacy at all times:

●      Safe and secure: Any data that leaves the confines of an organisation instantly creates an additional layer of risk. In the current environment, where concerns are heightened and multiple breaches have occurred, this is a step many companies are not willing to take. We see the key to minimising risk is adopting the latest and best in privacy enhancement and data protection, eliminating the need for sensitive data ever to be directly shared.

●      Latest consents: The latest consent regulations stipulate customers should always be in control of how their data is used, by whom, and for what purpose. Best practice requires businesses to ensure data collection is transparent, the purpose for collection is explained, and options to opt out or control the data being shared are provided. We encourage any organisation to review and optimise processes and procedures to remain compliant with evolving regulatory requirements.

●      Benefiting customers: Companies share and receive data from partners to explore commercial synergies or create complementary offers. However, this business case is not sufficient reason for individuals to consent to the use of their data. While there may be a strong business case, the additional questions organisations should be asking are: will the partnership sufficiently benefit the end user for them to grant consent? Will this partnership give them something that will really help them in this time of high cost of living? Or is it solely for the partner’s commercial advantage?

Click image to zoom Tap image to zoom

It goes without saying businesses should be doing everything possible to keep their customers' data safe, but, at the same time, they need to continue innovating to best serve their customers. We believe considering and implementing these three critical areas will help organisations deliver on their promise of privacy preservation and still meet the expectations of their customers.

Danny Tyrrell is Co-founder of DataCo

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

editor's picks

17 Feb 2023

Digital payment disruption continues in retail

Philippa Campbell | Head of Transaction Banking Australia & PNG

The evolution of digital payments is accelerating in retail and customers are demanding more. Businesses must change too if they are to capture the benefits.

12 Jan 2023

A small business with big data insights

Tarek Bazley | content editor and communications manager, ANZ New Zealand

ANZ has acquired the data company DOT Loves Data in a move to bring valuable data to an assortment of business customers.