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Empowering consumers with personal data critical to retailers says Governments midata lead

Posted on: Tuesday 4th of October 2011

Nigel Shadbolt, Chair of the Government’s midata programme, last week provided a robust response to Steven Robertson’s comments about the programme published in Retail Week. Steven, who is Director General of the Retail Consortium, commented in the article that, “The Government’s talking about phone and utility companies feeding cost and usage figures back to customers (don’t they do that already?). But it’s not at all clear exactly what data it believes retailers have and what it thinks can be done with that.”

Nigel in his response, published last Friday in Retail Week ‘Letters to the Editor’, makes it clear that the principles of midata – giving consumers access to their personal data in a portable, electronic format – apply across any and all relationships between individuals and organisations, including within the retail sector. Retailers collect and analyse a considerable amount of customer loyalty data and “this is an opportunity for individuals to use and analyse this data for their own purposes.”

Nigel continues, midata represents “a huge opportunity for business to engage with their customers in innovative ways. Everything that we have witnessed in the digital age demonstrates that richer communication between supplier and customer deepens and adds value to that relationship. The project is intended to be a best efforts voluntary commitment by business to empower consumers by giving them access to their individual data. It is not about encumbering retailers up and down the country with additional onerous work.”

Ctrl-Shift are advising the DfBIS as part of the mydata Project Board. Like Nigel, we believe the programme represents a strategic tipping point for companies managing significant amounts of customer data, and that there are considerable benefits of participating right now, including the opportunity to build trust and reputation, cut costs and create long lasting value. There are approximately 50 organisations participating in midata currently- including large corporations across the retail, telecommunications, utilities and finance sectors. Within a few years, all organisations and companies holding customer data in the UK will be involved in releasing their data back to their customers. So why wait and lose the opportunity?

We’re holding an event on November 9th in central London for organisations that want to gain a better understanding of midata including its vision, the opportunities, considerations and implications. It will be a really interesting and stimulating day and a great way to meet key business leaders championing this major change. Please contact Karen Hindle if you’d like to attend.