Leading The Way In Digital Identity

Leading The Way In Digital Identity

Becoming a leading provider of digital identity services is one of the key ambitions of our North Star strategy which is why we are taking part in the 'Think Digital Identity for Government 2018' event in May. The event will bring together government departments and public and private sector bodies, to further the adoption of digital identity in public services.

Bryn Robinson-Morgan, our Chief Product Officer for Identity Services, will be a panellist and Post Office will have a stand at the event, as it’s a great opportunity for us to see where we can meet public sector identity needs to drive important innovation.

Ahead of the event ‘Think Digital Partners’ interviewed Bryn who shared our key ambitions for digital identity:

What is the story of Identity at the organisation right now, 2018?
The Post Office is a crucial part of the social and economic infrastructure of the UK. Through our 11,500 branches and an increasing digital presence, we provide convenient access to essential services – mail, banking, government services and telecoms – for households and small businesses throughout the country.

We also have a long history in the provision of identity services, from passport and driving licence applications to document notarisation used for financial, employment and lifestyle services. In recent years, we’ve also been at the forefront of the Government’s flagship digital identity programme, GOV.UK Verify. With over 2 million registered users, thousands more joining by the day, and a growing range of government services connected to the platform, Verify has proven the basic concept of digital identity in providing customers with an efficient and secure means to prove who they are.

The opportunity now is to build on this success and expand the benefits of digital identity to a much broader range of users and organisations. We believe the Post Office is ideally placed to help grow this wider market.

We want to provide our customers with one simple and safe way to prove who they are that is re-usable online and in person, and with all their favourite providers, too.  Imagine being able use your digital identity to prove who you are when renewing your passport.  Then re-using it to get your holiday money, providing passenger information when booking your flights, and passing quickly through security and boarding your plane at the airport.  The possibilities are limitless. 

What is your organisation doing about connecting the physical and the digital aspects of Identity?
As more of our customers migrated to online channels, we initially viewed digital identity as a way of helping them reliably prove who they are when accessing products and services over the Internet.

This left us with our legacy, document based, identity for real world interactions, and digital identity for online… but for customers, this actually makes no sense – they expect a way of proving that they are who they say they are regardless of which channel they’re transacting in! As Europe’s largest retail network, we have around 17 million customer visits to our branches every week. Putting that together with our increasing digital presence, it is important to us that our identity services product works just as well in the real world as it does in the digital one.

To meet this challenge, we’ll make the creation of digital identities work seamlessly for customers in both the physical and digital worlds. 

How do you see this aligning with the Post Office’s commitment to helping society?
We know sections of society are under-served due to the lack of provable identity. This particularly impacts young people, those new to the country, older people, or vulnerable individuals. That’s a problem, as a lack of a provable identity often results in digital, financial and social exclusion.

A striking example of this was a young man who participated in one of our customer insight sessions: he had been forced to leave his family home, leaving behind every shred of evidence of his identity – passport, birth certificate etc. That meant that he couldn’t obtain a bank account, couldn’t rent his own flat, or get a mobile phone contract.

To meet this challenge, we need to think how identity can be fully inclusive and doesn’t just replicate the traditional, legacy ways that we ‘do’ identity in the UK. As mentioned, one of the ways that we’ll do this is by linking up our digital and physical channels, but we do recognise that not everyone has access to the latest smartphone, or the capability to complete a process on their own. That’s where our unique ability to bridge the physical and digital worlds comes into its own: we will use our huge branch network and digital presence to make digital identity accessible, convenient and inclusive. 

Where will you be with Identity in, say, 12 months-time, do you think?
We have an ambitious and challenging programme of work to deliver our 2018/19 strategy for identity. Changing how customers prove their identity, and how organisations trust identity is no easy matter. We know that we’ve got to tackle technology, legal, compliance, regulation and client and customer adoption challenges – and bring all of these strands together at the right time… think of it as being like bringing a new product to market in the middle of the perfect storm!

To make Identity successful, we know that we’ve got to create something that customers want, is easy to get, and that they can use in a number of different contexts, over and over again. That’s our big challenge for the coming year, but I am confident that in 12 months we’ll have brought the use of identity together in our digital and physical channels.

I also hope we’ll have made our first steps in making Identity more inclusive – helping transform how our customers prove who they are when accessing our products and services.

You can read the full article on Think Digital Partners website here.