Customer attitudes and business challenges

When was the last time you gave information about yourself to an organisation? Were you happy to hand over the data? Did you worry about it, or did you do it because you wanted something specific in return?

If you’re anything like me then these sort of questions are a fact of life and that’s because consumers now understand the value of their data more than ever. I, like many of us, will happily share my information if I know it’s being looked after and if it’s for a good reason.

This month sees the launch of new research in the wake of our recent Global Data Management Research. This new project from Experian and Data IQ focusses on consumer attitudes towards data use in light of forthcoming GDPR compliance.  So why does this matter so much?

It’s because the way that organisations manage data and its quality will have a big impact – not just on how much consumers trust them but on whether they are able to meet evolving regulation.

What can we learn from the research? Here are some key findings…

14% more people are more willing to share data than last year

We saw three defining consumer attitudes towards data use – trusting, rational and cautious. The good news is that despite the increasing value people place on their data, their readiness to share information is generally improving, however this comes with a caveat. While 22% of consumers are happy to share their data if they trust the organisation, 42% will only share information if they feel it has been explained why it is needed.

How well organisations manage their data and how transparent they are, plays a big role in shaping consumer attitudes and trust. Data IQ’s research identifies the impact of poor data quality across business departments and how improvements to data accuracy on behalf of consumers can benefit their own insight and customer loyalty.

Data quality maturity doesn’t appear to match GDPR readiness

Data IQ’s research identifies that two thirds of companies consider themselves ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ prepared for GDPR, encouragingly up 12.9% since last year. The research also benchmarks how mature organisations perceive themselves to be in terms of their adoption of data and analytics, ranging from ‘planning’ through to ‘advanced’. Interestingly, comparing GDPR readiness with perceived levels of maturity seems to imply that perhaps there is a gap in perception of how prepared businesses think they are for GDPR. Only 41% have a mature strategy with the majority (58.9%) still in the ‘early’ or ‘reactive’ stages of maturity.

Data quality fundamentals are still missing

When we dig deeper into the statistics from this research, it’s not hard to see where businesses are letting themselves down. A large number of companies are still missing data quality fundamentals; with the basic tools such as the use of data suppression and customer data matching and enhancement services down year on year by over 20% and 10% respectively. With the emphasis that GDPR places on data accuracy, enhancing the rights of individuals to access, correct and delete their personal data, this downward trend is likely to create a compliance gap.

Data quality isn’t a nice to have

To be able to comply with enhanced data subject rights and increased obligations, such as SARs and data portability, organisations will need to consider what measures they can put in place to manage data quality. Businesses should stop thinking of data quality as a nice to have. By ensuring the accuracy of data, standardising and removing duplicates, some companies are already halfway there. Companies should focus on moving up the data quality maturity curve quickly to avoid any potential fines and meet the deadline. We wouldn’t however necessarily expect all businesses to get to the last stage of maturity, in this case ‘Advanced’, before May 2018. Certainly highly regulated industries may wish to do so, but we believe that as a minimum, organisations should aim to have a ‘Proactive’ maturity strategy to satisfy compliance.

Whilst we appreciate GDPR preparation presents a significant hurdle for many businesses, there are also a number of benefits from getting it right aside from just compliance. In fact unsurprisingly, 69% of businesses cited that where they made investments in data quality solutions they have seen a positive return on investment.[1]

I always welcome new research because the better the picture we have of consumer and business attitudes, the more we are able to help customers navigate the best way to manage data and meet regulatory requirements. All the information we have points to the speed at which consumer attitudes are evolving and forthcoming regulation means that this time next year could look very different. In my opinion there’s never been a more important time to make data quality an absolute priority.

To delve deeper into the trends uncovered by the Data Preparation and GDPR Report, click on the banner below. Alternatively, you can download the webinar where we shared the results of the research here.

[1] Experian Data Management Research 2017

Please note that while we can support businesses with their preparations for the GDPR, we cannot offer legal counsel or compliance advice.