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It's been a month since the General Data Protection Regulation came into place on 25th May 2018. Here are some reflections a month on...

My view is that amongst other activities GDPR is an opportunity for effective change regarding the digital world surrounding us. This seems a pretty obvious statement. However, like most of us, I’ve been receiving numerous emails and snail-mail telling or advising me how much organisations value my business and how seriously they take managing my data safely.

As it goes this is ok. However, all the emails and letters regardless of organisation look suspiciously as if they are “cut and paste” from around three or four standard templates. This does not fill me with confidence that the “words and music” of their correspondence is matched with related actions.

As an example, the continuing downward spiral saga of UK’s TSB and their customer data transfer…enough said!

When thinking about Organisational Change Management, GDPR and Digital, I’m reminded of Alphonse Karr’s quotation in his book The Wasps (translated from the original French) The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The GDPR response from organisations is directly related to the legislative governance applied on 25 May 2018. Here’s the thing. If organisations had been taking as much care of our personal data as they say they were, why would GDPR be necessary?

Maybe a topic for a future blog is the idea of appropriate, pro-active governance being a creator of business value rather than a cost, key word being “appropriate”.

I wish I knew to whom to attribute this, I don’t. Apologies and here goes: if it’s free, you’re the product!

As members of organisations, owners, leaders, managers, staff and customers it is our responsibility to take a reality, future-focus responsibility for our interactions going forward in the digital world.

Things have shifted to digital-based relationships, in the main. Our legacy mindset for relationships with government agencies, suppliers, employers has changed. This requires personal evolution to the real- world environment. i.e. taking personal responsibility for our personal and commercial interactions in the digital world. 

This matters to all of us regardless of being part of the Baby-boomers, Millennials or Generation Z.

GDPR may prove important bringing focus to data protection and commercial relationships. For example, the transition from legacy to digital banking based on internet and smartphone technology. The benefits to banks and similar organisations are obvious: cost saving, additional products and services and 24/7 availability, sometimes!

The benefits to customers are convenience and 24/7 banking, sometimes!

This is a “new” relationship with organisations, things have changed.

Organisations are transitioning, their idea of the customer- relationship has changed. As customers or staff members of these organisations, we require to evolve keeping pace with reality.

I’d recommend a read of Jeff Bezos’ Shareholder letters from 1997 and 2017.  He, on behalf of Amazon has a very clear view of what digital means and the evolving commercial platform. The same could be said of Netflix, Apple and Microsoft and many, many other organisations providing services. This changes our relationships with government and commercial organisations.

All of these organisations and many more, hold considerable data on us as individuals and collectively. They use it to provide “personalised products and services” based on our previous searches and purchases as anyone using online will readily appreciate.

WE need to keep up with this rate of change.

Digital is here to stay, the velocity of change will be unrelenting with more and more, everything connected to everything else.

This is the challenge at a personal level. It is a growing and increasingly important area for those involved in organisational change management.

We have a tiger by the tail!


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