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How resellers can cut through the GDPR fatigue

Resellers need to demystify the new regulations, and steer customers away from 'silver bullets'

Described as the biggest overhaul of privacy since the birth of the Internet, the EU's GDPR has finally come into effect.

Businesses may be looking forward to the noise around the topic dying down, but this simply won't be the case. While the official deadline for preparing has now long passed, on-going compliance is now a necessity and businesses will need to be in constant review of their position.

In order to become a trusted partner for its customers and wade through the evolving compliance needs that come with the regulation, the channel needs persevere and educate, and cut through the GDPR 'fatigue'.

Compliance is a marathon

The recipients of sales calls may be and tired of hearing about how they need to comply with the regulation, but that doesn't mean they're done on their compliance journey.

There's still confusion around the regulation and it seems like many organisations have been paralysed into inaction by a lack of clear guidance and leadership. This is understandable – but that doesn't mean that building a defensible position is not important; organisations absolutely still have to act.

With the regulation affecting every single business in the UK, as well as partners and customers throughout Europe and internationally, GDPR poses a huge opportunity for resellers, not only in growing sales pipelines, but also as a way to build trust with customers. Vendors with tools that genuinely help with GDPR are looking for channel partners with the skills and customer trust that will cut through the noise to give the crucial facts and guidance that's needed.

Some vendors have been hosting webinars and pushing their products as magic bullet solutions for GDPR compliance, and the truth is, it's just not that simple.

With real GDPR expertise thin on the ground, and a huge amount of confusion, the channel will need to demonstrate its expertise in the on-going GDPR struggle. That means understanding the legislation, and building the right partnerships, skills and portfolio to deliver the right combination of products and advice on systemic changes, to customers.

A new audience

This subject matter expertise, both about the business requirements and technology solutions required, will be integral for supporting the other big shift that GDPR is bringing to the channel – a new audience.

With the responsibility of being the customer's bridge between technology and compliance, resellers can expect to find themselves talking to a completely new audience in some cases, such as legal, HR or security executives. Resellers will need to adapt to this new customer and set of deliverables in order to overcome hurdles to GDPR conversations.

Practically speaking, this means mapping solutions against a new set of deliverables. Rather than looking at IOPS, ROI or TCO, speaking with C-suite officers, legal representatives and others means understanding the business impact of GDPR, and being able to map different products and solutions to the varied business implications that arise from the regulation.

Prove you're genuine

The channel has already proved itself to be a trusted partner for IT managers in organisations through their digital transformation journey, and their journey to achieve and maintain GDPR compliance should be no different. While digital transformation has its own stakes, chiefly in the form of market competitiveness, GDPR poses more of an immediate threat to a company's reputation.

However, while different, GDPR and digital transformation are actually well aligned and one can support investment in the other while delivering business benefits for both.

With this in mind, it has never been more important for the channel to live up to its reputation for delivering solutions – working to reduce compliance anxiety and industry fatigue with credible, clear and actionable advice.

For this reason, I'll share a word of caution. GDPR fatigue has emerged due to a lot of 'jumping on the bandwagon', with both vendors and resellers alike attaching anything they could to GDPR. The only way to get around this fatigue is to demonstrate that you actually grasp your customers' challenges and genuinely want help. Anything less, and you'll get sniffed-out straight away.

How to stand out

To that end, here are a few key things to consider when trying to set yourself apart in the GDPR noise:

  1. Invest in training your team around the regulation
  2. Help customers by weeding out vendor stories that have been 'GDPR washed'
  3. Don't sell customers on a GDPR "silver bullet" – there isn't one
  4. Leverage workshops that encompass the needs of all the interested parties within an organisation
  5. Continually update customers as legislation changes, breaches develop and courts refine the regulation.

By taking these steps, the channel can easily become the trusted GDPR partner that organisations are so desperately in need of.

Bruce Park is VP EMEA of channel at Commvault 

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