From uncertainty to clarity: How Collibra helps UK businesses with data management after Brexit

Thought leadership

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom left the European Union in what is known as Brexit. 

Suddenly, decades of understanding and agreements on issues such as cross-border trade, customs, and the workforce were upended overnight. Brexit also created a challenge for the UK to maintain its position as a major player in the global economy.

In the midst of these changes, and the rush to respond,  a focus on data management presents a crucial opportunity to establish a leading approach.

Now, companies across every industry, in every country, and of every size are asking themselves the same two questions: 

  1. What data do we hold (and where is it and how do we collect it)?
  2. How do we become “data driven”?

This questions then break down into a series of more specific questions including::

  • How we trust our data
  • How we report business critical KPIs to senior leadership 
  • How to ensure the resilience of data pipelines and models 

Collibra offers UK organizations the necessary controls, governance, and visibility to solve some of the most pressing data management issues presented by Brexit.

Navigating GDPR 

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation introduced by the European Union (EU) in May 2018 to enhance the protection of personal data and privacy rights. GDPR applies to all organizations operating within the EU, as well as those outside the EU that handle personal data of EU residents.

When the UK left the EU, GDPR ceased to apply to UK citizens’ data. However: 

  1. The UK absorbed the regulation to create the UK GDPR, effectively a carbon copy in terms of requirements and; 
  2. GDPR still applies to the processing of EU citizen data and the footprint of EU citizens within the UK 

In other words, UK companies are still expected to comply with the EU GDPR. 

Additionally, new legislation and bills are on the horizon for both entities, including the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill (No. 2) in the UK, as well as additions and amendments to the GDPR in the EU.

The newest legislation will mean that companies need to take steps to understand how they are and if they should be processing individuals’ information when marketing to new customers and what information they should collect. 

To help mitigate the risks of data breaches and to understand how to be compliant with these regulations across both entities, organizations can use Collibra to catalog and take inventories of data they hold, classify data and highlight areas of risk, as well as mapping data flows into, within and out of the organization through a combination of technical- and business-enhanced diagrammatic lineage. 

With visibility into technical transformations as well as consuming lines of business, associated risk, applicable policies / standards and associated quality metrics, data professionals can better understand how well positioned they are to remain compliant.

Ensuring data quality

With the UK no longer participating in the EU’s data-sharing mechanisms, businesses must ensure that their data is of the highest quality to avoid any potential disruption to operations. 

The EU approved data flows between nations and the UK but included clauses around renewing the UK’s ‘Adequacy’. ‘Adequacy’ is a term the EU uses to describe countries, territories, sectors or organizations it believes to have an “essentially equivalent” level of data protection to the EU. 

Ensuring the quality of data being processed is of utmost importance, especially in the context of Brexit. Accurate and complete data is crucial for informed decision-making, regulatory compliance, and data security. 

However, it’s not just important to capture data correctly; it’s equally critical to maintain its accuracy and currency throughout its lifecycle. 

This means that businesses must be diligent in monitoring data quality and deleting or purging data that is no longer useful. 

Collibra Data Quality & Observability provides a unified mechanism for measuring data quality at every stage of the data lifecycle, and this information is available to all teams, not just the technical ones. 

By being proactive and monitoring data quality on an ongoing basis, businesses can quickly identify issues and address them before they become major problems. This ensures that the data used for decision-making is accurate, up-to-date, and reliable.

Improving collaboration and communication

With the UK establishing new trade relationships and partnerships within and outside the EU, effective communication and collaboration between organizations will be critical. 

Clear rules and policies around data usage, sharing, and acquisition must be established to ensure compliance and efficient communication among employees, third parties, and all layers of organizations. 

Governance of data assets, including access control and collaborative development of models and reporting, will be increasingly important as data storage and processing grows, and relationships with other data entities around the world change. 

Collibra facilitates communication, mapping data sources and business purposes, and ensuring appropriate access control while meeting safety guidelines.

Adapting to new business models

Brexit may require businesses to adapt to new business models or supply chain structures. This is a complex mesh of operational challenges and changes that would be required across existing processes, all of which were built up and established over years of negotiation and work. 

The level of impact of Brexit at these levels within organizations is, as yet, not fully known but one thing is clear: things have changed. 

Executives are looking closely at their businesses to figure out how best to work alongside the EU, how to adapt and drive growth in a new business paradigm and crucially how to report on the impact that Brexit may have on their businesses so they can best mitigate this. 

Collibra helps organizations evolve operating models by strengthening data ownership and stewardship. 

With a catalog of reports and features like data lineage and impact analysis, Collibra helps businesses better understand how their key metrics and KPIs are calculated and reported, as well as how changes to their operations may affect data flows and dependencies. This helps them make more informed decisions.


Collibra’s Data Quality & Observability can help UK businesses manage the complexities of Brexit. 

With Collibra  data controls, data governance, and data observability, businesses can ensure compliance with regulations, maintain data quality, and facilitate effective communication and collaboration. 

Learn more about Collibra’s Data Quality & Observability.

Related resources


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