Lisa Lyon on Growing her Company into a Leading Data Verification and Trace Company
Established in 1988, Target Professional Services is a UK-based company providing Data Cleansing and Verification solutions to the financial sector. Target verifies that common data is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Where records are found to be out-of-date, Target are able to accurately trace and verify the data to ensure records held are always compliant with GDPR and other regulations within the Finance sector and in particular, The Pensions Regulator record keeping guidance. Here Lisa talks to Finance Monthly about the company’s services, the upcoming GDPR and its impact on the business, and her role in growing Target into a leading data verification and trace company.
With the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) scheduled to come into effect in May 2018 – what would you say will be the impact that GDPR will have on businesses?
The new regulations will require greater data accuracy and accountability. The potential to fine and the size of fines that can be imposed are significant, so GDPR should not be overlooked and needs both focus and a budget within any organisation.
What have Target Professional Services done to ensure that the company will demonstrate compliance with the directive in its entirety?
First of all, Target have reviewed and updated all of our internal processes where GDPR will require change. In addition, we are checking our suppliers to ensure that they will be compliant for the new regulations, so we are clear that we are using consented data. We know that some datasets will require individuals consent to continue to be used, so we are looking to ensure that consent is obtained or that type of data is not used.
In what ways can the company’s services assist others with becoming fully-compliant?
We are sharing our experience and understanding with our existing clients so they are clear about GDPR. We are constantly finding different levels of understanding throughout our client base and we work with them to improve their knowledge.
Could you tell us a bit about your career path?
Leaving school at 16 with 10 GCSE and unable to afford to go to University, I started work with Halifax Building Society and by 18, I had been promoted to Department Manager. However, I took the decision to leave the Halifax, as my aspirations were not in banking. At that time my father had invented a high-pressure valve cap for vehicles. He needed a BS5750 certification, so I studied the requirements and wrote his manuals for him. I also worked as a part-time book keeper for my mother, who ran a small independent debt collection agency, while I studied Accountancy, Law, Economics and credit control at night school. After successfully building a computerised accounts system for my mother, I identified a need in the market to transfer manual accounts to a computerised system and went on to support other businesses to successfully migrate their accounts data. With the merger of several rental companies in 1997, the debt collection business expanded, as did my role. Along with designing and implementing the CRM database to support the expansion, I took over the management of the Customer Service and Field Operations, before finally buying the business in 2001.
You’ve managed to build Target from a small debt collection business to a leading data verification and trace company – what were the challenges that you were faced with and how did you overcome them?
The debt market was very competitive and I had one very large client when I took over the business. I knew that I had to change the dynamics and the markets the company operated in. We entered the Pensions Market bringing innovation and competitive pricing at a time of regulation change. Target has focused on Customer Service, Data Quality and flexibility to ensure that our business does not become stagnant and stale. We bring innovation to solve the problems legislation brings to the industry and to ensure that our clients are always ahead of any changes.
What would you say are the company’s top three priorities towards its clients? How has this evolved over the years?
Our philosophy in working with our clients remains the same today as it’s always been. We look to develop long standing working relationships with all of our clients and understand what they require from us. Every client is different so we also look to be flexible in order to suit each client’s needs. Target has always been industry innovators and this is still a driver for us today, as tracing and data availability changes and develops.
Looking into the rest of 2017 and beyond, what does the future hold for you and Target?
We see opportunity to apply what we do to many different industries, especially with GDPR soon upon us. We predominantly work in the financial services sector and then mostly, in the pensions sector, but tracing and data screening is of value elsewhere. We are exploring such opportunities and offering solutions in new markets. Contact us if you think we can help you. Through a partnership approach we may be able to offer you a service that gives value to what you do.