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The Intelligent MDM Blog

GDPR and Evolutionary Master/ Reference Data Management

By Aaron Machej

The EU has imposed new legislation on data protection giving people more control over their personal information including the right to be forgotten online. It aims to give citizens back control over their data. It also means companies could face huge fines for breaching the new law.

In addition, individuals must be notified in a comprehensive manner if their data is to be processed and or transferred to another service provider.

What is the time frame?

Simply put the regulation, which was adopted this year, comes into force in 2018.  This does not leave much time for businesses to assess solution options and figure out which ones could benefit the broader business at the same time.

Is Master Data Management (MDM) the answer?

In a recent conversation, MDM/RDM (Reference Data Management) was described to me by a client as being the table that supports the rest of their information management infrastructure.

MDM can help in tackling the issues imposed by GDPR regulation.  And at the same time, it can bring a vast amount of additional value to an organisation.

Broader Business Value (The Golden Record)

  1. General operational value.  MDM offers rapid access to accurate information within a business
  2. Data quality.  Your golden record will be made up of the best data from multiple sources. At the same time, you will be able to have visibility of data that does not make up the golden record.
  3. Data Governance.  Now you can see all of your data in one place you can control and manage its use across the business.
  4. Business Intelligence.  Better data, better reporting, better and more profitable decisions.
  5. Customer service. I could go on for an age about this but will choose just to say customer service improvements = X,Y&Z
  6. Targeted and accurate marketing.  Which is a particular bug bear of mine (get it right often and I will open marketing emails).  Bulk marketing is where you can expose yourself to customers who may become frustrated with the use of their information and or become aware of what kind of data (relevant or irrelevant) you hold on them.  P.S. my child is 5, you have not seen nor heard any activity from me that suggests I have another one.  So no, I do not want my inbox filled with offers on baby grows….. you know who you are!!! (every business that I purchased any kind of baby product from).

To the case in point

The situation is that you have to be able to present, delete and notify on all data that is held against a consumer or business.  With an MDM solution, you now have good visibility of data and the sources where said attributes are held.  The ability to cleanse and enhance data within an MDM solution helps to keep the data relevant.

  1. You can quickly erase a customer record
  2. You can maintain a more relevant record, meaning it is more likely you will keep the record
  3. You can quickly and effectively give visibility to customers who want to know what you hold against them.  Which as a result gives them more confidence in you as a data controller
  4. Risk reduction in terms of regulatory fines
  5. Readily understand exactly what data is to be processed/transferred and which customer this applies to
  6. You can make decisions in advance that could help you keep some of the data even if there is a request to delete.  Applying process to a request can enable anonymisation of a record, this, in turn, will help you keep some of the value against it.  I will reiterate, understanding the data in advance and being able to transform data from one source will make this cheaper, easier and viable.

Why Evolutionary MDM?

MDM itself seems like a great way to tackle the issues raised by the new legislation.  That being said, if you have had exposure to the more traditional/legacy solutions you may be aware that these projects can take years and are not agile enough for a business to adapt as they embrace new regulations.  Which means you have to get it right first time.

Evolutionary MDM solutions, on the other hand, have been developed with agile/continuous improvement at their core.  Implementation times are weeks – months and they are relatively simple in terms of being able to adapt to the ever-changing requirements imposed on an organisation.  This then optimises the value made on an MDM investment.

Learn more about Evolutionary MDM