Another long week travelling, meeting and planning for Beacon. Another tired flight home; now I am looking out over a sea of fluffy white clouds and thinking about GDPR* and big data.

The term “data lake” is currently in vogue, in an attempt to sexify the technical and mysterious task of delving into a vast amount of big data and bringing up pearls of information. Data science is about navigating disorganised sets of data to first organise, understand and then explain, the landscape that lies beneath and from there to reveal knowledge and information that may be of use to the explorer.

Opportunities and risks abound in equal portion. But with risks comes the chance for greater impacts.

Here be dragons; the scariest of which at present is the mysterious GDPR-beast operating in an EU country near you now! Whilst perhaps not quite (yet) at the levels of paranoia and confusion that Y2K introduced, signs are that we are heading that way. And yet, working with GDPR should hold no fear for an organisation that is focused on being fair and reasonable to its customers, contacts and website visitors.

At its heart, all that GDPR is trying to do is to allow people to share their data with organisations in a fair and equitable manner. Yes, we say, you can have my name, my email address, my favourite colour – to help you understand me better –  but first, explain why you want these things from me, ask if it’s OK for you to know them, and if I change my mind at some point in the future, do me the favour of respecting what I ask and forget about me.

The parallel with the “sex as a cup of tea” analogy may be helpful for some business owners bleating about how this will affect their ability to do business.

At Beacon, we care deeply about GDPR, because we recognise that it rewards open & honest organisations for being open & honest. We already ring-fence our customers’ customer’s data because the end-user wants a relationship with our customer, not necessarily with Beacon, nor any of our other customers. Now that GDPR has rolled around, customers using the Beacon platform have a fully GDPR compliant website visitor management platform.

None of this stops us mining our data lake – we can and will continue to do that to the benefit of our clients, as we should – because we know that knowledge mining works without identifying individuals and acts for the good of us – better and more relevant content that end-users want and need; better messages, engagement and understanding.

GDPR and big data lakes

GDPR means better data goes into the lake, which means that better knowledge comes out. Now that’s what we call using big data responsibly!

If you would like to talk to us about how we can help you manage your website visitor GDPR requirements, engage with us on Twitter, or contact me. I’ll have a decaf Hazelnut Latte – now that’s one piece of information you can keep!

*GDPR is the new EU General Data Protection Regulation which came into effect on May 25th this year.  To find out more, visit the official website: https://www.eugdpr.org/