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Hello Thibault, please tell us about your journey from being an Assistant Account Manager at Baudin Chateauneuf to becoming a COO at Black tiger?

LT

As an intern, my time at Baudin Chateauneuf to validate my second year of engineering school was my first contact with business. I have been able to fully appreciate the importance of customer relations and management without succumbing to the famous “Customer is king.”

I started my career in the energy and industrial sector, either with an industrial company or a consulting firm. I quickly developed a taste for Project Management and associated stakes, performance, and results in a delivery, which are inextricably linked to human relations. This was thanks to my mentor at the time, which undoubtedly influenced my taste for empowerment and coaching.

The most complicated thing for me in these various large groups was finding a place matching my personality and aspirations. Career lines already drawn, where entrepreneurial spirit and innovation are not daily stakes, where you must be casted in the corporate mold, were not for me.

I joined Black Tiger, especially for these aspects, which are reflected in the company and leadership vision and the many-faceted adventure that an SME can offer. It was the beginning of a brand-new journey: my Slasher career started four years ago.

There is no narrow focus or single true calling but a multipotentialite life, embracing various roles, simultaneously or consecutively.

Since then, I had a multiple career path, which by the way, is not a new concept, acting first as Project Manager, function to which was added a Profiler and HR Business partner one; then a Consulting Director role; following which I took on the role of Data Protection Officer. Ultimately, all this was grouped together in a position still in its early days in Europe, a position of Chief of Staff to the CEO. I truly became a Strategic Partner acting as a “catch-all role,” from pre-sales activities to strategic planning, passing through capital raising and M&A, and many more.

A year and a half later, with the trust of the shareholders and ExCom members, I was appointed as COO with the goal of scaling the company to become a world leader in our segment, namely the exploitation of personal data.

Black Tiger’s Data Quality Box standardizes and ensures the traceability of Data. Does it regularly review and monitor applicable security controls for securing the data? Tell our readers more about its unique features/functionalities.  
LT

Black Tiger is editing the first Personal Data Platform, specialized in personal data exploitation, since 2015. The Black Tiger Platform is embedding technological and native know-how, which allows, on the one hand, benefiting from genuine business and technological expertise around personal data, and on the other hand, minimizing integration costs.

We also published other stackable products linked to personal data, namely a Data Quality Box and a GDPR Box.

To summarize, the Black tiger Platform is an All-In-One SaaS solution specialized in personal data exploitation that makes the use of personal data simple, fast, secure, and compliant. This without interlock several tools or technologies that are difficult and costly to integrate into an IT system.

It is adaptable to the constraints and changes in the markets of each of our customers. It has a strong ethical positioning through the technological implementation of Privacy legislation, which also aims to enable companies to enhance their data assets concretely.

It is a fully integrated Personal Data Platform embedding two main differentiators, as well as Big Data storage and computing power:

  • Native Data Quality as our company has a strong return of experience around the quality of personal data, primarily through proprietary algorithms libraries, open Data referential, and AI implementation.
  • And a native GDPR compliance method, a proprietary and innovative risk management method, aims to score each individual and each processing according to precise criteria, allowing the company to control the data and, therefore, of its actions.

Our value proposition is a flexible and modular SaaS offer. The Data Quality Box and GDPR Box can then be purchased and integrated independently of the total Platform. 

The DQ Box’s offered value is to build data subjects’ DNA through data integration, preparation, cleansing, and ingestion processes. It also has a data stewardship interface. The GDPR box offered value relies upon mastering GDPR compliance and having an innovative tool privacy risk management method to value personal data assets.

As a data protection professional, can you provide our readers with insights into what specific rules should be followed by organizations to ensure compliance?
LT

No matter what the country’s legislation is, the measures to be taken are always human organizational, and technical measures.

In May 2018, new general data protection rules has come into force in Europe. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has inspired several other laws around the world, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) or the General Personal Data Protection Law (LGPD) in Brazil. Even if these laws may differ in terms of territorial application, obligations, or sanction system, they are based on the same principles.

The key focus areas of these laws are revolving around:

  • Personal privacy with individual’s rights.
  • Controls and notifications enforcing strict security requirements, breach notification obligation, need to have appropriate consent for data processing, confidentiality measures, and recordkeeping necessity.
  • Policies transparency requires that organizations provide transparent and easily accessible policies regarding data collection and processing notices, processing details, and data retention duration and deletion.
  • IT and training, implying that companies must invest in Privacy personnel and employee training, data policies, the role of Data Protection Officer, and legal matters with Processor/vendor contract or addendums.

Ensuring organizational compliance is a matter of using the right resources and tools, as principles are clearly stated. 

Therefore, you must, at least:

  • Raise awareness across your company,
  • Identify, audit, and document all personal data across your organization,
  • Identify and document your legal basis for processing personal data,
  • Review how you seek, obtain and record consent,
  • Review your procedures supporting individuals’ rights,
  • Establish procedures to detect, report and investigate data breaches,
  • and finally, conduct Data Privacy Impact Assessments.

The challenge lies in the consistency of the compliance. Therefore, its assessment must be dynamic as the data and its uses, as well as the context and the Customers of a BtoC company, evolve. And the answer to this challenge is a technological one.

That is why Black Tiger, which had a strong position on data ethics long before the legislation came into force, has developed a unique compliance method to privacy laws directly implemented within its Platform.

