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New European data laws a major CIO opportunity

Protect your organisation’s revenues or pick your prison cell

The European Parliament has voted in a series of incredible opportunities for CIOs and business technology leaders. CIOs will, more so than ever before, be responsible for keeping the organisation out of jail and the Daily Mail, but also need to ensure information services are customer focused and easy to use in such a way that switching is easy, which means CIOs must decrease customer churn.

The new General Data Protection Regulation, which will be enforced from 2018 places a significant value on the information organisations hold. Under the terms of the regulations, which are a major update to existing legislation, EU citizens have a fundamental right to data protection in the member states of the EU.  But the EU believes the General Data Protection Regulation isn’t just going to protect citizens from the harmful effects of a data breach, the regulations will “create a digital single market” it states.

Under the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation organisations suffering a data breach within the EU could face a fine of 4% of global revenues. Imagine the impact on UK telecoms firm Talk Talk if it had to payout 4% of its revenues following its recent breach.  Organisations that do suffer a breach have exactly 72 hours to inform customers and the authorities.

For the CIO community, I believe that despite the draconian sound of 4% of global revenues and a 72 hour revelation, this regulation is a significant opportunity for business technology leaders. The UK is the most advanced digital economy in the European community and will be the best placed to benefit from economic opportunities. For CIOs with a strong lean towards compliance and security this regulation opens up an avenue to demonstrate and deliver on protecting the organisation from breaches and those all important revenues in the continuing recession.

Under the regulations large organisations must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO).  As the C-level evolves in organisations, whether it is CDOs replacing CIOs or Chief Product Officers stealing the head of sales roles, a Data Protection Officer role is a significant position for those business technology leaders whose strengths are in operational excellence and compliance, whilst CDOs will reform the operations and customer services of the organisation.  Data Protection Officers will have a role with significant scope, Horizon has been working with N2S and heard terrifying stories of hardware abandoned by accident in building consolidation programmes that has led to scammers being given a data gift horse from which to ransom organisations.

CIOs and CDOs will need to really raise their game under these regulations too, which increases the data portability rights of citizens in the European community.  This will mean organisations will need to constantly delight customers with great services across all aspects of the organisation. The critical role of user experience will only increase.

I foresee that customer identity will therefore become one of the most strategic aspects of business technology leadership. Icon Business Media, which publishes Horizon, is carrying out a major research project on this topic and its impact at every level of the organisation from physical presence, online product, production to shipping, sales and marketing.

Regulations place strains on any organisation, the opportunities present in the new General Data Protection laws offer the UK’s business technology leaders career opportunities. The UK’s excellence at digital services provides it with an opportunity to become the leading provider of online business in the EU. The major question mark is whether the UK will remain a major player in Europe or sacrifice the opportunity to settle a political spat.

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About Mark Chillingworth 224 Articles
Mark Chillingworth has over 20 years of journalism and editing experience across all media platforms including online, live events, print magazines and television.
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