Industry leaders demonstrate how responsible data sharing can unlock value and generate UK savings of up to £563m over five years

Datum Future today announced the results of its Customer Journey Sandbox – an initiative aimed at empowering people to access new services built on responsible data sharing.

The Sandbox identified fundamental ways in which sharing and using data responsibly can create tangible value for consumers, society and business.

Datum Future – a cross-industry forum and ‘do-tank’ committed to advancing a people-first data economy – and Sandbox founders Experian, Meta, Publicis Groupe and BNP Paribas – sought deep insights from consumers to understand what steps need to be taken to create better customer experiences. They focused on ways that data can be used to solve problems for people and society whilst also creating business benefits.

The Sandbox had encouraging results that point to potential savings for the UK of £563m over five years – driven primarily by its impact on people’s lives as well as compelling benefits to society and business. At a time of soaring energy and household costs, such savings could make a genuine difference to people’s lives, and if the approach tested in the Sandbox were to be launched widely, could help up to 1.4 million UK households. 

Indeed, the Sandbox explored a use case around the Poverty Premium – the fact that those in poverty often pay more for essential products and services. Datum Future tested out people’s willingness to access new services to address their needs in a way that gave them meaningful value, control, convenience and transparency while asking only for data that was relevant and proportionate.

This was done by incorporating five key design principles into the customer journey.Rooted in its primary consumer insights, the Sandbox delivered a prototype that shows how treating people ethically and with empathy can help them to build their confidence in sharing their data so that they can benefit from it. 73% of those surveyed were interested in taking part in the offer.

And the findings from the prototype have business applications far beyond the specific use case tested in the Sandbox. Analysis of third-party studies suggests that a well-working data ecosystem has the potential to generate economic benefits of £7bn to £18bn in the UK.

The Customer Journey Sandbox provided the following insights:


It is time to build people’s confidence in using their personal data, so they can benefit from it

Businesses need to meet both emotional and functional needs if they are to build customer confidence in sharing data to ultimately build better customer experiences. People’s concerns are emotional: security; fear of fraud; worry about hassle and a feeling of invasiveness.

People living in poverty use skill and resilience to make ends meet. They often manage very challenging and stressful situations. By recognising the skills they employ to manage their finances – both with financial and non-financial rewards such as discounts and flexible payments – businesses can provide the positive re-enforcement and updated tools to help people access essential services and build loyalty.


There are five ways to ensure people will engage and benefit

The Sandbox revealed that the following five principles need to be applied to any customer experience relating to data:

Responsibility: acting ethically, with a duty of care towards customers and with their needs in mind; transparency: being honest and clear; control: giving the customer real choices; convenience: ease of use and simplicity; and value: giving the customer benefits that matter to them.


How the prototype worked and what it could deliver

Datum Future built a prototype in an app setting, which allowed 18-35-year-olds on Universal Credit to receive benefits such as discounts and payment flexibility on essential utilities and telecoms services. They could do this by sharing information and positive attributes about themselves to demonstrate their eligibility for benefits.

The prototype was well-received and considered easy to use. Aside from the financial reward offered, consumers liked having a “one stop shop” for all their utility and telecoms bills to help them manage their costs in one place. 85% of respondents liked the fact that they were rewarded for demonstrating responsible behaviour.

If the Sandbox was adopted in the mainstream its impact over five years could be:

  • Consumer: £343m – savings on bills & lower costs of debt
  • Business: £142m – cost savings on customer service and customer debt
  • Society: £78m – public poverty cost saving


How business can benefit and collaborate to gain competitive advantage

The Sandbox showed promising opportunities to shape a vibrant data economy and deliver entirely new services to customers. By building trusted customer journeys that deliver tangible value, companies can address people’s needs, generate efficiencies and build customer loyalty – ultimately driving revenue opportunities.

Much of this promise comes from the opportunity of data portability – the principle that people should be able to take the data they share with one service and move it to another – which can help to promote competition online and encourage the emergence of new services.

Opportunities abound, but to get there, challenges must be addressed through new ways of working and collaborating. While UK and EU regulations are advancing key issues around data portability, interoperability, and consent mechanisms, working collaboratively with industry to create a seamless secure customer experience is a key priority to enable these new types of data services to thrive. Equally, diversity and inclusion in data to ensure accurate representation is paramount and these challenges requires cross-sector and stakeholder collaboration.


Rimma Perelmuter, Executive Director, Datum Future, said:

“The Sandbox findings show significant opportunities to shape a vibrant, people-first data economy that is ethical and inclusive, with advantages for people, business and society. Harnessing the power of data through stakeholder and cross-sector collaboration is already helping to tackle some of the world’s most challenging issues such as decarbonisation, mental well-being and the creation of smart cities.

“Datum Future calls on forward-thinking companies to join the responsible data-driven innovation movement to help create new business models that are sustainable, commercially valuable and designed with the customer and social impact in mind. The leaders who act will benefit from the trust and understanding fuelled by new paradigms of customer relationships.”


Ben Silcox, Chief Product Officer, Publicis Groupe, said:

“Datum Future’s Customer Journey Sandbox demonstrates that enabling explicit ethical use of data and rebuilding trust in the process is a clear opportunity and urgent business imperative. Partnering with real people, being inclusive and applying customer-centred design principles are the starting points. Driving clear business value in your company’s data innovation strategy across the organisation is fundamental. Deriving benefits from data quality, sales growth, speed of innovation and customer retention are clear competitive advantages which businesses are urged to consider.”


Jon Roughley, Global Head of Data Exchange, Experian, said:

“The Datum Future Customer Journey Sandbox reveals that if we’re going to unlock the societal and business benefits of data sharing, we need strong collaboration. Not only at a cross sector level but also with civil society and regulators – to drive access and affordability for underserved communities. This promising way of working will position the UK at the forefront of smart data empowerment and innovation.”


Adam Bargroff, Privacy and Public Policy Manager at Meta and TTC Labs, said:

“We welcome the Datum Future Customer Sandbox as an opportunity to listen and learn, and through co-creation to improve people’s experiences around personal data.”

To download the Customer Journey Sandbox report, please click here.


Datum Future is holding a cross-sector industry roundtable on “Building trust to unlock value in data sharing” on May 10th, 2022. This invite-only roundtable is aimed at exploring key areas of opportunity from the report. If you are interested in participating, please click here.