BCG Henderson Institute

Imagine a company that zealously and thoughtfully safeguards and marshals the consumer data it holds, for the good of both company and consumer—so much so that consumers preferentially choose to buy products and services from this company and to share relevant data for new and unrelated purposes. Think too about the many companies that have made headlines—and have been punished by consumers and other stakeholders—for doing just the opposite: gathering and using data in ways that distress consumers, often without their permission or even awareness.

Where a company fits along this spectrum depends on its use of the big data that is increasingly available. But big data has the potential to be both friend and foe. The Boston Consulting Group conservatively estimates that trusted uses of big data and advanced analytics could unlock more than $1 trillion in value annually by 2020. (See “The Value of Our Digital Identity,” BCG article, November 2012.) However, recent BCG consumer research has uncovered a previously hidden obstacle to successfully unleashing this enormous opportunity: data misuse.

Sources & Notes