Why Businesses Should Treat GDPR as the Great Digital Enabler

Like an unavoidable steam train powering down the track, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is fast approaching. But while the introduction of a new EU data protection framework in May 2018 can seem daunting, it is the perfect prompt to get your digital house in order.

GDPR impacts organisations established within the EU, as well as those based outside of it. Simply put, it relates to: (i) organisations that process personal data within the EU regardless of whether the processing takes place in the EU or not; and (ii) organisations outside the EU who offer goods and services to or monitor the behavior of people inside the EU. The ultimate aim is to create a more consistent set of rules across member countries.

Among the rules, GDPR includes some onerous provisions to promote accountability and governance around data protection. This includes implementing clear governance processes around how data is managed, processed, stored and deleted; as well as implementing ‘privacy by design’ into an organisation.

There’s also a pretty large stick to put off any organisations contemplating non-compliance. The maximum fines will increase exponentially to €20 million or 4% of an organisation’s total worldwide annual turnover (whichever is greater).

The digital advantage

A shift towards cloud means we’re seeing reductions in paper volumes for businesses. But despite this, physical documents are pervasive. There are still cultural and behavioural attachments to the portability, annotation and longevity of paper as a medium.

It means there’s still a significant burden of reduced productivity and cost felt through the persistence of paper. The sorting, classification, distribution, management and storage of paper creates cottage industries of clerical activity. This reduces overall effectiveness, slows down customer service process cycle times, and limits cross-functional visibility of the salient business data contained in paper documents.

So here lays the opportunity, when set against this backdrop of GDPR. Organisations can look to digitise existing paper processes, helping put the necessary frameworks in place to be compliant with the incoming regulation. By seizing the strategic initiative to implement digitisation at an enterprise scale, (amongst other benefits) it allows the identification of personal data at source.

Most importantly, this supports GDPR compliance. But the capture, processing and electronic storage of all inbound documents also allows organisations to reap significant operational benefits and competitive advantages.

At Ricoh we’re proud to have helped our customers realise the benefits of acceleration, increased productivity and lower spend through business process digitisation and automation. Take our IT, Business Process and Communication Services offerings. They each enable organisations to work in smarter and more efficient ways; helping them reduce costs while reaping the benefits of the digital workplace.

With GDPR on its way, a lot of people will try to sell quick and easy solutions. The fact is that each company will have to assess its specific needs and opportunities, and a partner like Ricoh can help make that process simpler, faster and more efficient.

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