UK data reforms will drive growth for Scottish SMEs - Chris Combemale

The UK’s data protection landscape is set to receive significant revisions, which the Government hopes will both unlock £10.6 billion in savings for the UK economy over the next ten years, as well as helping to supercharge investment and growth across the digital economy.

The Data Protection & Digital Information Bill (DPDI), which is set to update the UK’s data protection framework, seeks to deliver a series of sensible, pro-growth reforms in early 2024.

While GDPR laid the foundations for enhanced global data privacy standards, with its robust consumer protections, there are some modifications that can be made to help businesses better engage and develop meaningful relationships with their customers.

Opportunities for SMEs & consumers

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Chris Combemale, DMA, CEOChris Combemale, DMA, CEO
Chris Combemale, DMA, CEO

Most businesses rely on data-driven insight to create and optimise products, services, and experiences that build long-lasting, mutually rewarding relationships with customers and drive their growth opportunities.

The UK’s data and marketing trade body, the DMA, recently asked SME leaders on their views on what they would seek from reforms. Three quarters (75 per cent) want data protection regulations that easily enable them to prospect for new business; and a similar percentage (76 per cent) want regulations that make it easier to talk to their current customers.

These are key reasons why two thirds of SMEs (66 per cent) are supportive of introducing updated and modernised data privacy regulation to address inherent challenges of GDPR.

Essentially, most SMEs seek reforms that make it easier to attract new customers and retain existing ones – this is key to unlocking Scottish business growth.

One of the most significant reforms within DPDI is the greater clarity offered on what constitutes a legitimate interest – attracting and retaining customers and donors (through direct marketing) is now clearly identified as one.

This will give a lot more businesses confidence to use it as a lawful basis for data processing where appropriate, helping them to better communicate and engage with customers. For example, by offering them opportunities based on previous interactions with the business.

Many businesses use customer insights to simultaneously improve the productivity of their businesses and optimise the service offered to customers through personalisation and recommendations – Clubcards are a great example of how useful it can be to both consumers and businesses.

Customers will retain an overriding right to object to marketing at any time should they not wish to do business with a specific organisation, which was a vital protection introduced by GDPR.

A global tech hub

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The UK has a great opportunity to revise our data protection model to supercharge investment and growth across our digital economy.

By adopting DPDI’s pro-innovation revisions, which preserve GDPR’s robust consumer protections, the UK can establish a customer-centric model for data protection that will make the UK a more appealing global tech hub — two thirds (67 per cent) of SME owners agree. It will also act as a template for the rest of the world to follow.

From an innovation and investment perspective, it will provide stronger privacy protections than the US and China, while being more pragmatic, less bureaucratic than the EU’s model.

The data-driven marketing community is confident that DPDI should act as a catalyst for growth for Scottish SMEs, while maintaining the trust of the public in the regulatory landscape – an essential dynamic which will further build the UK’s status as a leading global tech hub.

Chris Combemale, DMA, CEO

Related topics:



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.