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Why GDPR and digitisation are the formula for success

Why GDPR and digitisation are the formula for success

The shift away from inbound paper mail and even email is a familiar story for many businesses.

Organisations are moving to online modes of delivery, such as self-service portals, virtual advisors, and chatbots. This trend is coupled with a huge regulatory hurdle on the horizon: GDPR.

Coming into effect on 28 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the new EU data protection framework.

GDPR impacts organisations established within the EU, as well as those based outside. It relates to processing activities for goods and services, or the processing of personal data of subjects inside the union.

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

GDPR also includes some onerous provisions to promote accountability and governance, elevating the importance of an organisation being able to demonstrate compliance with GDPR obligations. Essentially you must:

  1. Implement a clear governance process regarding what and how data is managed, processed, stored, retained and deleted;
  2. Maintain documentation, such as data protection manuals and personal data inventories;
  3. Conduct data protection impact assessments
  4. Deploy ‘privacy by design’ to ensure that privacy is embedded into any new processing or products that are deployed such as pseudonymisation techniques (i.e. processing data in such a way that it can no longer be attributed to a specific ‘data subject’) or data minimisation.

For many organisations this can leave a mountain to climb with the deadline less than 12 months away. If existing data processes are not up to scratch, it doesn’t give businesses long to get the right infrastructure in place.

Digitisation can provide one of the answers.

As mentioned earlier, 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 receipt, opening, 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 lies the opportunity, when set against this backdrop of GDPR.

Organisations can look to digitise existing paper processes, which then helps put the necessary framework in place to be compliant with the incoming regulation.

By seizing the strategic initiative to implement digitisation at an enterprise scale, 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 reduced costs through business process digitisation and automation.

Organisations can consolidate all inbound communications channels, across multiple media formats. This creates a single, aggregated and standardised electronic flow of tasks targeted to relevant business teams for specific actions.

Fully embracing GDPR forms an opportunity to realise the benefits of digitisation. It will undoubtedly help an organisation get its processes in shape for the future business landscape. After all, why just survive when you can thrive?

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