Data Breach – 10 customer expectations

The elevator pitch for the new economy is that “data is the new oil”. Data lakes are forming faster than the lakes formed by melting glaciers. As for the latter, I’d rather the glaciers don’t melt!

Database products and analytics tools that power concepts like data lakes are flourishing. They are increasingly getting powerful features that a modern enterprise needs. If you are not playing the data game, you will be left behind, they say! 

In the ‘bad old days’ powered by oil, there were the inevitable oil spills. They spoilt natural habits, and this information was often covered up. The big spills got into the limelight mainly because videos, satellite imagery and other tools made them difficult to stay hidden. The second-order effects also got noticed, and the regulators wrapped some knuckles, even if a bit gently.

The modern equivalent of the oil spill is the data breach. Not a day passes by without some story about a data breach or leakage. It is troubling that the number of records per breach is sometimes in the millions, and we seem to not even blink an eye. Every record contains a name or a number or email at least; sometimes a lot more!

Continue reading “Data Breach – 10 customer expectations”

Customer Experience from an ESG perspective

This moment in time is an opportunity to reiterate the drive towards sustainable brand experiences. ESG, global commitments and most of all, new safety expectations and digital transformation have created a broad canvas for customer experience.

Mark Hillary and I discussed this for his CX Files podcast. You can choose either of the the formats to hear the conversation

A Farmer’s Information and Technology Experience

The brief : Is there potential for technology to play a role in assisting farmers?
The first step was to study existing solutions and services. The initial task of finding these services was substantially more difficult than anticipated though eventually the coverage seemed reasonably comprehensive.
More than 110 different applications/services in more than 20 countries are the focus of this desk research. The countries include Bangladesh, Cameroon, Chile, China, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Zambia and more.
The operational areas of these various apps can be summarised to :

  • Advisory and Value Added Services
  • Agriculture Information and News
  • Agriculture Query Knowledge-base
  • Animal Treatment, Vaccination trackers and Animal Health
  • Buy/Sell Crops and Fertilizers
  • Weather Information
  • Crop Management Information and Tools
  • Digital Scale
  • Earth Observation and Techniques
  • Resource Planning for larger farms
  • eVouchers, Mobile Payment
  • Fertilizers, seeds and Fruit Information
  • Land Shape, Size and Maps
  • Market Information, Data Trends, Prices
  • Messaging/Email and Photos
  • Financial Services
  • Mobile Money Credit Delivery solution
  • Agronomic Solutions
  • Supply Chain Advisory Information, Payments and Financial Serices
  • Video Library
  • Voice Helpline
  • And many more

These applications are available on diverse platforms

  • Type   : Number of Applications
  • SMS      43
  • Voice    17
  • IVRS     11
  • USSD    04
  • Web      17
  • Mobile Apps  23
  • Kiosks   02

Eventually one seeks to understand all this from the perspective of various types of farmers and the complete agricultural ecosystem. For now consider all this keeping the farmer who has a small to medium holding in mind.
As you mull over the seemingly comprehensive operational areas and platforms, consider the first issue that cropped up almost immediately at the start of the study. How do we find these applications and services?
Discoverability : Suppose the farmer wants such applications to improve productivity, they would have a tough time finding them with their available knowledge/device. It is fairly apparent that beyond the initial introduction coverage of these applications, most have not followed a consistent outreach programme within the farmer community.
Do you trust the weather information on your phone and take crucial business decisions basis this information? Or do you seek out other experts as well?
Who is the expert you seek out for other important decisions. Is it an app, a technology solution or a person?
Assuming that the farmer did sign up or install some of these services, would they have trust in the information provided.
Information Quality – A parallel research in India found limited trust in the information that was delivered by most services. The farmer would rather trust the local community than an unknown application that delivered information from a source the farmer knew nothing about. Can this be improved?
There is relatively low confidence in SMS and yet there are as many as 43 applications that deliver information on SMS. This eventually is a continuing cause of low trust in the information provided.
A related question that emerged, do these applications and services assume the farmer is simply an information receiver/consumer with limited expertise of their own?
Should the farmer not be empowered to create and manage information the way they choose best? How can technology help and specifically how these application improve their outreach and deliver on this premise.
Integration or the lack of it?
If the farmer is part of an ecosystem within the local and larger community then should the applications not be talking/sharing data? Initial study has revealed that most applications seem to be stand alone and thus limiting their potential.
Most applications focused on information delivery by SMS or voice services. Could this be because it was assumed that the devices on offer would be fairly basic? Perhaps yes but looking further ahead provides for an interesting scenario. The continued gains of the Android platform plus the enhancements of the Nokia Asha platform provide a new perspective on capability of the entry level devices in the very near future.
In India, there are more than 35 mobile devices from various companies in a price range of 30 Euros to 90 Euros. The form factors are equally diverse and range from feature phones to phablets, smartphones and tablets. Some 7 inch tablets even have calling capability and cost about Rs 5000 or approximately 66 Euros. Perhaps a similar market situation exists in African countries as well.
While the study continues there are enough indicators that point to a need for forward thinking about solutions, devices, ecosystems with the farmer at the centre of this discussion.
In other words, A Farmer’s Information and Technology Experience needs to be detailed.
The purely technology framework discussion would need to consider the following amongst many others in an integrated manner

