Introduction & Company Background
Mike: My name is Mike Ward. I’m the Chief Compliance Officer at Juniper Networks.
Interviewer: And tell us a bit about Juniper Networks, about the company, the number of employees, revenue, and global footprint.
Mike: Juniper Networks builds all the building blocks of the internet, such as routers, switches, and firewalls. We make cloud providers go and the internet go. We’re about 10,000 employees based in Sunnyvale, California, but with a worldwide footprint. We have engineers all over the world from India to China, and we have sales operations across South America, Europe, Asia, and, of course, in the United States.
Interviewer: Great. Then could you tell us a bit about your program, your team, your role?
Mike: Juniper has undergone a renaissance in our compliance investment. We’ve really doubled and tripled our investment to get back to the roots of the company Juniper values. It certainly was something that was important to the company, but we’ve doubled our investment. So our team has grown to reflect that focus.
We now have compliance team members across the United States, Asia, Singapore, Beijing, Hong Kong, and India. We have folks in Paris, Amsterdam. It’s really a global operation now. We have responsibility for all compliance obligations of the company and that even includes trade compliance issues. The sun doesn’t set on the Juniper compliance program.
Necessary Values in Ethics and Compliance
Interviewer: Yeah, I imagine. So, a couple of questions just about the industry and this shift we’re seeing. We’re witnessing this shift where strong ethics and core values are no longer nice to have, and where the executive staff is being held to a higher ethical standard. Can you comment on that? What are you seeing? Are you seeing this shift? This shift from checkbox compliance management to more of a focus on ethics and values,
Mike: I think there has been a big change in the compliance field where the ethics and compliance program is more of the day job of the executive team. They’re focused on it more, it’s part of how they accomplish their goals. It’s sometimes a competitive advantage. Companies want to do business with companies who are ethical and stay out of trouble because it can affect their own brand. And certainly when you have ethics and compliance problems, it can really derail your momentum. So I do think it is becoming more center-place in the business C-suites.
Interviewer: Great. And speaking of that, how do CEOs and the CCOs need to think differently? How has their role changed with this ethical shift?
Companies want to do business with companies who are ethical and stay out of trouble because it can affect their own brand
Mike: What I see as the most significant change in compliance programs over the nearly 15 years I’ve been running compliance programs and even over 15 years before that as a prosecutor is compliance programs are becoming operational. There used to be a lot of focus on reactive investigations and meeting out justice. And now compliance programs need to be embedded into operations. We need to prevent and detect problems before they become bigger.
That requires different skills whereas it used to be lawyers and investigators. And now it requires people with big data skills, analytic skills, and systems knowledge. And I like that! It’s a lot of fun to try to be embedded in the business and not just cleaning up messes.
Technology and the Ethical Shift
Interviewer: That’s a great segue once you talk about operationalizing it. So, tell us how important the role of technology in making this ethical shift?
Mike: Technology is the foundation for the change in not only how we’re approaching the compliance responsibilities but how everybody is. Technology is really primarily required to do two things. One, you need leverage. If you’re going to reach out and be an influence in the entire organization and do it with a relatively small team, you need technology to get that kind of leverage to manage your issues without being a constraint on the business.
And then the second thing is that technology gives you data, information, and it allows you to measure where your risks are. Maybe even more importantly is it allows you to measure whether you’re effective. Is your strategy working or is it not? Are things getting better or are they getting worse? Without the data that technology drives, you’re kind of flying blind.
Interviewer: So as far as Convercent goes, you deployed COI last year, right? Disclosure Manager I believe?
Mike: Yeah, we did start rolling it out last year. Our partnership with Convercent is really based on the competitive advantage we saw in Convercent in the user interface. If we are going to be embedded into our employees’ daily lives and make sure they’re disclosing to us what they need to disclose, that process needs to be easy for the employees. It can’t be cumbersome and they can’t become confused. They need to be able to go through that process in an intuitive interface that allows them to complete their obligations and move on.
And the same for us on our team. We want to be able to use that information in a user interface that allows us to extract the insights we need. And we found that was a competitive advantage Convercent brought in its user interface and the workflows.
Interviewer: So as far as the workflows and the efficiencies making it easier, how does that translate for the actual end benefits? Have you seen an increase in disclosures? Have you seen greater employee engagement around these issues or conflicts of interest or has the Convercent Disclosure Manager supported any of those benefits for you?
Mike: I don’t think we’ve had a long enough data set to be able to say, “Oh, you know, disclosures are going up or going down.” In our conflict of interest program, we had a self-selection process where people disclosed when they felt like it. And with the Convercent tool, we’re seeing more disclosures because we’re pushing it more, but it’s hard to measure yet whether things are getting better.
I think the part that is most important to us from our introduction of the conflict of interest tool is the process is easier and faster. One of the metrics we focus on in the Juniper compliance program is cycle time. We want to be able to make decisions for the business quickly so they can get on with the job of competing with our competitors to win business. We can’t be stalling the decisions the business needs to act on because our processes are too cumbersome. So speeding up that cycle time and how we do our job is critical for us.
Interviewer: So as far as this ethical transformation, do you find the Convercent Disclosure Manager is helping you create a more ethical culture because of the easier user interface around disclosing potential conflicts of interest?
Mike: The implementation of the Disclosure Manager is a leading indicator for our compliance program. By that I mean I have always thought conflicts of interest are the canary in the coalmine. If people understand and can recognize conflicts of interest, they’re better at identifying all kinds of compliance risks. So as you increase the comprehension, the awareness, and understanding of employees about conflict of interest issues, they just become more attuned to all risks. This was important for us to drive the conflict of interest program because of its influence on the employees more broadly.
Interviewer: Great! My last question has to do with the Convercent team. So you have your account team, Lindsey and Becca, and you’ve got customer support, and the executive staff. What can you say about working with the different teams at Convercent?
Mike: The Convercent team has been excellent when things have gone great. But when things weren’t going well is when the Convercent team was actually at its best. They were responsive to what we wanted to see and the changes we wanted to see happen.
It’s easy to have everything and everyone be happy when everything is smooth, but it is the tough times when you see whether you’ve got a good partner and somebody who’s going to be responsive to your needs and work with you. That is frankly why we are a Convercent customer for a number of different tools and because of the responsiveness to challenges.