The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a popular topic among businesses around the globe.  The law was originally introduced and adopted into place on April 27, 2016, and allotted a 2-year post-adoption grace period for businesses to meet compliance regulations. The formal enforcement date for fining non-compliant organizations took effect on May 25. Through a survey completed by BPTrends, Newton, Mass., revealed that in some cases, European businesses surpassed U.S. businesses on GDPR compliance by up to 500%. However, it should be noted that many European and U.S.-based businesses are adopting GDPR standards as good practice.

Business process management (BPM) entails how businesses study, identify, change and monitor business processes and modeling to ensure that they run smoothly while improving those processes over time. The data from the BPTrends report shows that no North American organization in 2017 spent more than $10 million on business process work or improvements, while five European companies spent $10-50 million, with one organization investing over $50 million. Process management can assist both European and North American companies in their processes when they become GDPR-compliant, however the emphasis on processes in Europe explains why those businesses are more prepared. 

With retail organizations looking to become GDPR-compliant, processes must change to better protect the organization and implement new workflows. Companies should draw up new plans for each store and headquarters and document and communicate to internal stakeholders, thus creating new processes. Much of the focus around the GDPR has been on data and data protection, rather than on processes that take place, which are equally as important for companies affected by the regulation. Keeping up with the tracking and reporting required to achieve regulatory compliance can cost retailers considerable time and resources. Without an efficient system, it’s no doubt that any retail store could easily fail to maintain compliance or efficiently keep up with internal deadlines that may require consent under the GDPR.

For example, some of these processes might include ways in which an organization deals with a data breach, documents that breach and secures their systems to prevent future problematic implications. The way a business handles consent and data management in compliance with GDPR is all through their internal processes. 

When it comes to avoiding monetary penalties, well-functioning process management is essential, yet many organizations do not see this as self-evident. A BPM system gives businesses the tools needed for rapid reaction to regulatory change. Compliance management is thus made easier, and complex rule sets are replaced by compliant and functioning processes. A BPM system can identify regulatory violations and risks in daily processes, ensure employees are correctly carrying out critical decisions, incorporate compliance changes into processes and ensure seamless traceability of new processes. 

For example, any company that conducts business in the E.U. or with E.U. citizens, otherwise known as “data subjects,” must be within compliance. For international companies, the processes of compiling and storing company data must be addressed. The GDPR states that any company posing a risk to E.U. data subjects can be fined up to 4% of their global revenue or $20 million, whichever is greater. If this international company were to experience a data breach of information, it could potentially be fined up to $1.1 billion, based on their 2017 revenue of $35.41 billion. 

Furthermore, process optimization not only prepares these companies for GDPR, but also provides workflow acceleration and process intelligence. All are critical with successfully implementing new GPDR regulations within an organization. Some basic operations of a BPM system include defining framework based on legal and standardized requirements, identification, documentation and prioritization of risks, assessing controls with supporting processes and procedures and test activities. Implementing these workflow processes to manage risk and controls is of the utmost importance, as it allows for a business to monitor and report while continuously improving. 

Effectively translating strategy into action is the cornerstone of business transformation, and using a BPM system assists in creating positive behaviors and mitigating threats businesses will encounter, as the organization embarks on its journey to GDPR compliance through process management.