  • People within the Ecosystem
  • Information Design and Content
  • Information Delivery
  • Payments Mechanisms
  • Partner Ecosystem
  • Data Management, Analytics
  • Devices and Technology
  • Organisational Stakeholders if any.

Ongoing discussions will seek to define these aspects in light of insights gained from the desk research, field visits that seek to understand the ecosystem in greater detail. Please do share your thoughts on this note.
To continue this theme :
Value proposition, and value delivery in emerging markets through trust
Reaching rural communities in emerging markets: Ecosystems, people, and pipelines
Contextualized Information Empowering the Farmer
Trust in SMS
The All-Important Personal Relationship

Automotive Companies – The Advertising and CSR Difference

Each time I feel the pain, I am reminded of an episode ten years back that has never been recorded as a statistic. The driver who accelerates sharply, swerves, breaks a light is a common enough sight in our cities.

What is not recorded often enough are the ’small incidents’ where someone is injured. They are advised rest for a few days or weeks and apparently life can go back to normal. Frankly, for a lot of people it never does. Something does change and those changes manifest themselves even more as the person gets older.
There is enough that has been said and written about the lack of infrastructure on our roads, bad designs and so on. I want to take this opportunity to highlight the role of automotive companies in this entire saga. After all, a vehicle is involved in such an episode. The darker ones make it to national news and headlines but most such episodes are not even recorded.
The first step in understanding what the automotive company talks about in safety is obvious. They talk about the safety features built in their cars. It is more a defensive measure, in the event of an episode, that assures vehicle occupants how they can expect safety. There are a large number of occupants of these vehicles who are responsible for such episodes due to actions that can at best be considered aggressive.

To better understand this, we started a study to see if there is any work being done by companies to promote safety practices. The corporate social responsibility study is at an early stage, and we have completed scanning the websites of thirty one car companies. After the initial web assessment, I plan to reach out to all car companies and understand their perspective on this issue. Even at this stage, there are some clear pointers that I would like to highlight.

Initiatives vary from company to company, and in almost all cases it seems they are implemented in areas where the company has a presence in the form of a manufacturing unit, office etc. Twenty-three companies have outlined corporate social responsibility initiatives and these have, for the moment, been summarised as follows:

  • Rural Development
  • Health care
  • Education
  • Community Development
  • Vocational Training
  • Environment
  • Women Empowerment
  • Road Safety
  • Traffic related activities
  • Safety or Training Related

Company Initiatives

Automotive companies and Safety Initiatives

Eleven companies have worked on road safety, traffic-related activities, etc., and of these five companies have initiated activities in India. Some of the pointers are global examples sourced from websites and need ratification and detailing.


Nissan focuses on traffic safety education and have worked mostly in Korea, China and Middle East. The following is an overview.

  • Hello Safety ““ This campaign reaches out to children and their guardians, senior citizens and uses picture cards to communicate the ”proper use of seatbelts and child safety seats in all seats of the vehicle,“ ”traffic safety education to raise awareness of dangers in daily life and ways to avoid them“ and ”eradicating drunk driving.“
  • ”Be Safe with Nissan“ – Nissan Middle East FZE produced a booklet to help children learn about safety on the road in a fun engaging manner. There is a website for this programme.
  • Safe Driving Forum ““ A program to improve drivers’ skills and safety awareness, in cooperation with the China Road Traffic Safety Association. Programmes on learning braking, cornering and other driving techniques from qualified instructors, contributing to deeper understanding of traffic safety. Programs for eco-driving skills were also included.


