GDPR - No need to Panic! Blog by Data2Action

A recent chat over coffee with a good friend of mine highlighted the growing weariness of the 'white noise' associated with GDPR.   'Its everywhere' they said, 'people telling me that I should be doing this or doing that; I should be worried about fines and I now have to keep lots of extra paperwork'  she complained. 'All I want is some straight forward, plain and simple help!'  

Its hard to argue with the sentiment, over the last few months we've all been subject to the ever increasing chatter surrounding this years regulatory change and I'm sure I'm not alone in observing the negative and contradictory focus it continues to receive.  This sentiment was summed up in a recent article in which an executive referred to GDPR as 'Got Depressed Preparing for Regulation' and it is continually being reinforced with  articles, updates and blogs announcing that 'time is against us all', the 'disastrous consequences' for non compliance, the 'unimaginable complexity' of this change, the differences of opinion and bickering between 'experts' and that don't worry, an IT investment can 'save the day'.  I'm sure our coffee sentiments are being felt up and down the country.

But where's the 'plain and simple' help coming from?  Most businesses don't have the time nor resources to plough through the abundance of reading/training material that is online, deciphering the opinion and ambiguity so perhaps they could turn to the abundance of 'workshops' that are available.  However with most only limited to a couple of hours at best (I saw one last week that lasted 45 mins!),  I'm left asking myself whether a full and tailored understanding could be gathered in such a short space of time? I'm not convinced.  There is of course, an abundance of 'experts' (a term that I'm uncomfortable with) who are now appearing but I'm left wondering how business leaders can guarantee they are getting real value for money and ensuring that any solutions are successfully embedded into their organisations long after the expert help has disappeared.  After all, GDPR and management of datais an ongoing exercise not something that will sit gathering dust on a shelf somewhere.

GDPR is simply building upon the foundations laid by the Data Protection Act and for many businesses, a process of review and updates to existing policies and procedures will probably be suffice.  However for those who have yet to formalise an approach, there does appear much to do to, not only to have it implemented but also embedded as part of the culture of the business.  After all looking after our Customers (and their data) should be at the heart of every business!

It is clear that GDPR has to start with the senior stakeholders and the appointment of an effective sponsor who is equipped to deal with this change successfully is a positive step towards successful navigation of this change.  Starting with a detailed and considered plan that properly identifies all the areas of change and resources/ time needed is a must and this needs to be properly supported and owned by an effective business wide team. GDPR requires the focus of a number of disciplines including IT, HR, business processes plus a review of any 3rd party contracts that may be in existence.  It will be the ability to understand all these disciplines and pull the activity together that will underpin a successful GDPR transition.  

As part of a team with over 50 years senior level operational experience for some of the UK's best known brands, managing and embedding regulatory change is part of our DNA. We have also long since recognised the broader value of data to businesses and in particular, the importance of making sure that its available, accurate and actioned which, in fact are also the cornerstones of the GDPR regulations. With research highlighting that data driven companies are smarter, more agile, more efficient and more profitable, we incorporated Data2Action to help businesses drive value from data, understanding what they have and how effectively they use it to create commercial value.  GDPR is a natural fit as part of our broader product range and now as trained GDPR practitioners, we can combine our extensive operational and commercial experience with our knowledge of IT and data systems to offer a 'plain and simple ' menu of activity that offers practical solutions to help businesses.  Here are some examples:

  • We provide senior level sponsorship for the full programme, providing a clear 'operating bible' of everything businesses need to know about GDPR and the steps they need to take to ensure compliance. 
  • We offer a series of practical and action orientated awareness workshops that will introduce the details of the change and walk participants specifically through the actions they need to take to ensure compliance including examples.  
  • We offer a toolkit which comprises of  specimen policies and procedures that businesses can take and amend to satisfy the needs of the new regulations and thus reduce the time taken internally.

As someone who is old enough to remember the furore associated with the millennium switch over (that seemed to work didn't it!), I'm convinced that a broader focus on the importance of data can support  the transition to GDPR compliance and will have a positive impact on businesses and customer loyalty.

Good luck on your GDPR journey and remember, there is no need to panic!


Data2Action is a valued member of Design Network North. Design Network North is part of RTC’s new programme called ‘Designing Better Business’ – launched in 2016 - which will provide support for north east businesses looking to continue to innovate and design better world leading products.
RTC was founded in 1989 with the sole purpose of helping businesses innovate and create new higher value products. Today, the business operates out of offices in Sunderland, Gateshead, Leeds and Daresbury and specialises in helping companies develop new products, embed new skills through training and access funding for innovation.
Designing Better Business’ is part funded by European Regional Development Fund, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.