How to use the GDPR to enable business & increase revenue

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the GDPR, I wouldn’t blame you. The clock is ticking. In six months the GDPR will become law and its impact will be felt. With so much negativity and scaremongering surrounding this new legislation, I want to turn the GDPR on its head and look at some of the benefits it’s going to bring.  

It’s certainly what the guests on Microsoft’s latest episode of Modern Workplace have been talking about. Featuring Elena Elkina, Partner and Co-Founder of Aleada Consulting and David Kemp of Micro Focus, both discuss this new data privacy legislation in terms of the drivers, ethics, and business impact.

So, let’s get stuck in.

For the vast majority, the main driver for the GDPR is avoidance. Understandably, no one wants to be issued with a huge fine, suffer brand damage from negative headlines and bear the costs associated with restoring trust in the brand. Compliance to the GDPR, therefore, enables an to circumvent a fine, which, at its very worse, amounts to 4% of its global annual turnover for the proceeding financial year, or €20 million, whichever is the greater sum.

For the forward-thinking however, the main driver for the GDPR is the total opposite of avoidance. It’s engagement. Seeing the bigger picture, they know that the legislation presents an opportunity not only to save money through operational efficiencies but also to increase their revenues through improved brand positioning and innovations.

Large also understand that the GDPR can unite teams for the greater good of business and that it’s not just a legal function. Calling for collaboration between multiple departments, from security, technology and legal counsel to marketing, communication and PR, many stakeholders in these types of organisations appreciate how the GDPR can help them to gain further resources so they can implement data hygiene improvements, cybersecurity best practices, and business development opportunities whilst delivering a measurable return on their investment.


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Data discovery and analysis serve as a perfect example. According to a report compiled by Veritas, (Global Databerg Report) 52% of all data currently stored and processed by around the world is deemed to be ‘dark data.‘ In other words, its value is unknown. Then, another 33% is considered useless i.e. it’s redundant, obsolete, or trivial (ROT). In fact, when it comes to big data, the situation is so out of control that only 15% of all stored data is considered to be information critical to the business. Having grown a culture of data hoarding – just for the sake of it – and an indifferent attitude to data retention via policy and process, are wasting huge sums of money on data storage, backups, recovery, and security. And, if nothing changes, by 2020 it’s going to cost around the world a cumulative $3.3 trillion to manage.

The GDPR, therefore, presents a huge opportunity for to cleanse dysfunctional practices, cut uneconomical expenditures, and deliver profits. Furthermore, it enables them to build or rebuild trust, transparency and data protection whilst advancing their revenues.

That’s why many are using the GDPR as a business enabler, and are seeing it as a means to take their business to the next level. Instead of focusing on negative aspects, like how much work they’ve got to do in order to comply with the GDPR, they’re embracing it and sharing success stories with their clients, customers and strategic partners. They’re communicating what they’re doing to improve their data protection and how they’re complying with the GDPR. Essentially they’re using the legislation as a unique selling point and way to position their above another in the market.

To give you a specific example, some are creating brochures or mailshots that detail their security maturity model and roadmap. They’re explaining how they’re building trust and ensuring their clients, customers and partners are confident in their ability to comply with the GDPR and secure their data. By operating in this way, the GDPR is enabling them to not only differentiate themselves in the market but to innovate by creating premium service offerings.

In the spirit of full disclosure, please be aware that I’ve received compensation for promoting this #ad for Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Episode. Because your success is important to me, I only align myself with brands I believe in, and Microsoft is one of them.



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