Toyota has been actively engaged in traffic safety activities which includes safe-driving courses for drivers and traffic safety education for children.

The company has also worked to increase safety awareness of everyone using streets and roadways, including drivers, passengers and pedestrians.Some of their recent activities in Japan are ”Traffic Safety for the Elderly,“ ”Let’s Make Bicycle Safety Maps!“, ”Traffic-Safety Web Site for Kids,“ ”Safety School for Parents and Children“ and Toyota Driver Communication.

  • In India Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has initiated theToyota Safety Education Program (TSEP) to educate children on basic road safety procedures and to create a sense of road safety amongst children aged between 6 and 12. The program was held in Bangalore, where TKM is located, and spread to Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata. 103,447 school children had participated.
  • Let’s Make Bicycle Safety Maps! – Toyota produced the Internet program”Let’s Make a Bicycle Safety Map“ for students in the upper grades of elementary school, with the aim of”reducing bicycle accidents.“With use of both a program on the Kodomobilita Web site and Google Maps (a web mapping service), students create a safety map of the local area by marking places that they felt were dangerous for cyclists or where the students had themselves felt unsafe. The aim is for the participants to gain a better awareness of traffic safety through discussion and information sharing.
  • Traffic Safety for the Elderly ““ Approximately 800,000 copies of an educational leaflet were distributed to customers who visited dealers nationwide.
  • Driver Communication ““ This program was aimed at reducing the number of driver errors At the Toyota Education center drivers learn and safely experience the performance of vehicles at their limits through such exercises as high-speed emergency braking and driving and braking on a slick road surface.


As part of their Social Projects, BMW group focuses on Traffic Safety and activities include ”Children in Traffic,“ ”Safe on the Street,“ ”School Route Maps for Primary School Children,“ ”Safely to School,“ ”Schools Environmental Education Development,“ ”BMW Welt Junior Campus,“ ”Educational Museum Program at the BMW Museum“ and ”Traffic Safety Education Programme.“ The projects were implemented in Mexico, Argentina, China, UK and there are brochures for these activities.

  • School Route Maps ““ Together with the Traffic Safety and District Administration Department of the City of Munich, the BMW Group devised a ”School Route Maps“ campaign. Partners included, parent-teacher associations, accident insurance companies and the police. As part of the campaign, all first-year pupils are given a school route map to get them safely to school and home again. The maps show particular danger points and recommendations for a safe, accident-free walk to school, all individually tailored to the child.
  • Safely to School ““ The idea of the project was to accompany groups of up to eight first and second year pupils on their route to school and to familiarise them with the traffic. The children get to take turns to be ”Jim Knopf“ and lead the group under the supervision of an adult. Jim Knopf is the hero in a series of German children’s books.
  • Children and Traffic ““ Traffic Education in the Paediatric Practice ““ Children rely on adults as role models to provide guidance and support in road traffic situations. Paediatricians can play a very useful role here. The folder entitled ”Children and Traffic“ contains important information on developing a healthy road sense for those working in child medicine. The materials also support the accident prevention work carried out by parents. The traffic awareness folder has also proven to be an effective tool for teachers and teaching assistants.
  • ”Safe on the Street“ Online Website ““ BMW Group UK has developed a traffic safety programme in association with education experts, for use with children aged between 7 and 11. It also received the International Visual Communications (IVCA) Gold Award in 2003 for being particularly user-friendly (especially for disabled users) and for its innovative design.
  • Traffic School for Children – A traffic school for children between the ages of two and six is regularly held at BMW Welt in Munich. They are taught the basic rules and potential risks of road traffic. The children can then turn their theoretical knowledge into practice on a special bike course. This teaches the children that it not only makes sense to stick to the traffic rules, but that it can be fun too. At the end of the course, each child taking part receives their own junior driving licence.

Maruti Suzuki 

Maruti Suzuki’s Road Safety initiatives include ”Training in Safe Driving,“ ”Road Safety Awareness Among School Children,“ ”Institutes of Driving and Traffic Research (IDTR)“ and ”Maruti Driving Schools“ (MDS).

PSA Peugeot Citroën

PSA Peugeot Citroën work is focused on Road Safety & Urban Mobility. As part of urban mobility focus is on smoother traffic flows, maintaining quality of life in city and promoting access to mobility.

