GDPR: From compliance headache to business opportunity

24/07/2018

|24-07-2018 | Reuters | treasuryXL |

The Information Commissioner’s Office has described the new GDPR laws as “the biggest change to data protection law for a generation”. Businesses will face a maximum fine of up to £17 million or 4% of global turnover, if they breach the EU rules. These are critical, but turbulent times for businesses across Europe. However, if organisations of all sizes play their cards right, GDPR can be transformed from a compliance nightmare, into a business advantage.

Competitive advantage

“General Data Protection Regulation is generally seen in a fairly negative light, particularly by organisations. But I think there is a huge opportunity to differentiate services based on trust. The consumer gains from interaction with any institution,” according to Managing Director and Data Protection Officer at Barclays, Jon Rees. He adds: “Our recent research has shown that the number one concern – across many different demographics and usages – is security of customer information, and how it’s being used. There’s a competitive advantage to be had by applying GDPR in a positive way.”

Consistency by design

As a ‘complex corporate’ itself, Barclays has seen another major benefit of GDPR, and that’s the obligatory enforcement of good practice and consistency by design across organisations, in terms of the harmonising of data systems. While it’s still early days, transparency is fast-becoming the buzzword of GDPR’s inaugural year.

Consumer confusion

There are, predictably, some areas of confusion that are emerging, especially for consumers – in part accelerated by miscommunication. People are confused about what their individual rights are when it comes to personal data and consent, and right to deletion. Some are interpreting consent as: ‘unless I’ve given a firm my approval, it has no right to use my data’. While this is not correct, the lack of understanding is unsurprising, given the complexities of GDPR and it being in its infancy. However, this is where businesses can once again shine. Those that are helpful, and offer clear communication with their consumers on GDPR, will come out on top as trustworthy brands that always put the customer first. A more consumer-centric approach is, after all, at the heart of GDPR.

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