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Data provenance: Be a star of GDPR

Data provenance: Be a star of GDPR

  • Jean-Michel Franco
    Jean-Michel Franco is Director of Product Marketing for Talend. He has dedicated his career to developing and broadening the adoption of innovative technologies in companies. Prior to joining Talend, he started out at EDS (now HP) by creating and developing a business intelligence (BI) practice, joined SAP EMEA as Director of Marketing Solutions in France and North Africa, and then lately Business & Decision as Innovation Director. He authored 4 books and regularly publishes articles, presents at events and tradeshows and can be followed on Twitter: @jmichel_franco

The big data ecosystem is constantly changing and with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) due to go into effect in May 2018, businesses need to deploy a coordinated approach to data management. Aging data architecture will not be able to meet the needs of the new EU regulations which prescribes much more stringent and specific rules on the use and storage of personal data than ever before.

The good news is that shifting to a modern data architecture can help to liberate data and make it more useful for your business. According to IDC research there is almost a 50:50 split between organizations that view GDPR as an opportunity and those that see it as a threat. While it certainly presents a challenge, GDPR provides a great opportunity to develop more transparent relationships with clients while simultaneously cleansing the data businesses hold to make it more usable. The opt-in rule that GDPR will introduce requires that companies need to know if, how and when each customer has opted in. All companies will need to have a comprehensive view of the private data they hold so that a clear digital paper trail for each customer can be identified. While this has clear privacy and transparency benefits for customers, it can also help businesses put more of the right data to work. Credit Agricole Consumer Finance for example, have been successful in capturing personal data from their customers to improve the customer experience.

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Creating a personal data hub

To be fully compliant with GDPR, data-driven enterprises will need to create a Personal Data Hub where all relevant data can be collated, making it easily traceable and readable. Updating legacy data architecture that enables the establishment of a personal data hub is a must.

The first step is to bring all the data into a data lake so that it can be connected to the personal data hub where it can be cleansed, discovered and shared. Cleansing legacy contact lists will eliminate any out-of-date information that is no longer useful to the business. Some 65% of organizations cleanse their customer data just once a year, have no processes in place at all, or simply don’t know how often their data is cleansed, according to Royal Mail Data Services research.

In the multi-cloud era, information may well need to be collated from several sources, with data quality tools helping to match disparate data. The data trail for one customer could cover numerous parts of a business. For example, private details could be held by the subscriptions department, as well as by sales, marketing and finance. Not only is the data often siloed in different departments, it may also be held in non-compatible formats. Bringing all this data together to build a “single version of the truth” will not only help companies to meet GDPR requirements but also enables easier collaboration between departments. This will help businesses to build trust with customers over the privacy and use of their personal information.

<<16 Steps to GDPR Compliance>>

Building trust through transparency

Master data management (MDM) will be needed for reconciling data and will also be essential for managing opt-ins, because these will apply across multiple applications. It will help to create a personal audit trail for each customer and then apply it across all the enterprise’s applications. Creating a healthier opt-in relationship with consumers will benefit both sides and the modern data infrastructure required will need to be built on a platform that runs on any cloud, so that all areas of the enterprise are covered. Infrastructure for data-driven companies will also require governance that is built-in and not merely an afterthought. It will be essential for companies to introduce the right data governance policies to implement parameters around opt-in periods.

Data portability is also important as GDPR requires that consumers can request access to all the personal data that a company holds for them at any time. There are many ways that companies could deal with this, including creating a tool to enable customers to easily download all their data. Some 82% of European consumers plan to exercise their new rights to view, limit, or erase the information businesses collect about them, according to a study from customer engagement software firm Pegasystems.

Ultimately, all companies will need the right data platform in place to ensure that GDPR does not have a negative effect on their business. While the new regulations may seem like a complex challenge, it’s not just about ensuring compliance. GDPR may also prove to be a useful catalyst in delivering data that you can trust, by cleansing and consolidating what you already have, while also helping to nurture a more trusting and transparent relationship with consumers.

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  1. A transparent and trustworthy relationship with the customer is paramount for success in this new digital age.