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GDPR compliance gives competitive advantage

1 October 2019

Most firms still aren't fully GDPR compliant but a new report has found that compliance brings significant business benefits.

The Capgemini Research Institute has surveyed senior executives in businesses in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, UK, the US and India about GDPR. Its findings show that only 28% say they are compliant. However, the majority of these say it has had a positive impact on the reputation of their business and that it has given them a competitive advantage.

The report concludes that the position of many enterprises "remains uncertain in terms of compliance". However, the findings also show that the benefits of being GDPR-compliant are greater than expected. Of the organisations that have achieved compliance, 92% said they gained competitive advantage, something only 28% expected last year.

The vast majority of executives from compliant firms said it has had a positive impact on customer trust (84%), brand image (81%) and employee morale (79%). Other positive outcomes include improvements in IT systems (87%), cyber security practices (91%) and organisational transformation (89%).

Meanwhile, the survey found a clear gap in technology adoption between compliant organisations and those lagging behind. In particular, organisations compliant with GDPR are more likely to be using cloud platforms (84% vs 73%) and data encryption (70% vs 55%).

Compliance is highest with companies in the US (35%), followed by the UK and Germany (both on 33%), and lowest in Spain, Italy, (both on 21%) and Sweden (18%). Overall, another 30% say they are "close to" complete compliance but are still actively resolving pending issues.

The biggest barriers to achieving full compliance were found to be the challenges of aligning legacy IT systems (38%), the complexity of the GDPR requirements (36%) and cost (33%). In addition, businesses say the volume of queries from customers about their data has been high: 50% of US companies covered by GDPR have received over 1,000 queries, followed by 46% of French companies, 45% in the Netherlands and 40% in Italy.

"This research underscores both the challenges for companies in achieving GDPR compliance and the exciting opportunities for those that do," said Zhiwei Jiang, ceo of insights and data at Capgemini.

"Organisations must recognise the higher-than-expected benefits of being compliant, such as increased customer trust, improved customer satisfaction, strengthened employee morale, better reputation, and positive impact on revenue. These benefits should encourage every organisation to achieve full compliance."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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