In the months leading up to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there was a media frenzy about how the new law was going to impact companies around the world. Reporters and experts spent months educating businesses on how to ensure GDPR compliance. Vendors hammered organizations on the risks of massive fines for noncompliance. The hype was reminiscent of Y2K, but instead of a software glitch potentially wreaking havoc, it was a new government regulation that struck fear in businesses across the globe. Then, the GDPR effective date came and went, and much like Y2K, the media hype was largely overblown.
That’s not to say that the GDPR story is over, by any means. In many ways, it is just beginning. Since May 25, 2018, GDPR has been in effect in the European Union (EU), and the first wave of fines and penalties are expected by the end of 2018. This may be the calm before the storm, as we learn just how aggressive the EU’s Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) will be. Despite the scaremongering that took place leading up to GDPR implementation, it remains unlikely that the DPAs will levy the maximum fines allowable, except in cases of the most egregious violators. Now we wait to see how GDPR will be enforced across the EU.
Although GDPR news is no longer populating everyone’s news feed 24/7, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about when it comes to this important regulation. The good news? We’re post-effective date, and post-panic. The better news? Businesses are finding ways to benefit from this new regulation.
Turning a Burdensome Regulation into Business Advantage
GDPR may seem like yet another regulation poised to create more obstacles than opportunities, but that need not be the case for organizations. Becoming GDPR compliant, and maintaining compliance, is no easy task. But organizations that build a framework of GDPR compliance can reap numerous rewards. GDPR requires all organizations processing data for EU residents to track consent receipts, data usage, data subject rights requests, as well as personal data location, retention and erasure. Organizations that execute a strategy and solution that achieve these objectives will also provide a host of other benefits, including these three major ones:
Every GDPR-compliant organization must obtain the explicit consent of each data subject for the use of their personal data, whether that’s data used for business purposes, or data used for marketing. Sure, this means that much of your legacy data will need to be purged to ensure compliance, but it also means that the end product of these efforts will be a marketing database that consists of engaged customers and prospects. These are people who have expressed an active interest in your brand, are interested in your message and represent quality leads. It means that you will no longer waste time and money marketing to garbage contacts, and properly executed campaigns can increase your click-through rates and marketing ROI.
As a business today, your brand matters, inside and out. Consumers are increasingly taking notice when companies appear to disregard their rights or disrespect their privacy. These are concepts that resonate with your employees, too. GDPR-compliant organizations demonstrate a commitment to upholding data rights, and are building a culture of trust that’s reflected both internally and externally. They respect individuals’ data and build trust among the public. Building a reputation as a trustworthy and reputable company means that more people will want to do business with you, which can only have a positive impact on your bottom line.
The road to GDPR compliance can be a challenging one, but the good news is that a solid data governance strategy can not only position organizations for ongoing GDPR adherence, but also foster a data-driven culture and strong data management. Businesses today face a slew of data challenges, from data quality issues to lack of data understanding among business users. These challenges often lead to negative customer experiences because bad data often results in erroneous customer information. Enterprise data governance helps organizations solve these critical data challenges while simultaneously ensuring GDPR compliance.
For example, all businesses are now ingesting data at a rapid pace, but they often don’t know whether that data is accurate, reliable or even usable. Complicating matters further, there is often little understanding of the data, from its source, to its meaning, to its ownership and usage. When data is misunderstood and mistrusted, it can’t be relied on to generate actionable insights about the customer to deliver a more personalized customer experience, earn their trust and make them a repeat customer.
A recent Entrepreneur article states “The key to developing trust and delivering personalized customer experiences in a post-GDPR world? Leverage customer data to deliver real value. That sounds obvious, but it needs to be said.” A data governance framework combined with the right technologies can provide clarity in an organization’s data supply chain, to ensure accurate and reliable customer insights and deliver a stellar customer experience.
Leverage a Comprehensive Solution for Maximum Returns
To gain maximum advantage from GDPR, organizations ideally should implement an enterprise data intelligence platform with a framework of data governance. By combining a data governance framework with an all-inclusive solution suite, organizations can foster a competitive advantage while complying with GDPR at the same time. The solution suite should include capabilities for data governance, data quality and analytics, working in conjunction with one another to enable better control over data and ensure ongoing compliance.
The solution suite should include data governance abilities to help identify, classify and document data. This includes establishing a business glossary, the documentation of data location, processing purpose and legal basis, to usage approvals and access authorizations. This enables compliance across an entire enterprise and helps establish business user trust in data.
Data quality capabilities should then deliver trust in an organization’s data integrity and the policies and processes they implement. By conducting high-volume data quality checks such as data profiling, consistency, conformity, completeness, and timeliness, and using visual data prep and machine learning to verify and improve the quality of data, organizations can ensure both GDPR compliance and user and consumer trust. In addition, analytics can be layered in to create machine learning algorithms to find dark data across an enterprise, identify integrity issues and find compliance gaps.
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