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10 & 11 NOVEMBER 2020





Commonly data is referred to as the new oil, and whilst initially seeming far fetched, the two have many similarities - data is the lifeblood of systems across the world, as when we look at a new system or automation this can often be rendered useless without data to help drive the functionality, and this has increased in prevalence with machine learning. (services such as Alexa, Fitbit or Amazon are essentially built on data, and could never be as usable or profitable without free flowing of data to help ongoing improvements)

Data flows between different Suppliers, Consumers and Clients, either freely via on-demand web services or in paid transactions for batches or ongoing feeds.

This data is then often put to use for Advertising, Marketing, or increasingly as the raw material to build new algorithms or products, and in this fashion, we can see how the Technology evolution we have seen in the last 10 years has started to be branded as the Data Economy.

This gives data more value than ever before - and in the past this value was easily taken away from the consumer and held in various corporate databases without transparency and in some cases without proper oversight. This effectively removed the power and value from the subject of the data.

GDPR is likely the first step in properly ensuring that the power of your data is ultimately still held by you - and that companies holding your data give you the rights of consent, visibility and removal.

In this, companies should not fear GDPR or see it as a burdensome regulation, but in our opinion see this as an opportunity to look at the openness and customer centric nature of doing business in the new environment.

Using Online Tools we can share personal data with our clients and suppliers, and allow individuals to amend their data or preferences directly - and as we increasingly use data-as-a-service from providers such as LinkedIn or Amazon, allow our contacts to choose which of their data services we can integrate with.

This freedom of who controls the data can then allow us to build stronger relationships with our clients and suppliers, and help pivot business into being more customer-centric which is a proven metric in customer retention.

So whilst GDPR can seem an extra buzz-word or work for compliance, this be more indicative of how the world is changing in regards to data and how this will continue to change for the better for customers, consumers and us as individuals - and like all change, this can be an opportunity or an obligation depending on how we approach it.

Data as the new oil?  Almost certainly – but it’s mined from each and every one of us, which takes some thinking to get our heads round!

Tips for complying with GDPR

  • Flag your individual data as either Personal, Sensitive or Non-Personal.

  • Don't forget about your unstructured data in Documents or Email Attachments - it can be simpler to focus on the 'easy' systems such as CRM or ERP that track data in a structured manner, but is not going to cut it if we store personal or sensitive data in Documents buried on a file share.

  • Track the reason why we are storing personal or sensitive data

  • Consent can be the easiest ‘N/A’ option for why we are storing data, but is also the hardest to justify under GDPR, so make sure that Consent is not over-used in lieu of better more descriptive reasons.

  • Consider ensuring you have a process to easily share the personal data you hold with the subject, this will help data access requests.

  • If possible, link your Structured data in CRM or ERP with the Unstructured data held in a Document Location - this allows both to be deleted easily if a request is logged by the subject.

  • Do your reading on the regulations - at heart it can be fairly easy to grasp and a natural evolution of the previous Data Protection Act.

We have a quick summary here with a reference to the full legislation document.