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Protect your customer data and comply with the GDPR using a CRM

With the intention of both bolstering and consolidating data protection for all individuals within the EU, the European Parliament intends to introduce to all EU States the General Data Protection Regulation (EU2016/679 (GDPR). The UK Parliament has confirmed that, despite the decision to leave the EU, the introduction of the Regulation will commence as planned on 25 May 2018.

From the European Commission’s initial proposal in 2012, the implementation of the Regulation has proceeded at a slow but steady pace due to the considerable complexities, the multitude anxieties and different agendas between the 28 member States. However, such slow progress has had the advantage whereby the European Commission will have had an ample time frame of six years to ensure that such anxieties and concerns by individual member States have been rigorously debated, resolved and finally refined within a legal framework.

What is the GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new set of data security regulations that will affect any organisation that stores, handles or processes EU Personally Identifiable Information (i.e. any data that could potentially identify a specific individual) regardless of where the organisation is based in the world.

Historically, each EU State was responsible for their own data protection Laws and, where EU Directives have been issued, individual countries cherry-picked the parts they were happy to implement while ignoring those parts that were not seen to be in their best interests. All will change within the whole EU with the full introduction of the GDPR as every EU member will be bound by the same Regulations, thus creating, for the first time ever, an equality of data protection for the whole EU.

The Regulation will require that every company provide effective collaboration that they are operating within the Regulations and that they are adequately handling and protecting any personal data they hold. Heavy fines will be imposed upon those companies (up to 4% of global annual turnover, or €20,000,000.00, whichever is the higher.)

With the extra administration involved in this process, many companies may need to consider a more robust management tool with which to manage their GDPR obligations. An effective strategy for this aim would be the introduction of an effective CRM application which could manage your GDPR obligations with ease.

A CRM application can help manage your GDPR data as well as keep your compliance of the Regulation to the highest standards by:

Consent — A CRM application can provide multi point consent tracking, including logging the times and dates of any form of communication (telephone recordings, email tracking, online forms) with customers. Information related to each record, including consent, can be stored in one single, easily accessible place in turn making data retrieval as evidence that you are compliant with GDPR very much more efficient and timely when a Data Protection Officer requires proof of your compliance.

Storage — An efficient CRM application will store and manage data more securely as CRMs usually come equipped with a variety of security measures and anti-hacking tools. Multi-levels of restricted access can be implemented via the use of usernames and passwords.

Accuracy — A CRM application also helps improve all-round accuracy across all aspects of your data. Data validation applications such as address verification or email validation can be used at the point of collection. These processes ensure you maintain accurate user records which are managed consistently using a central database. There is no room for complacency or mistakes when the GDPR is implemented

Integrity and Confidentiality — With confidentiality being one of the key drivers of the GDPR, it is extremely important that you have a system in place to store and safeguard personal data. A CRM application protects sensitive or confidential information by the use of passwords and data encryption. Data will also be updated on a more regular basis to help maintain its integrity.

Access Request and Right to be Forgotten - This fundamental right could take significant effort and resources, spending time searching through a number of different locations for all the correct information. Conversely, a CRM application will allow you access to information within an instant. It also enables the deletion of data using the one centrally stored database rather than having to go through various systems or files in order to find or delete data. These type of CRM features will unquestionably save you time and money as well as eliminating the possibility of errors and risking a hefty fine.

Safeguard Against Data Breeches — Restricted access, passwords and data encryption are all features readily available in most CRM applications. A CRM is a safe and secure place to store your data. It’s a necessity for anyone looking to effectively manage customer data with ease.

SalesAgility’s SuiteCRM is an application that is most adept with the management of data and those processes required by General Data Protection Regulation.

Should you require a more detailed overview of GDPR, please download our comprehensive GDPR White Paper which is freely available. If you require any further information on how a CRM application can help with the GDPR then please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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10 Best Practice Tips for CRM Implementation

Much has been written about CRM implementation. There is a vast array of important and influential factors which have to be considered when implementing a CRM strategy into a business. The most fundamental point I would make is that a CRM is more than just technology, it is both a philosophy and a strategy. It should be noted that CRM software is o...
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How a CRM System Can Improve Your Marketing

The marketing norm today seems to be pretty aggressive in its approach. We are bombarded daily with emails promoting companies we've signed up for and even more that we haven't. Our information is so readily accessible that it makes it very easy for any company to acquire our personal details.In reality we don't tend to open these emails. We're too...
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Free software is dangerous in the wrong hands

The problem with free and open source software is that it can be free to acquire. Paradoxically, it's also one of the greatest benefit.

