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As privacy laws continue to develop and businesses look for new ways to use data, business data and consumer data are becoming increasingly separated.

Business data relates to data that is captured and stored by a business, ranging from leads and opportunities, to employee records and customer transactions. This is not to be confused with B2B marketing data, which is data about businesses (such as industry, turnover and employees) that is collected by another company.

Consumer data, meanwhile, is defined as the behavioural, demographic and personal information that relates to customers that is collected by businesses.

And while consumer and business data might at times be interchangeable (for example, purchase data might be both consumer and business data), this data can shape very separate strategies.

Businesses looking inside

One of the main ways in which businesses are starting to use their own data is to find internal insights that can improve the efficiency of operations. A business might be able to identify that expenses are growing at a faster rate than profits. This can then help the business make more informed decisions when it comes to setting budgets and finding income sources.

There are also more creative ways to use business data. A company’s IT department might be able to see how frequently a specific workflow tool is used within the company. This could then be combined with data that relates to productivity (such as revenue per employee and customer satisfaction scores) to assess the effectiveness of the tool. This can help the business make more informed decisions when it comes to selecting software tools in the future. 

Although privacy regulations such as GDPR are usually spoken about in relation to consumer data, it is important for employers to realise they have a responsibility to their employees when it comes to handling internal business data. Under the GDPR, employees of a business have the right to be informed about how their personal data is being used by the company and the right ‘to be forgotten’ in certain cases. These businesses are also required to deploy a privacy by design approach when it comes to protecting business data.

The world of consumer data

Consumer data has been slowly shifting away from being a business asset back into the hands of consumers.

Previously, some online marketing campaigns and business operations have left individuals feeling as though they have no control over their data.

However, this is starting to change as transparency and control become central to consumer data. In Australia, for example, citizens are now protected under the Consumer Data Right (CDR). The CDR allows consumers to have greater control over their personal data and the ability to securely share data with a trusted third party. This not only gives consumers greater convenience and security, but it also helps them make better buying decisions. 

At smrtr, we work with both business data and consumer data to help our partners generate valuable insights that can help them find new companies. More importantly, we understand the complex regulatory environment that businesses now face when it comes to processing data and have the expertise to guide our partners through this process.

By Boris Guennewig, Co Founder & CTO at smrtr