General Data Protection Regulation

Workday’s David Hunt And Watchfinder Jonathan Gill Talk GDPR At Computing Seminar

A recent web seminar by leading IT news provider Computing.co.uk saw Workday’s David Hunt and Watchfinder Jonathan Gll talk about GDPR and data transformation.

The new European Union General Data Protection Regulations is a big driver behind the current popularity of digital transformation programmes according to Workday’s David Hunt. The new regulations that will come into force in May 2018 will see any company in the world who process or store the data of any European Union citizen have to comply with them. Failure to do so will see companies face fines of €20m or 4% of annual worldwide turnover, whichever is greater – far exceeding the current maximum of £500,000 that exists in the UK. Fear of such fines is leading more and more companies to engage with GDPR and a wider data and digital transformation.

“The GDPR, which is coming into force in May 2018, is a significant driver behind digital transformation,” said Hunt. “Senior executives understand that the threat of the fine is real, so something needs to be done. And every employee in an organisation should understand the journey, and the digital strategy,” he added.

Hunt also discussed the role of IT, explaining that it had grown closer to the business.

“I see digital transformation as being the process of an organisation embracing new technology to better itself. And you should tie that transformation to an organisational objective.

“We’re also seeing that the role of the Chief Information Officer and senior IT executives is changing. They’re building stronger relationships with other parts of the business like marketing, HR and finance. So they’re able to create real business value with these digital initiatives,” he said.

Later in the seminar, Jonathan Goll, IT director at Watchfinder, the leading pre-owned watch specialist discussed how digital transformations can initially be resisted by some employees but once completed are very popular.

“We looked at our purchasing systems, because we buy watches from the general public, and want to give them the best prices, but we also have a business to run. We found that the guys doing the pricing can be affected by their moods. We wanted to get them to operate a standard procedure, so we transformed the way they work and moved to a system which suggested prices for them.

“And there was a lot of resistance, the guys thought we were putting them out of work. It took a while to work with them to say we’re not replacing you, we’re augmenting you. We wanted to take away the repetitive work and let the human brain do what it’s good at, which is pattern recognition, building relationships and problem solving. We wanted to make their lives easier. A few months later the guys came back to say yes we see what you mean now. They went from pricing 15 watches per day each, to over 100 watches per day. But they also realised they’re still in control, and that they can affect how the algorithm works,” added Gill.

Unfortunately however, whilst many organisations across Europe and the world are engaging with GDPR and undergoing their own digital transformations to comply with it, many aren’t. In the UK for example, the most recent statistics have seen 24% of organisations admit that they will not be ready for GDPR. This could see them face some hefty fines.

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