Expert Series Part III: New Roles for IT in the Wake of Expanding Global Mandates

Eric Lefebrve
October 25, 2022

Part III of V – Eric Lefebvre, chief technology officer, Sovos 

Click here to read part II of the series.

Government-mandated e-invoicing laws are making their way across nearly every region of the globe, bringing more stringent mandates and expectations on businesses. Inserted into every aspect of your operation, governments are now an omni-present influence in your data stack reviewing every transaction in real time as it traverses your network. Real-time monitoring has also brought about real-time enforcement that can range in severity from significant fines to shutting your business down completely. All of this has created a new reality for IT leaders who need a strategy to deal with these global changes. We asked our chief technology officer, Eric Lefebvre to offer his guidance on how this will affect IT departments and how they can best prepare.

Q: With government authorities now in companies’ data and demanding real or near real-time reporting, what impact will this have on IT departments? 

EL: Centralization is the key, but there is a process that needs to be followed to execute correctly. At the outset, centralization needs to start with business processes, practices, tools and standardization on data push/pull technologies across the organization. Next, IT needs to consider data based on SLA-based needs. Starting with:

Delivery Data:

  • Real-time data
  • Data warehouse – reporting data
  • Archive data

Once this has been solidified, IT can then focus on operational data, which contains:

  • Mandate-driven configuration data or rules
  • System telemetric

IT departments need to focus on availability of data by adding multiple replicated sources of that data. Location of data is another critical need driven by mandates mostly shifting to keeping data local, as we are seeing in countries such as Saudi Arabia and many other East Asian nations. IT departments need to ensure that satellite data stores can be provided, which are critical to countries with those specifications. Centralization of processes and tools for delivery of data is step one. For step two, data needs to be split, moving away from storing data for years in a single data store, making it impossible to move/replicate and make it available.

Q: To meet government mandates and ensure operations continue uninterrupted, what should IT prioritize? What approach would you recommend?  

EL: As organizations make the move to a centralized approach, they need to be aware that the blast radius of “failure” affects more than a single country. To combat this, IT organizations need to have strong procedures and plans in place that help to both avoid these situations and quickly limit the damage if a problem does occur. I view it as three distinct focus areas:

Change control procedures. Strengthen impact controls not just for code changes or operational updates, but also include regulatory changes and configuration changes.
Testing procedures. Step away from just regional scope testing and incorporate global end-to-end synthetic testing, starting from the edge service to all the backend servers and back.
Incident management. Pivot from backend monitoring to a central monitoring and outage single pane view, supported by a global operations center in a follow the sun style model.

A lot has changed in the world of government mandated e-invoicing. Continued investment in technology by government authorities has put regulators in the position to demand greater transparency along with more detailed and real-time reporting. To meet these demands, companies are looking to their IT organizations. The good news is you don’t need to go it alone. Sovos has the expertise to guide you through this global evolution based on our experience working with many of the world’s leading brands.

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Author

Eric Lefebrve

As chief technology officer (CTO), Eric sets and oversees technology strategy for Sovos. With more than 25 years’ experience leading technology teams, he is a strong proponent for establishing a corporate vision and then providing his teams with the room to work, ensuring they have the freedom to tap into their full potential. Eric has a wealth of experience leading teams throughout his career that focused on critical, high-volume transactions. Most recently, Eric was the CTO for Fiserv’s core paymentacceptance business unit where he led a global organization supporting the world’s largest payment card processing volumes. Eric’s leadership style was honed during the six years he spent in the Army National Guard as a combat engineer and squad leader. Here he learned the importance of professionalism, accountability and that the mission always comes first. A self-described passionate and outgoing person, Eric enjoys hiking Kennesaw Mountain National Park and the many trails around Metro Atlanta with his family and dog. When not in his home office, you are likely to find him on his ERG rowing machine, or potentially brewing bourbon barrel porter beers or pitching yeast for wine or mead making.
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