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Are Claromentis and Iconfirm putting in enough decent crosses for their strikers?

Dealing with customer data is already a challenge and as Nick Booth finds out it is going to get even harder with GDPR coming

One of the age old problems we suffer in this sector is lack of understanding, which is ironic given that our brief is often about communications and information. 

To compound the challenges of the IT industry, there always seem to be tight deadlines looming. It’s only four months until the GDPR crisis!

Under the circumstances, you’d expect people to speak clearly. That’s what happens in other industries when people are under stress. Abandon ship, they’ll yell, without any pre-amble about how the ocean is a global saline solution that’s disrupting the floating workspace. Footballers work to tight deadlines but they communicate with clarity. Instructions such as “On me head son” are universally understood. They don’t start waffling on about cross platform delivery of on-going cranial-switching-as-a-service interfaces.

Is the IT industry changing? Are they learning to make themselves understood as disruption threatens to sink enterprises? Are people getting to the point quicker now?

Or are they still hiding behind fanciful jargon? Or have they found the courage to dare to be dull? You be the judge.

Two companies, Claromentis and Iconfirm, are currently looking for partners to help them solve the problems faced by companies.

In the UK there are 250,000 businesses that have between 10 and 50 employees, who have at least one massive problem presented by the GDPR regulations. They have thousands of people’s records, but one of the stipulations of GDPR is that they cannot act on that information without the consent of the subjects.

This consent business is really tricky. You need to obtain and record consent before processing personnel data. Then you need to somehow authenticate the consent-givers - otherwise someone might justifiably claim they never gave it. Until consent is given, then the company must have some mechanism to put a hold on any data processing, which is always tricky now that technology has conspired to create so many complex relationships in any company and its partners. At the same time, the company needs to keep individuals informed about the purpose of the gathering of information about them, along with any other relevant details. Then they need to manage access controls and generate reports and notifications.

Retrospectively imposing this order on a company sounds like an absolute nightmare. Those companies that fall foul of GDPR will face massive financial penalties though.

“Before GDPR a company sent out 300,000 unsolicited emails to a data base and was fined £40,000,” says Mike McEwan, UK director of Iconfirm, “once GDPR is enforced this fine will be much higher.”

Iconfirm somehow imposes this discipline through a software service provided by the cloud. Signing up as a partner sounds relatively easy - it can be achieved remotely. Just by going online you can get introduction to the solution, business case analysis and presentation of the ‘Ts & Cs of the Partner Agreement’. No certification is necessary and you get ‘battle cards’ (whatever they are), key value proposition statements, online demos, presentation materials and business case analysis.

It’s all about gaining control of personal data when it flows into your company and managing subsequent events. Infconfirm developed application programming interfaces that make it easy for resellers to register new clients on the service, it says.

Then the money starts streaming in. You get a sign on fees of £750 per client, a monthly service fee, fees if a storage option is included or API used and then a negotiated fee per consent or communication sent, which is volume related.

“The business is very scalable with a low cost of sales and fees for modest uptake and consent volume that will generate several hundred of thousands of pounds of income,” says McEwan.

Surely it can’t be that easy can it? Maybe I’ve gone too far and over simplified.

Meanwhile, Clarementis offers an alternative to Microsoft Sharepoint. Any business with more than a hundred employees, or ambitions to grow quickly, needs an integrated digital workplace, says founder Nigel Davies. It helps teams collaborate and share information, makes working processes more efficient, and incorporates core HR services such as self service and online learning.

Does that grab you? Or are you still not sure why you’d want to commit?

“When you grow fast you can start to make mistakes, any weak systems and processes are exposed, and you can fail to complete tasks with the same diligence as you did when you had less to do,” explains Davies.

The Claromentis partner program is flexible, and the product is ‘incredibly flexible’ and ‘easy to deploy’, with drag and drop functionality, including custom components.

I wish it was easy for me to predict whether resellers will be excited about this.

Claromentis gives training, pre-sales support and marketing material and for new partners it does ‘much of the work for the early opportunities’.

I’ve never sold Sharepoint services, so maybe that’s why I’m struggling to understand. That’s what we non-techies want from a reseller: we want you to bash us on the bonce with the benefits. Or, as footballers might say: Over ‘ere, on Me ‘ead son!

This was last published in January 2018

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