GDPR: It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint

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After years of planning and discussion, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is very nearly upon us. However, despite the fact that this regulation has been climbing the agenda for some time now, it appears as though businesses are still rushing to get everything ready in time for the 25 May deadline.

The reality is that many companies will not be fully GDPR compliant by the required date. But it’s important to remember that GDPR is not an exhaustive list of what is and isn’t allowed; it’s a principle-based, legal framework to drive change, as opposed to a tick-box exercise. Those companies who purely view it as such will not be building the best platform to succeed in the future – and may even trip up along the way.

With less than a month to go, we’ve pulled together some key learnings to help your business remain calm under pressure and show how keeping the right attitude and culture is crucial for true compliance.

Think positive

The main element to a positive GDPR journey is to remember that the regulation has been designed to better facilitate business across the digital market in Europe. Key to this is building trust with citizens and customers by clearly demonstrating that their rights are respected and their data is managed responsibly. It shouldn’t be looked at as another regulation as it essentially builds on data privacy and security principles which organisations should already be abiding by. And it’s likely that its implementation will enhance consumer trust in brands. This is crucial as recent Civica research found that more than half (53%) of citizens would have greater trust in organisations if they were more transparent about the personal data they store and how they use it.

See the business benefits

Aside from trust and transparency, changing the way an organisation views and manages data can help improve decision-making, customer reach and satisfaction. Getting your data in order will lay the foundations for increased insight, driving better services around what people want and need and helping to reduce waste. A customer-centric view of your data will not only enable your teams to provide a more personalised service and experience, but will also support a wider digital transformation programme across the organisation.

Don’t get ahead of yourself

Like any problem which looks too big and scary to face, the key is to break it into manageable chunks, set priorities and work methodically through the tasks, prioritising the more importance aspects first.

The journey to GDPR compliance should be viewed as a marathon and not a sprint; it will be long and complex, requiring determination and effort. Most importantly, 25 May is not the finishing line but the start of a new journey so it’s time to ditch the daunting headlines and look forward to the longer lead benefits of this legislation, enabling you to deliver better outcomes and ultimately build increased trust with your customers.

About Chris Doutney
Chris Doutney, Executive Director at Civica Digital