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How Digital Natives are Reshaping Data Compliance

Millennial leaders are transforming data compliance with their digital expertise and diverse perspectives, viewing technology as an opportunity, not a threat.

Ajay Bhatia

February 5, 2024

3 Min Read
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Andriy Popov via Alamy Stock

As the older millennials ascend to C-suite roles including chief compliance officer, they are bringing a transformative, digitally native and diverse approach to the position. Having come of age during the tech revolution of PCs, the internet and smartphones, this group, in its late 30s and early 40s, effortlessly navigates innovations like chat apps, AI, and big data analytics.

Their progressive mindset allows them to revolutionize compliance, combining emerging technologies with ethical standards and speaking a digital language that they helped develop.

Their experience brings many advantages to compliance roles, which include:

  • Digitally native and diverse perspective: Today's chief compliance officers are comfortable with new technologies and bring diverse viewpoints that strengthen compliance programs.

  • Experience with chat apps and AI: This allows them to navigate risks and utilize the benefits of these tools for efficient compliance management.

  • Positive outlook on emerging tech: They see innovations as opportunities to enhance compliance strategies rather than threats.

  • Appreciation of business benefits: They can advocate for tech investments that drive transparency, efficiency, and competitiveness with ethical considerations.

  • Focus on culture over bans: They promote integrity at all levels rather than resorting to outright bans on new technologies.  Think “Yes, with guardrails,” not “No.”

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These leaders, more diverse in gender, race, and socioeconomic background, bring fresh perspectives to the table when assessing risks and strategies. Those qualities also help foster a culture of inclusion that engages employees across the organization in upholding compliance standards.

For example, diverse teams are more likely to have greater diversity of thought, leading to more rigorous debate, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking when evaluating compliance programs. Additionally, team members with diverse life experiences may identify potential compliance risks or challenges that others overlook. For example, a team lacking gender diversity may not recognize certain risks around sexual harassment policies.

With their forward-thinking mindsets, today's chief compliance officers are changing the perception of emerging technologies from threats to opportunities. Rather than reacting with outright bans, they thoughtfully integrate new tools into the compliance framework. This balances innovation with appropriate risk management. It also positions compliance as an enabler of progress rather than a roadblock. The benefits of this mindset are many:

Related:NCA’s Plaggemier on Finding a Path to Data Privacy Compliance

  • A forward-thinking culture that thoughtfully integrates innovations into business processes and compliance frameworks. This allows organizations to harness the benefits of technology ethically.

  • With an opportunistic mindset, compliance teams can explore how new tools like AI, blockchain, and automation can be used to make compliance activities more effective, efficient and data driven.

  • When seen as working alongside business leaders to evaluate risks and implement appropriate guardrails for new tech, compliance teams’ collaborative approaches enable progress and innovation. These new technologies open up possibilities to continuously improve and modernize compliance programs. An opportunity-driven perspective seizes on tech's potential.

Modern compliance leaders understand the business benefits that can come from adopting new technologies. With their holistic view, they can advocate for tech investments that drive efficiency, competitiveness, and transparency while maintaining ethical standards.

As Millennials continue to advance as leaders, they are spearheading a cultural shift that emphasizes setting the right tone from the top. Technology itself does not undermine compliance – unethical application of technology does. By promoting integrity at all levels, today's chief compliance officers are future-proofing businesses for the fast-changing digital landscape. Their vision and know-how are driving positive transformation in compliance.

Related:4 Top Data Management Challenges (And How to Conquer Them)

About the Author(s)

Ajay Bhatia

Global VP & GM of Data Compliance & Governance, Veritas

Ajay Bhatia, global vice president and general manager of Veritas’ Data Compliance and Governance business, oversees a diverse portfolio spanning information governance, archiving, surveillance, privacy risk, cyber and discovery. He has PnL responsibility for on-premises solutions like Veritas Enterprise Vault, eDiscovery Platform, Data Insight and Merge1, plus the SaaS Veritas Alta data compliance portfolio. With more than 24 years in product management, organizational leadership and company transformation, Ajay's expertise spans data management, cloud storage, security, privacy and regulatory compliance.

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