  • Road safety initiatives such as enhancing vehicle performance to avoid accidents (primary safety), continuing work to protect vehicle occupants and pedestrians in the event of impact (secondary safety), deploying the emergency call system (alert and call-out of emergency services).
  • Promoting better behavior behind the wheel, contributing to improving interaction between the vehicle and infrastructure to limit accidents and their consequences. Road safety campaigns were carried out in China and Latin America.

Hyundai Motors

Hyundai Motors has two initiatives, Traffic Squad and Hyundai Driving Schools.

  • Traffic Squad: Students Traffic Volunteer Scholarship Scheme is an initiative by HMIF to sponsor the “˜economically backward’ college students and also help in managing traffic better. A group of carefully chosen students, after proper training by the local traffic police, work as traffic marshals at busy intersections in conjunction with the traffic police to control and manage traffic. This is running in the cities of New Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.


Renault as part of Road Safety initiative has undertaken initiatives such as ”Promoting safety with Renault’s expert knowledge,“ ”Renault Mobility Policy to prevent, correct, protect and inform,“ ”Expert knowledge of accident analysis and road safety deployed worldwide“ and E-Safety: Europe’s drive for road safety.


As part of Environment, Ford India had undertaken initiative of Education on Road Safety in Chennai, India. Ford International also has initiatives such as ”The Ford Driving Skills for Life program“ in USA which is focused on educating school children on road safety.

Ashok Leyland

The company has started Truck Driver Training Center in Tamil Nadu, India. The curriculum focuses on the road and off the road aspects, over 1 lakh drivers have been trained so far under various courses. They have set up a Driver Training Institute in Burari“š near Delhi“š in partnership with the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Hero Honda

Hero Honda seems to be the only two wheeler company which has initiatives on Road Safety. Their programme ”BE A HERO HONDA GOOD RIDER“ focuses on Bike Education, Road safety, Driving Skills, Health & Environment and Social responsibility etc. All these programs have a list of Do’s and Don’ts in common/uncommon situations. They also have a product information safety module which gives information on various bike parts.


CEAT does not have CSR information on their site. They have initiated ”Be Idiot Safe“ programme. There is a separate website dedicated to this . The website features information on people who violate traffic and safety rules. The website also features real life traffic and safety violation examples in form of videos and pictures added by people.

What do you think of automotive advertising in India?

Advertising and communication will generally take the credit when it comes to success of a product. There are many successful products in the country in the automotive sector. So the question is can advertising and communication be responsible for some of the negative episodes of traffic in our country? I have been searching for relevant advertising guidelines for the Indian automotive industry.
For now, I do not have access to them and will be following up with the revelant industry body. I have, however, come across a presentation that details the deliberations of the Canadian companies etc. These points, taken from their presentation, are indicative and served as a guideline while viewing the ads.

Advertisements must not display a disregard for safety by depicting situations that might reasonably be interpreted as encouraging unsafe or dangerous practices, or acts
Does the depiction of the performance, power or acceleration of the vehicle convey the impression that it is acceptable to exceed speed limits?
Does the depiction of a vehicle?’s handling ability involve potentially unsafe actions such as cutting in and out of traffic, excessively aggressive driving, or car chases in a residential setting?
Would it be reasonable to interpret the depicted situation as condoning or encouraging unsafe driving practices?
Does the depiction appear realistic or does it appear to be unreal as in a fantasy-like scenario that in unlikely to be copied or emulated in real life?
Does the depiction of racing and rallies, and of other competition environments, taking into consideration the advertisement as a whole including visual ( both images and text ) and audio messages convey the impression that production automobiles could be driving like racing or competition automobiles on a public roadway.
Is the advertisement encouraging or endorsing automobile use that is aggressive, violent or injurious towards other road users or that denigrates or disparages cautious behavior when using an automobile.
So how have some of the companies performed with regard to safe practices in advertising? The following highlights the number of unsafe driving ads for each company.

Here is another thought: If celebrity sells vehicles, what about unsafe driving habits?

Or perhaps this ad, where the celebrity’s stunt endangers the crowd.
Should the Advertising Standards Council of India not be taking note of this?
If you have more information on this or any other input, please do share. I will, also be adding more information on the companies listed here as well as add information on other companies.