A CIO's guide to rethinking compliance

How to transform your IT organization with better process control in 2020

Let's get on the same page

Is this book for you?

Consider the questions below:

  • Are you an IT leader looking to streamline your processes and ensure they’re more dependable?
  • If you were offered a framework to make your company's processes more efficient and effective, would you take it?
  • Are you interested in knowing if you should really worry about complying with international law?

How this e-book will transform your processes, and for good

This e-book is a comprehensive, transparent overview of Zoho's approach to compliance. The contents of this e-book are the result of interviews with our compliance leaders.

In this e-book, we share everything we have learned by trial and error during our journey to compliance so you can take away workable methods and practical solutions to solve your organization's process-based issues. This would have been our go-to compliance playbook when we began our compliance efforts.

We share our accumulated knowledge with you now so that you may not have to go through all the struggles we went through. We hope that when you are done reading you'll be able to craft your own framework that will make compliance an efficient, easier, and more enjoyable journey for your organization.

Compliant with what?

We call it an “organization” because a few people work together coherently to deliver value to customers. Would this value creation be possible if people did not adhere to any rules?

  • Who makes decisions in the company, and who follows them?
  • On what basis does the organization launch new products or services, or drop old ones?
  • What are the various roles that an employee can have?
  • How should employees utilize the company’s resources?

The answer to each question above becomes a rule, and every employee in an organization follows it. In other words, you are compliant to the rules set by your organization. But if this compliance was all that was needed to survive and thrive in the corporate world, you would not be reading this e-book.

The rules set by governments and internationally accredited organizations are an extension, and a better definition, of the simple questions asked above. That is the type of compliance we will be talking about: compliance with international law.

As you progress through this e-book, you will see how you can take your existing compliance to a globally accepted standard.

Why is compliance so pressing now?

We have long had laws that required compliance. But the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) disrupted the corporate world like no other standard before due to its fines, its emphasis on data subjects’ rights, and the way it expanded the scope of personal data (the rights exercised by each and every individual under the jurisdiction of the GDPR), which meant that companies had to take a deeper, more comprehensive look at their processes.

When one regulation sets such a high standard for process controls, how can companies imagine going back to the way things were? The GDPR's disruption was first feared, then respected, and finally accepted by the corporate world. Other laws, like the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), have followed in the GDPR’s footsteps. And companies now realize the value for compliance and the difference it can make to satisfy their customers.

For now, you may be satisfied that your internal auditors are certified; but soon there will be a time when every developer, HR professional, and even security guard must have an authorized compliance certificate to carry out their tasks.

For now, your customers and prospects may be interested in your compliance to a specific standard; but soon there will be a time when each organization must demonstrate compliance before they can even start billing their clients.

If you were planning to make compliance a major driver in your company's processes, there is no better time than now.


Zoho is a classic example of an enterprise that embraces startup culture. We have over 50 products and almost a hundred teams to manage them. However, each team works like an individual company with the utmost freedom, encouragement of disruptive ideas, and a culture that is rooted in the independence and individuality of every employee. Getting all those teams in agreement is not just a procedural revolution but a cultural one too. The understanding that compliance is not a roadblock to freedom but a crucial aspect of using that freedom in the best possible manner has been key for us. If thousands of people divided over hundreds of teams who have been exposed to minimum rules so far can agree that compliance is more a facilitator than a deterrent, any company can accomplish its compliance goals.

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