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Is your Data ready for GDPR?

Martin Doyle September 5th, 2017 Data Governance, Master Data Management
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The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation is set to not only disrupt the data industry but all business’ that hold customer data. With new ruling on how business’ manage their customer data, GDPR should no doubt be on every business’ radar.

First introduced in May 2016, the new ruling will begin to be enforced in May 2018. With less than 11 months to make the necessary changes, the clock is ticking to clean up your data, protecting yourself from substantial fines.

The fines for non-compliance will be up to 4% of global annual turnover or 20 million euro, whichever is higher.

What are the most important changes?

From May 2018, the individuals who you hold personal data about will have the following rights:The right of access

  • The right of rectification
  • The right to erase
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to data portability
  • Rights related to restricting automated decision making and profiling

One of the largest changes brought about by the new GDPR is you must legally ask permission to use an email for email marketing campaigns. Simultaneously recording the date, the channel and statement used to opt in or out of email marketing.

The real question is, how does one prepare their data so that they can effectively satisfy these rights?  The answer lies in creating and maintaining a single customer view.

Single Customer View (SCV)

A SCV is a single location in which you hold all of your data about each individual, thus allowing you to effectively execute the necessary steps to comply with new GDPR. In order to create an effective SCV, cleaning up your data is imperative. It is often found that organisations typically hold personal data across many systems and have duplicate data both within a system and between systems. Single Customer View

GDPR and Duplicate Data

Duplicate data has long been the Achilles heel of business’ worldwide. Whilst it may previously have taken the backseat, bad data has been brought to the forefront of business’ minds due to the introduction of GDPR. Duplicate data has always caused havoc with day to day business and its nuisance is now even more prevalent.

Let’s look at some examples of how duplicates can seriously compromise your ability to adhere to the new GDPR.

Take a classic CRM system and pick a loyal but temperamental customer called William Carter. Consider there were duplicate records for William Carter, one with Will as a first name and one as William. The record for William Carter has his date of birth and home address. Whereas the record for Will Carter has his date of birth, home address and phone number.

Scenario One – Our loyal customer Mr. Carter asks for access to his personal information, we look to our CRM system and find William Carter. We inform him that we hold his date of birth and home address. We cannot see that we have another record under Will Carter, the same person. We in fact also have his phone number. Months later we call Mr. Carter to inform him that he has won our customer raffle. Much to Mr. Carter’s displease as he was unaware we had his number. We therefore have broken regulation because we did not allow him access to all of the personal information. This led to the Mr. Carter cancelling his prosperous account with us.

Scenario Two – In this instance, both records of our customer Mr. Carter contain his email address, however only the record for Will Carter shows that he has opted out of email marketing. Again a few months down the line, we decide to send an email out to customers about our exciting new range of products. Once again our Mr. Carter is very displeased and we have once again potentially broken EU regulation.

You get the idea… There are an almost infinite amount of scenarios for how duplicates can wreck your efforts towards preparing for the incoming GDPR changes.

Death from above or a blessing in disguise?

The introduction of GDPR may seem like a pain in the backside. However, the introduction of GDPR will give business’ a long overdue nudge to clean up their data. Yes, it may seem an annoyance not to be able to email market to all customers on your CRM system, but the benefits of having clean useable data will truly revolutionize your business.

No longer will duplicates plague your CRM system.

GDPR is no reason to despair, it is a reason to get your data sorted.

Disclaimer: the content of this blog does not constitute and cannot be seen as legal advice, and should not form the basis upon which any person or organisation takes a decision or reaches a conclusion in regards to their rights or obligations.


Written by Martin Doyle

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.