Make GDPR Readiness Your New Year’s Resolution

2018 is the year of GDPR. There is no getting around it. This means businesses around the world will be looking toward the new year with interest, anticipation, and even a healthy amount of fear. What will the year bring? What new surprises will we see on the political and economic landscape? One thing for certain is that the impact of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be felt with full force.

To help answer some of these questions, we called in an expert. Phil Winters, known as “The Father of Customer Intelligence,” was kind enough to participated in a Q&A about the new year and the new GDPR rules.

To start, please refresh us: what is GDPR?

GDPR, which was passed by the European Parliament back in 2016, harmonizes data privacy laws across Europe in order to protect EU residents’ data privacy. The new rules, which begin on May 25th, 2018 will mean Europe becomes a global leader in data protection. Many will welcome this strength, in an era when the unique threats of the digital age are beginning to become ever more apparent.

How will it affect consumers?

GDPR seeks to establish a harmonized data protection framework across the EU. While the regulations come from the EU, it affects every company that has a global customer base. This will no doubt be welcomed. Before this new legislation, it was up to individual countries to decide how to implement existing EU laws, which created considerable complexity.

The new rules will no doubt spark increased awareness of why data protection is so important, but also increased awareness of what can go wrong when this protection isn’t in place. It will be up to businesses and organizations to reassure their customers that their personal data is being handled responsibly.

Is better visibility achievable, in terms of the customer?

Absolutely. Something I recommend organizations consider as part of their preparation work for GDPR is to revisit their data privacy and security policies. If they are understandable and ex

plain why the company seeks to hold a customer’s data, these customers will be able to clearly see the benefits to themselves. Businesses should look at the opportunities and benefits that the rewriting of permission language can bring. Privacy will be a big issue in 2018, so get ahead and start the work now.

How can organizations avoid the traps of GDPR?

The new regulations will inevitably bring a heavier administrative burden, which organizations will need to figure out how to handle. The penalties for getting it wrong are severe, so it’s crucial the necessary preparatory work is done. What’s important to remember is that with the right CRM system in place, it becomes possible to capture and store records of all use of personal data. The transactions of exactly what was surfaced and how the permissions were obtained (along with copies of the documents and date/time stamps) can be linked within the CRM to each individual customer.

What is the value of a tool like SugarCRM’s new GDPR Compliance Tracker?

To make it easier to comply with GDPR requirements, SugarCRM provides a visual tracking tool that supports the implementation of a solid GDPR compliant program. This is fully adaptable, which means each step or task can be modified to suit the unique needs of individual organizations.

How can CRM sit at the heart of GDPR compliance?

A modern CRM system can provide so much more than just capturing data. It can provide lead qualification processes, opportunity tracking systems, case resolution scripts, yearly account plans and even customer journey maps. This CRM infrastructure is ideal for satisfying many GDPR requirements. It can be used not only to maintain compliance in the use of its own personal data, but also to consolidate other IT systems’ data to meet GDPR requirements, all in one place. For this reason, there is no doubt that an approach involving a modern CRM can greatly reduce the stress and work required to comply with GDPR, and the potential for actually improving the customer experience along the way.

For more information on how the right CRM system can simplify GDPR compliance, read our new eBook: Getting Ready for GDPR – A Practical Guide.