Why Consulting is No Longer Just a Clipboard Exercise

When you engage a consultant to help you with a business issue – what is it that you expect from them?  For us, we’d be looking for expertise; strategic insights; challenging thinking.  Someone who brings us value that does not yet exist within our business or can offer an alternative view.

What you don’t want a consultant to do is burn time compiling spreadsheets or chasing people for extracts from databases – it’s not only a waste of their skills, it’s an expensive way to undertake this kind of exercise.

At Exonar, we believe in technology enabled consulting where the skills of the consultant are amplified by the fact that they’re focusing on bringing you value, in turn giving you greater value for money.  With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) high on the agenda of many companies (and consulting firms), now is a great time to look at how technology enabled consulting works.

Consulting Approaches to Data Discovery

The Problem with Traditional Methods

A traditional consulting exercise (sometimes referred to as the ‘clipboard method’) requires multiple interviews, collection of data and compiling of reports, all of which takes up considerable amounts of time.  The output of this kind of engagement is only ever as good as the input, what the consultant has been told or can discover, and is only ever the view of a single point in time.  Engagements can become multi-year contracts which fail to keep track with the digital pace at which organisational change takes place.

How Technology Enabled Consulting Helps

By employing digital search techniques, the task of collecting data no longer becomes one that relies on an individual’s ability to search, or to ask the right questions of the right person, at the right time.  Big Data and Machine Learning enable organisations to discover data in an instant, search according to keywords and categorise data in a consistent manner.  The consultant can focus on interpreting results and delivering strategic insights knowing that the source data is accurate and the business can make well-informed decisions, faster.

No More Hidden Data

With terabytes of data on every network, it’s impossible for any one individual to know every data point that they hold.  Acquisitions, duplication, decommissioned servers and even employees leaving the company can lead to data being hidden or lost.  This kind of data could pose a risk to your business either through creating a position of non-compliance, or creating a weakness in your infrastructure that leaves you exposed to hackers or leaks.

Keep Up – Don’t Get Caught Out

With the GDPR placing a heavy responsibility on organisations to ensure they respond to all requests from individuals for information on every piece of data held about them; and specifying that they must have audit trails in place, being able to rapidly identify, classify and structure data is critical.  Given the rate at which organisations capture and use data on individuals, it would be impossible for a person (or a team of people) to keep up.  Specialist consultants will be invaluable in helping you to strategically plan for GDPR, but digital methods are vital for organisations who are serious about compliance.

Investing in the Right Places

At Exonar, we’re serious about helping organisations to achieve GDPR compliance via a technology enabled approach. Our whitepaper will tell you more or simply get in touch to discuss how.

How Machine Learning and Big Data Can Be Harnessed to Achieve GDPR Compliance

Ask anyone with responsibility for corporate compliance, company data or customer information what is keeping them awake at night and the answer is likely to be the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

This is a piece of legislation so far-reaching that it will impact every single European individual who has shared their personal data with an organisation, and every single organisation that holds information on European citizens.

The stated objective of GDPR is : “To give citizens back control of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business”.

Big Data Sets Require Big Compute Power

The temptation could be to throw as much manpower as you can at the mammoth task of trying to find, classify and organise every data point that you have, but there is a smarter way: using Machine Learning and Big Data.  Here’s why we think it’s the right approach:

Digital Audits = Nowhere to Hide

Within many organisations are terabytes of shadow data held in places including redundant servers, duplicated databases and email servers where customer information has been shared across the business or with third parties.  Digital audits exclude the possibility of data being accidentally missed, or hidden by an employee wishing to cover up a mistake.

Big Data = Rapid Search

How we search today has been shaped by our experience of search engines.  Applying Big Data principles to GDPR compliance means that what would previously have been a manual exercise becomes as simple as using keywords and a browser.

Machine Learning = Intelligent Classification

Machine Learning enables you to define a set of criteria after which it will automatically seek and classify data and continue to do so as data is added – moving you from a ‘point in time’ exercise to an ongoing position of compliance.

Software Driven Discovery Uncovers the Unknown

A manual audit of your business would deliver results that are only as good as what your employees have chosen to disclose.  Software driven discovery removes the risk of human error or cover-up, materially reduces the amount of time and cost that the discovery process takes and produces an easy to understand data map that shows a clear, actionable path to remediating your risks.

Automated Processes = Consistency

Key to GDPR, or any compliance, is consistency.  Automating processes means that you’ll get the right result, every time.

To read more on why we believe that data management is at the heart of GDPR regulation, download our whitepaper here. To speak to us about how we can help you meet GDPR regulation faster and with more accuracy than a standard consulting engagement, get in touch.

Exonar: Getting You Ready for the EU GDPR

The EU GDPR – Get Your Copy Here!

In January 2012, the European Commission proposed a comprehensive reform of data protection rules in the EU.

On 4 May 2016, the official texts of the Regulation and the Directive have been published in the EU Official Journal in all the official languages. While the Regulation will enter into force on 24 May 2016, it shall apply from 25 May 2018. The Directive enters into force on 5 May 2016 and EU Member States have to transpose it into their national law by 6 May 2018.

The objective of this new set of rules is to give citizens back control over of their personal data, and to simplify the regulatory environment for business. The data protection reform is a key enabler of the Digital Single Market which the Commission has prioritised. The reform will allow European citizens and businesses to fully benefit from the digital economy.

REGULATION (EU) 2016/679 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation) is available here:

The EU General Data Protection Regulation