On 25thMay, the regulatory environment for any business that holds more than a sliver of data on any EU citizen will change. The EU has changed the system in such a way that private individuals can potentially initiate an audit of businesses, that could result in that business being liable for €10 Million or 4% of global turnover.
This has already had one noticeable effect: a dramatic increase in emails from companies ranging from the amateur sports club you play for, to the online garden furniture specialist you bought a bird table from in 2005. In anticipation of new penalties, countless people have been spurred into action and have changed their behaviours. So far this has been nothing more than an annoyance:
- Legal protections are not yet in place
- The side effect of “Would you like to still receive our newsletter” emails is becoming a pest
In our product owner classes we often talk about metrics, and what we can do to influence them. If you are unhappy with the amount of defects in your product you could try to change the environment engineers operate in by:
- Paying a bonus for every bug fixed (many small bugs are likely to crop up)
- Withdrawing a bonus if reliability falls below a certain level (teams are likely to shun novel, valuable work)
- Mandating 100% code coverage
- Make an investment in good practice such as test automation and modern architecture (worth a try…)
You might even try to change customer behaviours by adjusting the environment in which they interact with your product:
- Getting them to use your new app rather than the web page
- Making your subscription option more desirable than a perpetual license
- Convincing them to upgrade from Internet Explorer 7
In each case, you come up with a plan that you hope will have the desired effect, and then you see what happens. Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it has unintended consequences.
So, what do you think will happen next with GDPR?
- Will it work?
- Will companies clean up their act?
- Will nothing really change as workarounds are gradually figured out?
- Will exploits around opt-in emails actually result in an increase in marketing emails?
Let me know what you predict!