Ready, set, GDPR: What Infor Marketing is doing to prepare

February 16, 2018

By Amy Auriemma, VP of Marketing Operations

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or on an extended walkabout in the Outback, you have no doubt heard about GDPR. This, I hope, is especially true if you are a marketing professional. GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is the European Union’s new regulation governing the way personal data is collected, processed, used, and stored. As we rapidly approach the May 25 deadline for global compliance, all companies that conduct business in the EU are preparing, and Infor is, too. From updating contracts with vendors and customers to ensuring our software is compliant, Infor’s preparations are well under way, including within our marketing organization.

GDPR impact on marketing

While GDPR has many implications for IT, product management, legal, sales, and just about every other department of a large enterprise software company, the day-to-day concerns and logistics of compliance naturally lie with marketing.

GDPR’s purpose is stated as follows:

“Its aim is to strengthen the rights of data subjects within the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) with regard to how their personal data is used and how it’s protected.”

In more consumable terms, if your job as a marketer requires you to communicate with anyone who lives in the EU or is an EU citizen regardless of location, you must be cognizant of and compliant with the laws of consent and the definition of “legitimate business interest.” Otherwise, you cannot do any outbound communication. In the context of outbound emails, progressive profiling, behavioral scoring, and call campaigns, GDPR is a game changer.

Infor Marketing’s preparation for GDPR

Compliance efforts within marketing are being driven by our Marketing Operations Team, and include technology configuration and enablement as well as coordination with the larger organization’s GDPR compliance initiatives.

What will be required from a technology standpoint to comply with GDPR?

Infor’s marketing technology systems will play a key role in GDPR compliance. As a marketing organization, we must be able to receive consent information and track expiry dates. Doing so requires working with IT and legal to ensure we know what constitutes consent, how we capture consent information, and where we keep it as it relates to the contact record. At Infor, we are configuring functionality in our customer relationship management system (Infor CRM) and integrating it with our marketing automation tool to hold and track consent.

Will marketers be able communicate with customers and prospects after May 25?

Infor’s Marketing Team is running “opt-in” campaigns to our known contact universe to collect as much consent as possible before the GDPR deadline, which will allow us to continue marketing to people with whom we have existing relationships. Naturally, through these campaigns, we will also increase our “opt-out” population, but this is a necessary result to continue marketing in the EU after May.

How is Infor enabling marketing staff for GDPR?

The Marketing Operations Team is creating enablement for all Infor marketers to educate them on the importance of GDPR and how it will affect them. These enablement efforts educate marketers on how suppression in our marketing automation tool will prevent them from emailing contacts for whom we lack appropriate consent information. It’s critical that all marketers understand the impact of the new requirements, as well as real-life examples of how it will impact them in the future. To be clear, however, Infor’s Marketing Operations Team is responsible for ensuring we will be compliant in our technology stack, instead of relying on marketers to make good choices.

How will Infor ensure compliance and how far is its span of control?

There’s no way to completely fool-proof any organization. However, Infor’s Marketing Operations Team is doing everything possible to prevent violations on the part of marketing, including educating our team and appropriately configuring our technology stack.

However, marketing isn’t the only group within Infor that has access to contact data. How do we ensure that everyone at Infor avoids violating GDPR regulations, either with intent or due to lack of understanding? These larger compliance efforts require coordination with Infor’s corporate GDPR initiatives and deep collaboration with sales and IT. Clear policies and procedures that govern how everyone is expected to act are also a necessity. Compliance is and will be an ongoing effort at Infor, as it should be at any company. Much like a relay race team, we must ensure that when we hand off, the baton is not dropped.

That which does not kill us makes us stronger

GDPR compliance efforts can seem a bit overwhelming. However, there is great opportunity here, as well. This new regulation will drive organizations of all types to be better — better corporate citizens, better at technology, and better marketers. With the introduction of GDPR on May 25, Infor marketers will do more of what they aspire to do best — targeted and relevant marketing campaigns. We have the opportunity with GDPR to ask deeper questions about an individual’s preferences. It will be expected. It will be the new normal. And we will know that the people we are talking to actually want to hear from us.

I, for one, look forward to May 25. It will bring challenges, I am sure, but it will also bring reward through greater dedication to data governance and data-driven marketing, providing growth opportunities for everyone.

Amy Auriemma leads Infor’s Global Marketing Operations. She is a US Navy veteran, Georgia Woman of the Year in Tech honoree, and an avid marathon runner.

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