Customer engagement, AI and GDPR Article 22 – Interview with Jeff Nicholson of Pega


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Today’s interview is with Jeff Nicholson, Vice President, CRM Product Marketing at Pegasystems, a leading provider of software for customer engagement and operational excellence. I spoke to Jeff at Pegaworld, Pegasystems’ customer event in Las Vegas in early June, where we talked about GDPR, what it means, its impact and reach and what firms should be doing and keeping in mind in this new GDPR era. This is the third of three interviews that I conducted at Pegaworld.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The finish is just as important as the start of any experience – Interview with Pauline Wilson of Virgin Holidays – and is number 272 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Here’s the highlights of my interview with Jeff:

  • GDPR is very much a customer relationship issue and way more than just a compliance issue.
  • Businesses are waking up to this now.
  • GDPR is having a ripple effect around the world and many firms are now starting to offer the same rights and abilities to all of their customers, including those outside the EU.
  • Pega conducted research that found that it is often companies own behaviour that is driving their customers to want to have their data erased or be forgotten.
  • The behaviour includes sending them too many and irrelevant marketing messages and bad customer service interactions.
  • This is forcing companies to get better at those disciplines and is also starting to force them to eliminate a lot of their lazy thinking.
  • The use of advanced technology, including the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in automated decisioning, is being impacted by GDPR, particularly Article 22.
  • Firms have to choose wisely how they are going to deploy this type of technology.
  • That could further complicate the picture for many firms.
  • The provisions of Article 22 are having a big impact on industries like financial services, insurance and healthcare. Automated decisions fall under Article 22 and firms are required to show that if AI-enabled decisions have a significant, meaningful or contractual impact, they are able to explain, when asked, how they came up with the decision they did.
  • If they don’t then they are in danger of not being compliant and in breach of GDPR.
  • GDPR is also having an impact on real-time contact centre operations, where Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is being collected.
  • However, it is not yet clear how the regulations will be enforced so, currently, there are different interpretations of what different elements mean and what a firm’s responsibilities are.
  • These will become clearer as the legislation is tested.
  • GDPR is also not static and firms need to keep in mind that they will have to keep refreshing consent for the data they hold on their customers.
  • That means businesses need to be putting in place strategies now to show, and prove to their customers, that they’re doing the right thing and delivering the right value with their data on an ongoing basis.
  • Given that the real implications of GDPR will become clearer over time, most experts believe that the most important thing that companies do is make sure that whatever they do they can evidence that they thought their approach was right.
  • Jeff says that what they’re seeing in the market now is that if businesses can’t solve everything right away and beyond consent they’re beginning with things like the right of access and the right to be forgotten.
  • The quest to deliver a personalised customer experience could prove challenging for many firms in this GDPR era.
  • Jeff recommends that firms watch and track closely how the legislation is being tested. Moreover, he also says that firms should keep on top of the governing bodies as they will often publish clarifications on what they intended or what was behind some of the articles.
  • That will mean that organisations will need to track these developments and continuously change and fine-tune their strategies in line with those developments over time.

About Jeff

Jeff NicholsonJeff Nicholson is the Vice President, CRM Product Marketing at Pegasystems, a leading provider of software for customer engagement and operational excellence. Jeff joined Pega in 2016 from Kitewheel, where he was Vice President of Marketing and drove go-to-market strategies as well as product and company positioning. At Pega, Mr. Nicholson leads the business’ CRM market positioning, product messaging, and thought leadership. His more than 20-year career spans digital marketing, CRM, predictive analytics, customer engagement and loyalty, real-time marketing, and social strategy. He previously held marketing and product positions at Pitney Bowes Software, Portrait Software, and Kronos.

Jeff is a frequent presenter at industry conferences with thought-leadership featured in AdAge,, CustomerThink, CRM Magazine, Forbes, MediaPost and The Economist.

Check out Pegasystems, Pega Infinity, say Hi to Jeff and them on Twitter @jnicholson30 and @pega and connect with Jeff on LinkedIn here.



Thanks to Pixabay for the image.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adrian Swinscoe
Adrian Swinscoe brings over 25 years experience to focusing on helping companies large and small develop and implement customer focused, sustainable growth strategies.


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