Navigating Regulatory Compliance — 5 Strategies for Effective Data Governance and Pipeline Funding

Navigating Regulatory Compliance — 5 Strategies for Effective Data Governance and Pipeline Funding

Struggling to garner support for your visionary data pipeline project?

Envision securing executive approval with the “legal and compliance” teams as your unexpected champions. This isn't just wishful thinking — it is a groundbreaking strategy reshaping how we perceive data governance.

Consider the weighty financial penalties tied to data protection regulations – a compelling reason to turn legal and compliance into strategic allies. Breaches under CCPA and CPRA accrue fines of US$ 2,500 per violation, escalating to US$ 7,500 if intentional or involving children. GDPR amplifies the stakes, threatening fines of up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s global annual revenue.

In pursuing a robust and compliant data pipeline, fines act as the driving force for strategic decision-making. Fines reaching up to millions of Euros or a percentage of global annual revenue underscore the potential financial repercussions of non-compliance. This presents a unique opportunity – not just for avoiding penalties but for leveraging the regulatory landscape to secure support and funding for your ambitious data pipeline vision.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the first step isn't pitching your data prowess — it is positioning legal and compliance as the project's primary sponsors. Establishing a robust infrastructure for data protection and compliance not only aligns with regulations but also signals a proactive stance toward mitigating risks.

To understand the broader implications, consider recent high-profile data breaches that shook both the social and eCommerce industries.

1. Meta (formerly Facebook) — €1.2 billion (May 2023): This record-breaking fine was issued by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) for Meta's failure to ensure adequate data protection safeguards when transferring user data from the EU to the United States. Meta is appealing the decision, but it highlights the seriousness of ensuring compliant data transfers under GDPR.

2. Amazon — €746 million (July 2021): The Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) imposed this hefty fine on Amazon for its targeted advertising practices. The investigation revealed that Amazon wasn't obtaining proper consent from users for processing their data for advertising purposes.

This case emphasizes the importance of transparency and clear user consent under GDPR.

These incidents not only resulted in hefty fines but also severe reputational damage.

Executives across sectors are increasingly realizing the interconnectedness of compliance, data governance, and brand protection.

5 key business case points:

  1. Security first: By making legal and compliance the project's linchpin, you prioritize building a fortress-like infrastructure. This not only complies with regulations but also creates a secure foundation for your entire data pipeline.

  2. Cost-effective assurance: Steering clear of fines isn't just about avoiding costs – it's an investment in brand integrity. The potential savings from compliance-driven data pipelines go beyond the balance sheet, safeguarding your company's reputation.

  3. Global compliance standard: Aligning with international data protection standards isn't just about ticking boxes; it positions your company as a global leader in responsible data management. This not only complies with regulations but elevates your brand on the global stage.

  4. Risk mitigation and brand protection: Beyond compliance, emphasize the importance of protecting your brand. By making legal and compliance your allies, you showcase a proactive stance against data breaches, preserving customer trust and market credibility.

  5. Future-proof your data strategy: Treating your data infrastructure as a long-term investment means staying ahead of regulatory changes and technological advancements. This forward-thinking approach positions your company for sustained success in an ever-evolving landscape.

There are lots of industry examples of organizations seamlessly integrating compliance efforts with broader data strategies. These pioneers not only avoided regulatory pitfalls but leveraged compliance frameworks to enhance their overall data capabilities.

Leverage these to ensure you can fulfill key use cases to support the foundational platform's ability to scale with all your data. Two such companies who have escaped regulatory fines and have robust data operations are JPMorgan Chase & Co. in the financial sector and the Mayo Clinic in Healthcare.

While no company is immune to investigations or unintentional data breaches, there have been no major Sarbanes-Oxley fines for JP Morgan and no major reported HIPAA violations for the Mayo Clinic.

3 bonus tips

  1. Start small, showcase success: Pilot one use case to showcase the value of your data pipeline initiative. This not only proves its effectiveness but also provides a tangible example for executives to grasp.

  2. Align with pain points: Speak the language of executives by emphasizing efficiency, revenue growth, and risk management. Tailor your pitch to address their specific pain points and priorities.

  3. Collaborate early and often: Involve key stakeholders from legal, compliance, and business teams from the outset. This ensures alignment and support, preventing roadblocks down the line.


To transform data into a strategic asset, shift your paradigm. Secure buy-in from legal and compliance — your unexpected allies in this transformative journey. This approach doesn't just meet regulatory requirements, it propels your organization towards tangible and sustainable business value.

Embrace dedicated executive leadership, commitment to compliance, and a culture of innovation to redefine your data governance narrative.

Stay tuned for my next piece that addresses how to overcome the stigmatism that legal and compliance can sometimes be slow and cumbersome to deal with as well as touch base on a couple of specific use cases you can dive into!

About the Author:

Carl Ackermann, Former VP-Global Data at iHerb, is a seasoned executive leader with over two decades of hands-on experience in the dynamic realm of data and analytics. Throughout his career, Ackermann has navigated senior executive positions, achieving key milestones and designing large-scale data pipelines that consistently fuel business value.

Spanning diverse industries including B2C, C2C, CPG, Gaming, Hospitality, and more, his strategic insights have been instrumental in guiding organizations with annual revenues ranging from US$ 300 million to US$ 175 billion, both domestically and globally. His versatility extends beyond technical expertise, encompassing a keen understanding of business operations and innovative funding approaches.

Not just a technologist, Ackermann is a pragmatic agent of change. His success in driving cultural transformations within organizations has earned him recognition, showcasing his effectiveness as a transformative force in the industry.

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