Alan Gibson is the current Director of Legal and Compliance Innovation at Microsoft and is Tom Fox’s first guest on Microsoft Week at the Innovation in Compliance podcast. Alan has worked in various fields – from legal to compliance to business. He’s a thought leader and currently involved in helping companies manage compliance risks and measure program effectiveness. He and Tom discuss his role at Microsoft and what companies need to be thinking about in the future with respect to legal compliance.



Data Analytics in Microsoft

Tom asks Alan to explain how Microsoft implements its data analytics program for compliance. Alan responds that the focus was on first identifying which sales agreements and channel partners posed the most corruption risk to Microsoft. “Our compliance team partnered closely with our finance internal audit and our business team to figure out how we could use the data that we were collecting in our sales contracts and from our third parties to create this early warning and monitoring system to identify which contracts needed to be routed for additional compliance oversight,” Alan tells Tom. The business unit and frontline salespeople were then able to use this data to prove to the business leaders at Microsoft that they were identifying risky sales contracts, and this program was built into the business process to manage risky sales.


Challenges in Legal Compliance Innovation

One of the big challenges surrounding legal compliance innovation is helping individuals understand its ecosystem, Alan remarks. Another challenge is that delivering compliance solutions requires stakeholders. “It goes to working with law firms, working with compliance consultants, alternative legal service providers, legal tech vendors, and really helping people understand how all of this ecosystem works together to address these challenges,” he tells Tom. There is also the cultural challenge in that legal services have lagged behind finance and HR and their digital transformations. 


What’s Next

Companies have to think about the direction they want their legal departments to go and what steps they have to take to get them there. “They need the greatest contract lifecycle management system,” Alan tells Tom. Companies have to consider whether the decisions they make will allow them to have the capabilities they want in the coming years. “…It’s people, process, and technology; you have to think about your solutions or where you want to go on your digital transformation across all three of those dimensions,” Alan says.


Tomorrow’s guest on Microsoft Week is Abbas Kudrati, Chief Cybersecurity Advisor for Microsoft Asia’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Group. Abbas and Tom will be talking about innovating cybersecurity. 



Alan Gibson | LinkedIn