According to the study, over 60% of firms now feel positive about the changes. In addition, the majority are being more selective in the data they collect and manage, with 70% disposing of data ahead of the deadline for compliance.
IBM's Institute for Business Value (IBV) surveyed over 1,500 business leaders responsible for GDPR compliance for organisations around the world.
It found that 84% believe that proof of GDPR compliance will be seen as a positive differentiator to the public, while 76% said GDPR will enable more trusted relationships with data subjects that will create new business opportunities.<
However, despite this new optimism, only 36% believe they will be fully compliant with GDPR by the May 25 deadline.
The study found that the top challenges organisations are currently facing when it comes to GDPR compliance are: finding personal data within their organisations; ensuring the accuracy of the data they collect and store, as well as complying with rules for how data is analysed and shared.
Other areas for concern included the handling of cross-border data transfers and getting consent from data subjects, as less than half of respondents said they were prepared for these aspects of GDPR.
IBM Security chief technology officer Cindy Compert said: "GDPR will be one of the biggest disruptive forces impacting business models across industries – and its reach extends far beyond the EU borders.
"The onset of GDPR also comes during a time of huge distrust among consumers toward businesses ability to protect their personal data. These factors together have created a perfect storm for companies to rethink their approach to data responsibility and begin to restore the trust needed in today's data-driven economy."