A new survey of U.S. consumer views about technology offers a glimpse into how attitudes are shifting on financial data, cyber security, medical tech, and so much more. The Axway 2023 U.S. consumer survey, conducted by Propeller Insights in September 2023, polled 1,001 American consumers of varying ages, genders, ethnicities, and education levels.
Here’s a first look at some intriguing results, how Axway experts interpret these trends, and their advice on your digital strategy in the year to come.
Security concerns extend well outside the enterprise perimeter
62% of Americans are very concerned about the increasing sophistication of criminals, who are designing elaborate schemes that use a person’s social media accounts to build a convincing story.
“There’s no question that the level of sophistication and the volume of scam attempts is increasing exponentially,” comments Laurent Van Huffel, SVP Financial Services & Open Banking North America at Axway. “Today, you can be solicited in a text, phone call, email, AND on social media. Most know not to click, but the sheer volume can lead to costly accidents.”
Indeed, nearly half of Americans say they’ve been a victim of financial fraud or a scam. A safeguard against increasing security concerns, according to Van Huffel, is the embrace of secure data sharing via APIs.
As consumers agree to securely share their data with third parties like fintechs, he notes, they’ll find that doing it via APIs is in fact more secure than older methods of data sharing like screen-scraping.
“This continued rise in fraud and scams has created some urgency for agreement on a data sharing standard in the United States,” adds Van Huffel, “and I’m hopeful that the CFPB’s newly proposed open banking rules will help us make a true transition to open banking in North America.”
Healthcare is under attack as well
Bas van den Berg, VP Amplify Platform at Axway, points out that multiple healthcare agencies and industry groups are forming consulting consortiums to advise on healthcare cybersecurity. The federal government is doubling down on security efforts too, offering advice and assistance in response to breaches.
Of note: hackers exploiting file transfer software and other B2B services have been in the news all year, spilling into general consumer news as additional breaches are revealed. 48% of Americans say in the Axway survey that they are very concerned about one of these ransomware attacks affecting them in the near future.
“That consumers are so aware of and concerned about these breaches demonstrates why these challenges around outdated file transfer solutions aren’t just simply an IT issue,” says Vince Padua, Chief Product Officer at Axway. “It’s hard to fully estimate what it can mean to your brand, what it can mean to the confidence of employees, to the confidence of partners, and to the long-term reputation of a company.”
“These ransomware attacks are a significant wake-up call in the industry for folks who are using these types of solutions which may be outdated and managed by teams who didn’t even make that decision in the first place.
“In the end, regardless of who’s at fault for a given breach, trust will be eroded on all sides of the ecosystem that managed file transfer solution serves,” Padua concludes.
“There’s a foundation of privacy and security which is under attack right now, and that foundation is not as strong as it must be,” adds van den Berg on the topic.
He points out that general consumers aren’t the only ones with a security blind spot: even major organizations aren’t sufficiently aware of the information security risk from third-party vendors.
“These ransomware attacks have generated a lot of interest in new MFT products in the market, but enterprises often continue to underinvest in the security and products needed to protect their most sensitive data,” he concludes.
“It’s critical to seek out a vendor with a proven track record, who will be a true partner and continues to invest in R&D – and budget more as needed to protect your reputation and your data.”
The rise of AI
With the popularity of AI stories in the media today, it’s no surprise that market intelligence platform CB Insights notes a surge in executive interest in AI.
Interestingly, 47% of Americans feel positively (30% very much so) about companies using AI chatbots for customer support. 27% have a negative reaction to them with another 27% feeling neutral.
“Better trained, better informed about customer habits, available, visionary… it may not be able to replace the expert in wealth management, but it is quite capable of dethroning the generic advisor who is unable to understand his role in the customer relationship,” comments Methivier.
Brian Otten, VP Digital Transformation Catalysts at Axway, says the numbers seem to indicate Americans are beginning to trust AI, from using it regularly in their lives to trusting AI-powered customer service.
“If they’re receiving a better, faster customer experience, people will be inclined to rely more on these types of chat bots,” he says.
“On the other hand, many will remember how social media’s ‘listening in’ led to eerily accurate targeted advertising, so it remains to be seen whether that trust will hold as we feed so much of our data into large language models.”
In order for AI customer service to be efficient, Otten adds, the input and training will need to be up to par.
“Enterprises using AI in their customer-facing solutions will need to encode their expert knowledge into them for them to be truly useful. If they can find a way to essentially ‘export’ their expertise and train models on real scenarios, we might someday see an end to the era of ‘24 callers ahead of you’ on the phone!” says Otten.
Expectations for digital experiences are high
Americans may be getting used to artificial intelligence in their daily lives, but a full 88% wish they knew what specific data companies have collected about them. And yet… nearly half (49%) agree it’s worth giving companies access to their personal data if it means a better user experience for them.
“Consent is important in this conversation,” notes Otten. “People want a stronger user experience, but they also want to better understand what they’re giving up in exchange. Offering more sophisticated permission mechanisms, letting people decide what data to give access to on a more granular level, is one way of doing that.
