With an uncertainty over Brexit still in the air, many businesses are trying to prepare for its possible outcomes. However, one area is being overlooked, as Steve Whiting, COO, Agile Solutions (GB) Ltd explains.
With Brexit approaching many of us are starting to plan for the impact it will have on our businesses from supply chains, to payments, to regulations to infrastructure – but many of us are not focusing on data. Data is hugely important as it can aid decision making in the event of the different Brexit scenarios and also companies underestimate the need for enhanced volume of data for future management of the challenges.
With current EU regulations in place, such as GDPR, it’s crucial companies asses their data in relation to regulation and business processes as well as the implications that Brexit may bring. This means not only looking at your internal data as a business, but also auditing any data suppliers that you utilise.
The thought of a data audit may be terrifying but I will explain how it can be a great exercise not just for compliance and security but also for identifying new solutions that provide opportunities for the business.
1. Determine what data you have and where it is
For many organisations, there is often a lack of control over the data companies are holding and where it is. It’s crucial to find out exactly what data is held so it can be protected from security threats or breaches, be compliant and be utilised for management of ongoing risks from Brexit.
Your company data may be held by an EU provider such as your cloud supplier, which means there could be implications on access and regulations after 29th March, in addition disaster recovery (DR) services can also be located in the EU even if the main servers are UK based. It’s best to check all your providers are in the Convention 108+ which should safeguard all data in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.
At this stage you firstly need to asses compliance for each aspect of data and that your approach meets the requirements. This includes GDPR, BCBS239, Dodd-Frank, CCAR, Basel III, MiFID II, KYC, FATCA and any other regulations related to risk reduction and finances which have data elements.
Secondly, the exercise is an opportunity that allows you to understand how the data can be working harder for the business and refine your overall data strategy. Bringing in expertise from all teams to explore limitations on data, or what they would like the data to do for them –helps you find the best solution to help improve business agility and encourage enterprise thinking.
3. Invest in tech
Once you have an understanding of any gaps or weakness in the business, you can consider investing in solutions that are multifaceted. Enabling compliance but also good data management which will also enhance business agility for any future regulation that may come into play. It’s also worth bearing in mind that different data or business functions may require different approaches, and that one solution may not be right across the company.
Look at technology that can:
- Enhance record keeping practises
- Improve data privacy capability
- Integrate a data governance framework that can futureproof data in the event of changes in privacy law
- Seamlessly accommodate and support Cloud software and infrastructure including PaaS, SaaS and IaaS
- Aid with issues such as supply chain management
4. Implementation and evaluation
I am firm believer that in the modern world we all need a greater understanding of data, how to use it and how to protect it. Education on data literacy and good data management, will help any new solutions become a success and ensure ongoing business improvement.
Make data management part of your culture, plan for ongoing audits and request feedback from the teams using the data to make sure that processes are still fit for purpose and to identify when things to evolve.
The future for companies in the UK has never been more unknown as we approach Brexit, however by making sure your company is ready for any outcome will give you control over an uncertain future.
Steve Whiting is COO of Agile Solutions GB LTD.
Steve has over 15 years’ consulting experience working with leading UK firms on data management and analytics. As COO, Steve helps organisations understand how data should be utilised to drive their businesses forward and provide operational efficiencies or monetised outcomes. Steve is also an expert in the complex landscapes that many organisations have and is able to mobilise Agile’s resources and knowledge to provide industry-leading solutions for clients across all sectors.