Jennifer Morrison, legal vice president of Dell Technologies, recently spoke with ExecutiveBiz for the publication’s latest Executive Spotlight interview to talk about her role with the company and the significant challenges facing the legal team to uphold the ethical standards and corporate integrity in the federal sector.
In addition, Morrison also discussed the impact that CMMC and other compliance standards have had for federal contractors in the GovCon industry as well as her goals for Dell’s legal team in 2022 and more.
“For us, the challenge is just staying on top of those critical changes and how they factor into our business practices. After that, the next step is making sure that we provide guidance to our clients and teams regarding how to execute the mission in a compliant manner. We’re constantly trying to look ahead to predict any shifts in the landscape.”
You can read the full Executive Spotlight interview with Jennifer Morrison below:
ExecutiveBiz: In your role as Federal VP of Legal for Dell Technologies, what do you consider to be the most significant challenges facing your legal team and customers to maintain ethical standards and corporate integrity in the highly competitive GovCon sector?
“I think many of the challenges that we face as a legal team revolve around adjusting to the continuing regulatory landscape. Over the last several years there have been a host of regulatory changes and executive orders that we have had to address and figure out as a legal team how best to advise our business and stay compliant.
Dell Technologies prides itself on always doing things the right way and we have been on the list of most ethical companies for many years now. That is something we are obviously proud of and is at the forefront of everything we do. It’s my team’s responsibility to ensure that we are advising our internal clients properly and guiding them through this ever-evolving landscape.
For us, the challenge is just staying on top of those critical changes and how they factor into our business practices. After that, the next step is making sure that we provide guidance to our clients and teams regarding how to execute the mission in a compliant manner.
That’s not an easy task. These days we know that we can put something in place, but then a huge change comes in a year later. So we’re constantly trying to look ahead to predict any shifts in the landscape, and it requires a lot of flexibility especially when working for a large technology company like Dell, there are just some changes that take time to execute.
As a result, if there is a new regulation coming down the pipeline that we need to comply with despite the fact that it won’t be effective for two or three more years, we start planning for those changes today to make sure internally that we’re coordinating in all areas, including supply chains, software and cybersecurity, among others.
We look at the potential risk and how it fits or aligns with our business to apply a smart risk approach to get to a compliant solution. Sometimes, that forces us to take a more conservative approach but I find it easier to peel back rather than coming up short and then having a large gap that you then have to make up for quickly. We just try to strike the right balance based on the requirements and risk.”
ExecutiveBiz: With CMMC and other government compliance standards influencing the best business practices in the federal landscape, what are the biggest improvements and changes that you’ve seen for federal contractors to stay ahead of the technical curve?
“If you look at CMMC from its basic premise, it’s in the spirit of working to ensure the right systems, infrastructure and processes are in place to protect the government’s most sensitive information. The regulatory landscape around CMMC has changed, and now we’re at version 2.0 and there may likely be a 3.0 and beyond, however, that basic premise remains the same.
I do think as a federal contractor it’s important to take our role as stewards of government information seriously and ensure that the right systems are in place. We want our clients to feel that trust and these are just best practices for what we need to support our most important customer, the U.S. government.
As challenging as it can be to implement the right safeguards and controls to comply with these standards and practices, we also see it as a differentiator for the company for how we go-to-market and how we support all of our customers. It’s a significant investment from Dell’s perspective and necessary to ensure we are able to continue to serve our federal customers.”
ExecutiveBiz: With a new year underway, where would you like to see Dell Technologies by the end of 2022 and what do you hope to accomplish?
“Overall, Dell has been leaning into consumption models with our APEX offerings. My team has been very heavily involved in ensuring that we can look and adapt those offerings to fit within the contracting process that the federal government requires. That is something that will continue to evolve and will likely see being taken advantage of more in the next year.
As we move forward, we want to ensure that we have some different options for our customers outside of the traditional purchasing options that the government has historically used. That’s on our minds and another critical focus area for our team.
I think our APEX model is really our biggest opportunity. Dell is the leading technology company in the world and being able to offer an entire portfolio that is unique for our customers and makes us a one-stop shop in a lot of different areas, provides us a lot of different opportunities and ways of working with our clients to meet their needs and have that flexibility to offer a wide range of solutions to ensure our values and progress is always moving forward.”