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Get Your Data in Shape: Preparing for GDPR | Part Three of Three



It’s 2018 and now you’re facing the reality of those lofty New Year’s resolutions. I don’t know about you, but mine are the same every year: lose weight and exercise more. Instead of backpedaling on your resolutions, how about setting a resolution that you can achieve like getting your contact data into shape?

As any firm can attest, over time, your contact databases can become bloated with old contacts, incomplete contacts, duplicate contacts and so on. These obsolete contacts hang out in your database and serve no purpose. Getting your data into shape means identifying good contacts, disposing of contacts you don’t need and ultimately removing them from your database.

This is important with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect May 25, 2018.

In GDPR, Article 5 lays out principles related to the quality of the data in your systems. Here are some principles you should get familiar with:

  • Adequacy. Is the personal data adequate for your purposes? Do you have data that is not needed or could be considered excessive? This principle is also called data minimalization. You should have the data you need, but not the data you don’t need.
  • Accurate. Is the personal data accurate? Is the data being kept up to date and maintained or has it degraded over time.
  • Retention. Is there data in your customer relationship management (CRM) system that is no longer needed? How long has it been since you used the data? Is there a legal reason to retain the data?

These all relate to how “in shape” your data is. Does your firm have the data it needs? Is the data accurate and is the data still needed? Knowing the answers to those questions is key to getting your data into shape. Answering those questions also helps ensure your firm is complying with the principles laid out in GDPR.

Deferring data and contact management is easy, but the longer you put it off, the bigger the job becomes. So, start by defining the characteristics of the contacts you want to keep and then develop a strategy or methodology to identify those contacts. Finally, determine what you want to do with contacts that don’t meet those characteristics.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach since characteristics of contacts you want to keep will vary from firm to firm. But here are some characteristics to consider:

  • Contacts that are clients or work for one of your client companies
  • Contacts that are prospects or work for one of your prospect companies
  • Contacts in a contract with your firm

Essentially, these are the contacts your firm currently communicates with for a variety of business purposes.

Characteristics of contacts you might want to purge or delete may include:

  • Contacts that are incomplete or contacts with insufficient contact information. For example, they only have a last name
  • Contacts that have no company association
  • Contacts with no activities within a specific timeframe
  • Contacts that are not known by any of your users

Essentially, these are the contacts with insufficient information or contacts that are not actively communicating with your firm. Considering GDPR principles, these contacts should be reviewed and then considered for removal or archiving.

InterAction® software includes many tools to assist with getting your data in shape:

  • Association Cleanup – Converts unassociated person contacts into people associated with firms.
  • Identify contacts without Contact Types – Identifies the relationship between your organization and the contact, the purpose of the contact in the Firm List, or the status of the contact. Contacts without contact types should be considered for deletion.
  • Out of the Box Data Quality Searches – Provides multiple searches out of the box to help you identify contacts that are potential duplicates, companies without associated people, contacts with potential duplicate phones or addresses, and more.
  • Out-of-the-Box Folder Dependency Rules – OOB FDA rules help categorize contacts into their appropriate contact types. Running these rules once or more each day will help organize your contact data.
  • Create new searches – You can create new searches based on criteria you specify to identify contacts that might qualify for deletion.
    Here are examples of how you can use the results:

    1. Does the contact have a company name?
    2. Is there an email address or a phone number?
    3. What folders is the contact linked into?
    4. Search for activities to help identify contacts that should be deleted.
    5. Who at your firm knows the contact?
  • Ability to create new FDA rules. You can create new FDA rules to help organize your contacts. These can use some on the new searches created.

Getting your data into shape is always a good idea. With GDPR coming into force this year, we strongly recommend you evaluate your firm’s data as part of your compliance efforts.


GDPR have your head spinning?
We’re here to help. Our latest webinar series provides you the tools, resources and know-how you need to prepare for GDPR. Reach out to your Account Manager today for an exclusive invitation to our February 8th webinar: GDPR – Protecting Your Assets.

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About John Burns

John Burns
John Burns is a Product Manager for InterAction.  Prior to joining LexisNexis in 2013, John founded, owned, and operated several successful small businesses, ranging from Data Center and Web Hosting to retail. John also held lead IT positions at US Bank and Key Bank, where he worked on customer-facing systems including, Bankcards, ATMs and 24x7 customer service.  Originally from Oregon, John attended Oregon State University and Portland State University.