Advice and Information for Finance Professionals

GDPR: Time to See It as an Opportunity, Not a Chore

Guest Author

By Dee Houchen, Senior Marketing Director, ERP/EPM, Oracle

When many people think of data-driven businesses, the temptation may be to think of major consumer facing websites, online retailers or social media companies. But the reality is, organisations of all sizes, across all sectors are getting closer to their data in order to improve and personalise the customer experience or the way they work, or to transform whole industries or create new opportunities.

The UK’s NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) recently uncovered insights in its data that have helped it improve patient care and uncover nearly £600 million in savings. In India, a new crop of financial institutions have reimagined credit checks for the country’s unbanked population, assessing people for small business loans based on an analysis of their social media data.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

But while the rise of data-driven business models and organisations has made life better for many people it has also raised concerns about how our data is collected, used and managed. This is the major motivation behind the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which aims to raise the standard of data protection in modern businesses and provide consumers with greater transparency and control over how their personal details are used.

New regulation can feel like a burden, but organisations should see GDPR as an opportunity to put in place processes and protections that given them the ability to make the most of their data, and give consumers the confidence to keep sharing their data with the organisation.

To paraphrase TechUK’s Sue Daly, who joined a panel of data experts to discuss GDPR on the Oracle Business Podcast, we are moving to a world driven by connected devices, the Internet of Things, and new forms of artificial intelligence, and to succeed with these technologies businesses will need the public to trust their approach to managing data.

Using Transparency to Differentiate Your Business

Transparency can also be a valuable differentiator. Telefónica, one of Spain’s largest telecoms operators, provides advertisers and content providers with anonymous audience insights so they can better tailor their content to individual users. In the interest of transparency, the company publishes the customer data it sends to third parties and gives people the option to opt out of sharing their personal details. Telefónica’s data-driven approach has taken it from strength to strength. Despite currency pressures and a difficult market, the company posted a 23% rise in profits at the end of February 2018.

The exchange is mutually beneficial, as it allows the operator to curate the right content for its own customers and provide them with a better user experience. Telefonica has now captured 40% of Spain’s lucrative digital media and advertising market. By comparison, most telcos only contribute to roughly 2% of the advertising value chain, according to Analysys Mason.

This perfectly illustrates why businesses should not just wait for GDPR to arrive and do the minimum required in the name of compliance. With major changes come major opportunities, but only for organisations that are proactive and look beyond the short-term regulatory burden.

Nina Monckton, Chief Insight Officer at the NHSBSA, who also joined the Oracle Business Podcast panel to discuss GDPR, had this to say: “The trick is to help people see how their data helps your business improve their quality of life. For example, when you explain that their anonymised details can help researchers find cures to serious illnesses, the benefits become much more tangible.”

By acting now, companies will guarantee their approach to data is compliant and gain the confidence to continue delighting customers with better, more personalised services.

Learn how to speed your path to GDPR compliance.

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