Marketing Buzzwords : GDPRexiTrumpY2Kloud

19 April 2017

Buzzwords drive me nuts. The marketing machines latch on to them to the exclusivity of everything else and although many of the topics are important, they become lost in the race to associate a product or service to the topic.

Take GDPR for instance. It’s prolific! Everyone on social media these days is getting bombarded with a million posts a minute about the latest and greatest way to overcome the risks of this looming legislation. Based on some of the marketing bumph; if you were a naïve buyer, you would assume that purchasing a firewall could protect you from literally thousands of pages of complex data protection legislation relating to some abstract and complex concepts regarding identity and consent which I don’t profess to fully understand.

The same happened with Brexit, Trump, Y2k and Cloud. In an attempt to scare people into buying their product, IT and Telecoms vendors jumped on the various buzzword bandwagons to try and tenuously link their bland dull services to something people might care about. The issue this creates however, is the dilution of the actual message, to a point where the noise becomes unbearable and people switch off. This is the polar opposite of what the industry needs right now.

From a Clients perspective, I think it’s important to understand what you need internally as a business, before you engage with people who have an agenda. Many of these macro industry shifts; such as GDPR or Brexit, have very specific and business related impacts that vary from company to company rather than at an industry level. Assess the situation internally, conclude the approach you are going to take at a business level internally, identify any mitigating actions you need to take internally, source product/services to address this specific to what you need and ignore all the marketing bullshit being thrown at you because it all has an agenda.

The only exception I would recommend to this approach is if the skills needed to assess your impact are not possessed internally – in which case seek some good and impartial advice on how to engage with the situation. There are plenty of business consultants who study, or are qualified in data privacy and protection who can help you navigate GDPR for a day rate and I can almost guarantee that they would save you money and time in the long term over trying to read it all yourself!

Under full disclosure, my agenda from this post is simply to rant about my social media feed. I am not qualified to advise on GDPR or the economic impacts of Brexit or Trump (I have friends who could if you want me to introduce you). I can advise on cloud if you want me to, but I can imagine you’ve already sussed that.

And once you’ve scoped and boxed the problem, internally sorted your approach and budget, had a chat with a few suppliers and put it on the project list – get on with the day job. I would hazard a guess that not doing that is more likely to get you fired than worrying about a lot of this noise. I’ll be watching with fascination regarding the implementation of the GDPR legislation because I don’t think they’ve got the kahunas to force it on businesses in its current punitive form. How are they going to train and deploy all those Data Protection Officers in time?

Other things I think might be worth sticking on your “to do list” would be:

  •          Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – my current favourite, but only because it has “robots” in the title, I think it could effect a massive shift in any business processes that are dependent on volumes of monotonous and repetitive activities.
  • Big Data – one of the many buzzwords from the last few years. Definitely worth understanding what data you have and how you can use it best. That’s sort of it really.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) – very relevant for some specific industries and sectors, but only if you want to really mine data from disparate “mobile” devices..
  • Blockchain – extremely interesting; not quite sure personally how it maps onto everything yet, but one to watch especially in regulated or financial industries.
  • “Software-Defined” stuff – been around for ages, but now starting to get a bit of traction in terms of reasonable costs and robust technology to drive improved agility. If your business is hindered by infrastructure change, this could help you find an answer.
  • Bimodal IT – keeping the lights on while you change stuff. Marketing buzzwords for a “new” way of working that’s actually been in existence for about 50 years. Still, its worth considering two different working processes for these “modes” of working.
  • Liquid Cooled IT – mixing water and electricity never seemed like a good idea, but with a green agenda this technology could become an interesting alternative to big Data Centre footprint with clever distribution of heat / near silent running.

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