GDPR – A matter of compliance, or trust?

Michael Clinch

The new General Data Protection Regulation that comes in to play in May is accompanied by some hefty punishments for non-compliance.  For many companies, incurring a fine has been considered a risk worth taking up until now, especially where the cost of attaining compliance is known to be high.  New maximum fines will certainly sway the way some companies think about and approach their data compliance, but with the compliance obstacle large and looming, is GDPR actually being viewed through the wrong lens?

In an often face-less digital customer environment, gaining and keeping the trust of customers has never been more challenging. If any of us feel we can no longer fully trust a company to look after our data then we will likely consider switching allegiance. A company that is not GDPR compliant will have inherent risks that data will be mishandled, misused or used for something for which consent was not granted. It therefore risks more than just a fine.

GDPR is all about giving individuals control over how their data is used. The requirement to gain consent for the use of data gives the individual that control, but it also informs the company about that person’s preferences. Information which, when collected and managed effectively, can enhance the relationship that company has with the individual. Trust can be gained and engagement can be customised to suit an individual’s requirements. 

So, although GDPR is new legislation that demands compliance, it is also an opportunity to revisit how you interact with your customers, and to set off down a rich, and more fruitful path, where you better understand customer needs and the customer’s trust in your brand and products can grow.

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What GDPR mandates

To comply (or to enhance the trust of your customers), you must first identify the data you need to take special care with; this is basically any data which could be used to identify someone.

You then need to look at how you track and store that data and ensure there are robust processes across the whole organisation. You shouldn’t be doing anything with the data which does not add value for that individual. If you no longer need to hold some data, it should be deleted.

What do you have consent to use the data for? Individuals must be given a real chance to opt-out wherever there are choices in how their data is used. ‘Privacy-by-design’ is a good concept to adhere to whenever a system or product to engage a customer is being considered.

Responsibility for compliance with GDPR does not sit in a Data Compliance Office. It should be shared by every individual that interacts with or oversees a process where personal data is involved. This may require a change in thinking or culture, and is essential to ensure compliance is both achieved and sustained.

Attaining full compliance will require effort, but it should not be seen purely as an overhead. Done well, GDPR is an opportunity to bring value and a shift in thinking that can drive your company forwards.

Why Sysdoc?

Our approach to GDPR was developed in conjunction with our clients, and is grounded in the areas where we excel:

  • Process Excellence.
  • Knowledge and Information Management.
  • Transformational Change.
  • Learning Innovation.
  • Creating Intuitive Documentation.
  • Technical Solutions.

 
We have a track record of managing change and delivering process excellence at some of the UK’s largest companies. We’d love to discuss your GDPR programme with you and provide some more details on our approach to achieving compliance. For more information, or to arrange an initial discussion, please contact [email protected]

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