How can we put the principles of the manifesto into practice? In the sixth episode in a series, Eelco van Dijk of the Volksbank shows how his company expresses the principle of ‘control’.
Being able to control who uses which parts of your data: that is the essence of the principle of control. The manifesto says: “Data and technology should contribute to the freedom of people. Data are meant to serve the people. To be used as seen fit by people to benefit their lives, to gather information, develop knowledge, find room to organize themselves.”
Led by Eelco van Dijk, the Volksbank developed a vision for data in line with the strategy of the organization that includes SNS and ASN Bank. “The human factor is the recurring theme in our whole strategy. As it stands now, the shareholder is only one of the parties for which we create value. Customers, society and employees are the other three, and they are just as important.”
Were you familiar with the Tada manifesto?
“Really only since I was invited to Acts of the Region. It was so familiar when I read it; most of the elements from the manifesto align seamlessly with what we are working on here at the bank. The human factor is the recurring theme in our whole strategy. As it stands now, the shareholder is only one of the parties for which we create value. Customers, society and employees are the other three, and they are just as important.”
Handling data with care
So what is that vision for data exactly? “We acknowledge the value of data in helping us improve processes and services, so we can become more relevant to our customers. That arises from the fact that we want to give customers control of their data. With our vision for data, we can show the outside world that we handle data with care,” Van Dijk states.
In practice, the Volksbank vision for data means that customers should be given control of their data. They are currently working hard to implement that vision. The company is collaborating with a startup called Schluss to develop proofs of concept.
Van Dijk: “The philosophy at Schluss is that a person should have complete control of their own personal data. They are developing an app for that purpose. We hope that our customers will be able to use that app, which is completely separate from our bank, to regulate who they share their data with. If they want to arrange a mortgage with us, they can decide at that point to let us see information like their income and their employer’s statement. We hope that we will have the opportunity soon to put that control function into practice for our customers.”
Unclear data flows
To develop the vision statement, input was requested from throughout the company: the IT department, but also sales and the legal department. It is widely supported, in other words. “But when you map out a framework, you always have gray areas and unfinished edges, so we’re also obviously encountering unresolved issues that need to be discussed. For instance, it is a lot more challenging to develop new business models,” Van Dijk explains.
“One of the things that follows from the vision is that we do not sell data. That means that we can charge a supplementary fee for additional services, rather than offering services that could be provided for free if we were selling data to third parties. We consider that cleaner than unclear data flows.”
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