A problem with free is the barrier to entry. Anyone with the skills to deploy web applications can acquire an enterprise-class suite of open source software and market themselves as a Document Management expert, or CRM expert, or CMS expert.

They will then convince a client to spend money with them, implement the open source solution very poorly and take the money and run. The resultant application takes a reputational hit. We've seen it too many times over the years. Very poor SugarCRM implementations by "Consultants" who have a passing knowledge of Sales Force Automation and less knowledge of SugarCRM.

It's worth putting this in context. When we recruit a new software engineer/consultant, the learning curve is about three months. That's three months for a consultant of understanding  business domains and the value of CRM, the value that SugarCRM brings to various business process demands and the optimum architecture and functionality for addressing specific business needs.

For an engineer, it's three months of understanding the framework, the architecture, the development best practices, the code base, the functionality, the extensions, the in-house component libraries and the quality management system that sustains us.

A passing knowledge of SugarCRM is not enough. Eat, sleep, breathe, love SugarCRM - that's enough.

So, the mini-rant about opportunistic consultants is delivered. Why is free also open source's greatest asset?

It's precisely because of the free to acquire and the low cost of entry.

Any software engineer with time to study, talent and willingness to learn can acquire the software and become expert on the platform.

Any consultant with time to study, talent and willingness to learn can acquire the software and become expert on the platform.

In both of the above, what they are unlikely to acquire is experience. But the vital steps have been taken. I'd rather have an engineer with great knowledge and understanding but shallow experience than one with shallow knowledge and understanding and greater experience.

The inquisitive mind can't do that with SalesForce or Microsoft. They can't see the code and they need to pay pretty hefty licence fees to access the functionality. The same applies to the proprietary versions of SugarCRM like Professional (although they can see the code after paying the licence fees).

Open source is invaluable for learning. It reveals the inner workings of real large-scale software programmes and does so at low or no-cost. It enables the ranks of the inquisitive to become knowledgeable. It enables the ranks of the able to modify, correct or extend the code for the benefit of one customer or for all customers.

Ultimately, open source cannot be responsible for incurious or incautious customers. Those that engage a Consultant or Software Engineer with a free and open source product without having a clear understanding of their own business needs and understanding how the engineer/consultants intends to implement and exploit the software to meet those needs - probably get what they deserve and will hopefully emerge from the experience wiser.

As the old adage goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Free software does not mean no-cost software. All software is an investment and well-thought out and strategically alligned software is a long-term investment - free and open source or not.
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UK Open Source Awards 2014

SalesAgility is delighted to announce the UK Open Source Awards 2014

Why

Open Source is the general direction of travel for software both in the infrastructure and the application stack. Unlike it's neighbour in the proprietary software world, Open Source does not have mountains of cash to splash on expensive marketing or corporate entertainment.

The Open Source Awards (OSA) is designed with a single primary purpose in mind: To give the air of publicity to Open Source and the many innovations that are delivered by UK based open source companies.

It is advertising for the movement and the companies that exist and innovate within Open Source.

A secondary benefit is the networking opportunities that an event with 200 business and technology users can deliver.

What

There will be three awards:

Company – for the company that demonstrates the value of open source through commitment to a project or projects. Particularly aimed at disruptive, high profile or innovation-led companies. The winners will receive a prestigious trophy.

Project – for the single project that demonstrates the value of open source. This can be innovative use of multiple project components to solve a particular business problem or a free-standing project that can demonstrate innovation and value. Particularly aimed at disruptive, high profile or innovation projects. The winners will receive a prestigious trophy.

Student – for the student that can demonstrate the most innovative application of open source technologies to address real world business issues. The student award includes a trophy and £500.

We will be engaging with the mainstream national press, technology press and major technology websites to advertise OSA and its outcomes.

There will be an Awards Evening with a keynote speaker (TBA) and the awards ceremony.

Finger buffet, wine, beer and light drinks will be provided.

Entrance to the awards is free of charge.

Where

Edinburgh University Informatics Forum.

Edinburgh University is one of the top computing faculties globally. The award-winning Informatics Forum is a centre for innovation and interaction in the centre of the University. It sits alongside new teaching, conference and technology transfer facilities.

The Forum can accommodate 200 visitors.

When

February 26th, 2014. Evening event.

Who

There are 3 audiences for OSA:

  1. Award Nominees – Companies involved in Open Source

  2. Award Ceremony Attendees – Individuals, employees, investors, commentators, ecosystem partners, students and media representatives.

  3. Sponsors

How

To nominate a company, project or student for an award, please visit the OSA website at www.opensourceawards.org

To apply for tickets for the awards event, please visit the awards website at www.opensourceawards.org

The website will be available from Monday 9th Dec for nominations and event registration.

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