May 2, 2018

GDPR is almost here, now what?! Relax, it’s going to be OK

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Timo Ahomäki

Head of Portfolio Development, Tieto Security Services

Worried about the approaching GDPR? You don't need to be, because with good planning you can make the regulation a competitive advantage for your organisation.

Has your inbox been flooded lately with messages from different organizations that prompt you to read and accept their new privacy policies? Yup, mine too. Can’t blame you if you’ve grown tired of all the hoopla around GDPR, privacy, Cambridge Analytica, and anything else privacy-related.

Yet, this is just the beginning. We don’t really know the full effects of the GDPR and other privacy legislations until we have lived some time with them. Hopefully, your own organization has already taken the necessary steps to become and also remain compliant. You can check from our previous blogs for some hints and advice to take full advantage of the change.

In some ways, the situation with GDPR reminds me of the Y2K debate about two decades ago (yes, I’m THAT old). First, there is confusion: what’s this all about? Then along comes denial (it doesn’t affect us!) and panic (computers will stop working and we’re all gonna die!).

In the end, year 2000 came and nothing terrible happened. Life went on, because major organizations had had a good reason to check and update their systems where necessary. The fact that there were no big problems was due to good preparation and fixing the systems in time. The problem was real, but with careful planning, major catastrophes were averted.

After year 2000, companies were also a little bit better prepared to face future challenges.

GDPR is not a bug, it’s a feature

We might even say, that Y2K brought IT to the top of the business leaders’ agenda. It showed how crucial a role IT had started to play in many business domains.

This will also happen with GDPR. The regulation has been an excellent opportunity to check how a company handles personal information. Do we know all the places where the data resides? Who can access the data? What needs to be done to serve our customers better?

This situation has opened our eyes to see how important customer data and privacy really are in today’s business life.

GDPR has been a great opportunity for us to learn and adapt to a new world, where data is the most valuable currency. The better your organization has prepared for GDPR, the better position you will be in after May 25.

The new normal

There’s one fundamental difference between Y2K and GDPR, though. With GDPR, the change doesn’t stop at one specific moment but becomes a new way of conducting business. Now, there is no excuse to be sloppy in handling data.

It’s also a great business opportunity. Today, digital business is all about trust. When you are able to show that you are a reliable partner, you can get real close to your customers and offer services tailored just for them.

This customer intimacy will be the winning strategy in the months and years following May 25, 2018.

Sharing knowledge requires trust, openness, and transparency. GDPR can be seen as a tool that helps organizations use data smarter. It is a business enabler that gives you a competitive edge. There are short term benefits such as better customer experience (an open and understandable data use policy), but the real strength is in the long-term business gains. When you can show that your company is a trustworthy and reliable partner, you’ll be able to stand above the competition.

If you haven’t understood the new normal GDPR brings along, you might wake up one day to a business version of Project Runway: One day you’re in, and the next you’re out.

Visit our GDPR web page with more information and download our white paper. Or contact us directly to discuss further the short and long term benefits of GDPR.

P.S. Our friends in Norway have a bit longer time to get ready for the change. Right now it looks like the regulations will come into effect in July.

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