tl;dr What I'm talking about is data portability and customer migration.

The GDPR has been feared by many. Hundreds of thousands of hours have been put into making processes compliant and restructuring whole organizations. Small companies with even smaller budgets can sometimes barely handle the bureaucracy. But for some this behemoth could actually prove to be a goldmine. And I'm not talking about all those cookie-banner businesses or policy-generators. What I'm talking about is applicable to most SAAS businesses.

Data portability (Art 20) basically gives you the right to get a copy of all your personal data from any (cloud) service in a machine readable format. In Recital 68-10 it is written:

"Where technically feasible, the data subject should have the right to have the personal data transmitted directly from one controller to another."

What is the nightmare of many existing SAAS-Companies (which now has to incorporate a process for extracting the data into their architecture) is the biggest opportunity for new businesses.

Although most businesses have not caught up to this yet, this allows you to easily steal customers from your competitors - or them to steal yours.

All you need to do is find a niche problem which is neglected by an established SAAS like Trello or Evernote and you could have paying customers in no-time.

Evernote is actually one of the companies which is already aware of this new pressure and is embracing it openly:

"Our philosophy is that by making it possible for you to leave at any time, we’re forever-motivated to build great things so that you’ll want to stay." - Evernote

This could eventually lead to nomadic customers, who can try and compare different tools within one niche to find the best fit for them. All without loosing their data, which made switching a huge pain before (like Onenote to Evernote or Basecamp to Trello).

The lock-in effect which has been a key factor for the success of many businesses is no longer guaranteed. Embrace the change before it is too late.

In the future this opens up new possibilities for meta-services which act as an interface between different services, synchronizing the data on the customers behalf and giving the customer unique insight in his own data. The possibilities are endless.

What's your take on data portability? Have you implemented a system to migrate customers from competing products to yours? If not, why?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn and start a conversation!

Damian