It naturally considers the principles mentioned above and provides a score, understandable and usable by all, which allows a continuous evaluation of the level of risk for everyone over each processing purpose. Then, it is a centralized and dynamic IT system compliance and risk management service allowing complex regulations to become technologically operational.

The score enables the business lines to manage their risk when using their data and is, therefore, a guarantee of security for the company that uses it.

As companies around the globe are coming out of the Lockdown post-COVID-19, how has your business prepared to deal with what is next to come? 
LT

2020, which has been described as a chaotic year, has also been a good indicator of companie’s digital maturity and innovation capabilities in such an inevitable context.

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitively confirmed the need for change in digital ecosystems, particularly concerning customer’s personal data exploitation. It has endorsed the fact that digital transformation is a condition for survival, with e-commerce, drive, click & collect, and omnicanality. But not only those. Digitalization must now pervade all levels of the company. This will require new skills, investment, and above all, awareness that we all need to work in new ways.

Concerning our core business, COVID-19 has generated a true awareness concerning “Personal Data.” As stated previously, there is a before and an after pandemic and lockdown for enterprise Digitalization. Before, each company was on her way to drive her digital transformation, convinced to address and handle it the best way possible. Then, customers are locked at home. No one goes shopping. How do I, as a company, maintain and secure business with my customers? Just one way: digital one. It is very different to drive a Digitalization when there’s still everyday life around it versus no more other life but this one. Therefore, the quality of your data matters for real as much as GDPR or Privacy compliance. The Pandemic has been a real enabler because our know-how, products, and solutions are designed to promote efficient, responsible, and ethical digitization. I can therefore say that, indirectly, we were ready for such a business challenge.

Concerning our company, it is a tech company, so remote organization is a no-brainer. Still working together three days a week at the office is relaxed and enjoyable. It is necessary to maintain real human links, social ties that are an essential part of the company DNA. It is a vector of motivation and enhances the feeling of belonging to the same “business family.”

You have been managing essential roles for various companies; what is your mantra for maintaining a balance between work and personal life?
LT

This is an excellent question. I could digress on the subject, as much from an employer’s point of view as from an employee’s one; however, I would like to point out that, in my opinion, the notion of balance is a very individual notion with regards to personal aspirations or stages of life you find yourself in, there is no “universal” or “ideal” work-life balance. There is an “own” one, which is evolving.

To answer your question, among all the mantras that animate my life, as I must choose one, I would say, “You Get What You Focus On.”

Then, make sure you know your goals and priorities, work for them, stick to them, and take responsibility for your choices – to choose is to forsake! From there, if you do not mix happiness with fulfillment, know your personal and professional needs. How to express them in the right way in both personal and professional environments, you will have no trouble finding space for balance. It is up to you to seize it!

What are the three most daunting challenges you’ve ever faced in your professional life, and how you overcame them?
LT

The first challenge that comes to mind was when I transitioned from consultant to Project Manager in the first Consultancy I worked for. From one day to the next, I had to take over the management of more than 20 consultants on fixed-price projects for neutronic, thermo-hydraulic, and V&V calculations at our Client’s site, a world leader in nuclear engineering. One morning before joining the Client, the France MD told me that I had three months to get the margin back up to its best level. Immense pressure! I knew neither the teams, nor the customer representatives, nor the projects and therefore even less their pitfalls. The first 100 days taking-up my new role was devoted to getting projects back on. Even with a substantial personal investment, great curiosity, structured and more instinctive analysis, decision-making skills, and all the soft skills possible, the desired percentage was not achieved. Time remains an uncompressible factor. It was a very instructive experience for me in terms of people and change management. I also learned a lot about the need for resilience.

A much more pleasant challenge was my last position in the industry. I had the opportunity to practice project engineering and control on a design and build contract worth several hundred million euros with dozens of stakeholders.

The work of collecting data, monitoring, and analyzing thousands of documents, always in motion, to get better insights and previsions, and to convert it into a consolidated vision for internal and external reporting was very exciting given the stakes. The automation of all the processes in collaboration with all the stakeholders, whether internal, partners, suppliers or customers, was very enriching. Beyond the analytical and project management skills, strong listening and understanding of the stakes of each one were necessary to influence and empower the stakeholders, reminding them of the big picture and common goal. Being a communication relay, a facilitator is essential. This does not prevent being firm when necessary, but always fair. It is by getting your hands dirty and in contact with experienced professionals that you learn the most.

Finally, in a completely different context, the last item that comes to my mind is facing a cyber-attack. Even if it was a crisis exercise simulation, being in the Blue team (defenders’ team) is quite a challenge! To deal with it, you must know how to trust the professionals who surround and support you as you cannot control everything or be an expert in every field, especially when it is very technical expertise. The only thing that can be in your hands is the careful choice of your collaborators when you are building your business.

Lastly, any advice for budding entrepreneurs?
LT

Plenty! 

Believe in yourself and your ideas but keep challenging them. Do not forget that doubt is a driving force. Be ambitious but humble, pragmatic, and realistic. Work with passion and manage your energy. Do not be afraid of failure; take the risk.

Trust your gut.

Dare and do not forget to breathe!

Posted in Interviews By Uzma Abdulla   Date March 9, 2021

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