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GDPR Master Data Management: A Cure for Compliance

By Scott Moore, Director of Presales, Semarchy

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is just as relevant today as it was when it became law. Since this wide-reaching legislation has massive effects on the business landscape, there is a lot being said about GDPR, and justifiably so.  
Big tech companies like Google, X (formerly Twitter), and Meta (formerly Facebook) were recently hit with hefty fines for violating data protection laws. However, these fines are not just for big tech companies. Any business that conducts online operations can be fined for non-compliance with data privacy laws.  
As we continue to see multimillion-dollar fines for GDPR master data management violations, IT vendors are repositioning their messages to align their solutions to claims that they can help organizations tackle the problems imposed by compliance.  
But how can you know what will really help tackle GDPR and what is just trying to draft behind the hype of GDPR? Let’s look at a real issue that must be addressed with GDPR, and what specific technology will accomplish what you need. As a reminder, GDPR governs the personal data of EU residents. It covers rights, such as the ability of EU residents to ask organizations to delete all of their personal information, ask how their data is used, and approve consent for personal data collection.  
Semarchy asserts that mastering your data with MDM will best position your company to get ahead of the issues surrounding GDPR. Having a GDPR compliant Master Data Management solution that can offer up a single point that will allow businesses to control, edit, delete, and manage data is a logical step in the right direction. A specific issue that MDM addresses is duplicate accounts referencing the same individual (in other words, how to tackle data duplication). 

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How to tackle data duplication 

Duplicate accounts and the need to deduplicate customer data pose a huge compliance threat under GDPR. For example, this morning, my colleague sent the team a picture showing six letters he received from the same company that arrived over the last few days (a global firm). Each letter aligns with one advertising activity. A few months ago, a different colleague mentioned his wife got duplicate letters x3 each quarter due to duplicate accounts (from a charity). It was obvious that the company in question does not have a customer data platform that is compliant with GDPR.  

Next year, if I were to request that a company delete all of my customer data that they possess, what would they do? They may delete one or a few of my accounts, but how would they ensure the deletion of all of my personal data? Their lack of deduplication leaves them exposed to massive fines. Yet, one of the key steps in being GDPR compliant is to deduplicate customer data.  

With the right technology in place, you can create a “master” customer record for 45p per individual (more on this later). Based on the assumption that it costs £1.50 to send a letter (postage, paper, print, printer cost, envelope, and man time, etc.). That investment breaks even at stopping one duplicate letter per 333 people per year. The breakeven figure is much higher when considering glossy mailshots, and it does not take into account wrong addresses.  

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In short, if you like the idea of looking into MDM and you are trying to build a business case, this mailing use case could pay for the solution. That does not consider the many other positive outcomes when mastering your data, such as segmenting your customer database for more targeted offerings. Whether or not you are currently looking into GDPR master data management, you must be concerned with GDPR compliance. 
You have to address the deduplication of your customer data to comply with GDPR, and Master Data Management software is the best tool to tackle this issue. However, the value does not stop at compliance. Clean, mastered, and deduplicated data (not only customers but also products, locations, etc.) will open up many other opportunities for business value. Knowing your customers, how they interact with your business, and what they have purchased will not only help you easily delete their data if requested, but it will also help you implement campaigns to improve customer experience, optimize marketing efforts, and uncover cross-sell and upsell opportunities. MDM technology is the key to turning GDPR compliance from an obligation into an opportunity. 

Want to create a GDPR compliant single source of data 

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Semarchy can help you discover the multiple benefits of master data (across any data domain) and give a solid understanding of issues such as duplicate accounts. Deduplication of accounts is just the tip of the iceberg for both the issues that need to be addressed for GDPR and the potential benefits of MDM. If you were ever looking for an excuse for MDM, GDPR might be it.  

Take this potential problem and turn it into an opportunity for your business to grow on a foundation of clean customer data.