One of the best reasons for your business to be PoPIA compliant is that you would actually be adding value to your products or services.
We live in an age where the most valuable commodity is information and Facebook, for example, is an indicator of this. Not only that, but people are starting to become more aware of this with each passing day. As a result, from the customer’s point of view, you are adding value by offering data protection.
And additional value is always good for business. Considering that so many businesses in South Africa are lagging behind in terms of compliance with data protection regulations, you can gain the market edge by offering data security today. If your competitors, who offer identical products or services, only offer it a month from now, you have the competitive advantage for a month and can pick up more customers within that timeframe. Not to mention, you have the first-mover advantage and will always have that extra month of experience with sound data security protocols. The long and the short of it is that PoPIA compliance generates value.
What’s more is that this is tied to the concept of value engineering, which is a method to improve the “value” of goods or products and services, with value being defined as the ratio of function to cost. Value engineering is something that businesses the world over struggle with every day, because it requires innovation. To improve the utility of your product or service at a relatively low cost is not easy. PoPIA compliance, on the other hand, is added value for free.
How can you say it’s free? PoPIA compliance is a sunk cost. You have to incur those costs, because the time eventually will come when fines are handed out and you will have no choice to be compliant. So you aren’t spending additional resources to gain the added value to your product or service of data protection. In fact, you are effectively incurring costs by waiting to be compliant and allowing your competitors to get ahead in the race.
The benefits exist not only in terms of value engineering, but also in terms of protecting your own interests. By improving your cybersecurity, you protect yourself from data breaches that no business in the world can afford.
Also, by complying with PoPIA, you can streamline your data management systems, minimise the information that you collect and better organise your storages. As a result of this, your ROI for marketing is better. By purging irrelevant data and cutting your database down to customers that actually continue to engage with you and give you consent to hold their information, you target a smaller audience which is more likely to react to your marketing efforts, a fine-tuned database of customers that genuinely want to hear from you. And generating trust from your audience will also boost the likelihood of their engagement with you.
A study conducted by the European Commission in 2016 to measure the benefits of Europe’s data protection laws showed that the GDPR will bring benefits of an estimated €2.3 billion per year (SOURCE). The primary reason for this is that businesses are able to operate seamlessly both within and beyond the EU’s borders, but also that it prepares them for new waves of technological advancements.
Furthermore, benefits for individuals ultimately benefit businesses – nothing is better for business than a happy customer. So, if PoPIA, as well as other regulatory systems around the world, is modelled after the GDPR, you can expect the same or similar benefits for your business.
At the end of the day, the benefits of creating secure data collection systems are plentiful (especially to the early adopters), while the costs are unavoidable. So it simply doesn’t make any sense to put off PoPIA compliance any longer.