“We have the technology to even get as specific as how long what specific types of data we give access to – such as allowing a tax firm access to a transaction ledger for a 30-day period only. People are getting familiar with social media’s blocking possibilities (‘show me less of this’) as well; excluding access to specific types of information is something we could expand more on to create that clarity and trust with customers in any industry.”
For Laurent Van Huffel, this signals a growing comfort with data sharing in general.
There’s real demand for open banking services
“Americans seem to be ready for open banking, and it’s encouraging to see the CFPB’s proposed personal financial data rights rule, which is slated to start to be enforced next year,” says Van Huffel.
“Unveiled in October, the proposal will move banks away from screen-scraping as a data-sharing mechanism and toward publishing open APIs, hopefully using the FDX standard. That will be a huge boost, and I believe the market is willing.”
Also signaling a readiness for these changes: 60% of Americans surveyed feel that the growing movement toward open banking is a positive development, compared to only 51% in 2021. Van Huffel says growing consumer trust in the API technologies that underpin open banking will be critical.
“The adoption of open banking this year has been a bit disappointing, but experts in the financial services industry agree that it’s not a matter of if we move toward open banking; it’s a matter of when,” he says.
Healthcare interoperability is improving, but still has a long way to go
Survey numbers on healthcare data access would appear to indicate that people are seeing the results of investments in interoperability over the past several years. For example:
- Only 12% of Americans say they’ve had significant issues with sharing their medical history between different providers.
- 71% of Americans say they’re given access to scans like X-rays or ultrasounds (compared to only 56% in 2021)
- 56% feel they have adequate access to their Electronic Health Records compared to only 43% in 2021.
Healthcare interoperability has historically been slow to implement, so van den Berg notes that it’s quite encouraging to see that FHIR interoperability programs have been working to connect people, with data sharing is perceived as less of a barrier today.
However, he warns that when it comes to orchestrating cross enterprise processes, which is the next step in interoperability with the No Surprises Act, Surprise Billing for Out of Network services, and Good Faith Estimates requirements, it will still be quite difficult to achieve, something that is also highlighted in the survey.
For example, there’s an urgent need to improve the speed of prior authorizations: 45% of Americans say delayed prior authorization has affected the quality of their care.
8.7% say they’ve had to wait more than two weeks to receive authorization for a medical service, leading to worsening conditions or prolonged pain.
API marketplaces can be interoperability agents
“There’s still a lack of consensus on how to roll these changes out, because we’re lacking standards and the right orchestration across enterprises,” says van den Berg. “But this is where at Axway we see the value of a marketplace approach to IT assets and data.”
An API Marketplace is a place to collect and expose APIs (for Application Programming Interface – a set of functions and procedures that allow unrelated applications to “talk” to each other) so that others can discover and use these APIs to interface with your organization’s data and processes.
Using a marketplace, a healthcare partner could publish an API containing the data needed to process a prior authorization. Another partner could then “consume” this API to construct cross enterprise orchestrations and answer complex questions.
“Today, many organizations still have a mindset that’s very much internal to their own organization, and a lot of it is happening through point-to-point prebuilt connections like EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) or MFT (Managed File Transfer).
Many health plans, for example, are used to getting an EDI document or even getting a phone call, which triggers a backend process that results in a decision that is communicated either by EDI document or written letter to the patient.
Real-time API orchestration makes it possible to do things like brokering between EDI and APIs so that a health plan could respond in real time to approve a medically necessary procedure using their existing EDI processing capability.
“That sort of interoperability is a very important building block in orchestrating the future of healthcare,” concludes van den Berg.
Looking to the future of the tech industry
Finally, it’s not just tech execs who worry about finding the right people to fill important responsibilities. 55% of Americans are concerned about the tech industry’s talent gap right now or in the near future.
From fear of “uncontrolled” AI to state-sponsored hacking, one common concern cited is the impacts a talent gap might have on security for all.
“One reason security is so complex,” Brian Otten explains, “is because people need to be aware of security through the whole process. It involves a lot of training on every application level. A full stack developer might have to know possibly four or five different types of security models and know how to implement and make use of them.”
He adds that people who are skilled at cross-collaboration will be extremely competitive in a market where tech companies are struggling to fill this gap.
But there’s another piece to the puzzle: common security mechanisms like API gateways can help standardize and centralize security policies, so organizations don’t have to rely so much on talent.
“A few key people are trained on common security policy flows and then others throughout the enterprise can make use of it thanks to that automation,” concludes Otten.
From healthcare interoperability to cyber security, to fintech integration and digital experiences, the Axway 2023 U.S. consumer survey is rich with data on how consumers perceive changing technologies.
We hope the selected insights above will arm you with knowledge as you build out your digital strategy for 2024 and beyond.
Download the full Axway 2023 U.S. consumer survey results for frontline perspectives on data security and breakthrough digital experiences.