Jesper Alwall, General Counsel at IFS: "Synch knows privacy, it's that simple."
When the EU legislation on GDPR came in 2018, it meant a major change for many companies, not least for the global IT company IFS. They then chose to bring in Synch as an external data protection representative, and to this day, they continue to have a long and well-functioning collaboration.
When a group of students from Linköping were commissioned to develop a maintenance system for a Swedish nuclear power plant in 1983, they had no idea what their futures would bring. Now, with over 4,000 employees, operations in some 30 countries, and one million users globally, their company is better known today as the leading IT company, Industrial and Financial Systems (IFS).
Jesper Alwall has worked at IFS since 2009 and is currently Chief Legal Officer. This entails the responsibility for over fifteen lawyers and compliance employees worldwide, with a focus on, among other things, sales, contracts, and internal data management.
“At IFS, we are dedicated to developing our business system, IFS Applications. It is a program used to govern various processes in a company, which involves everything from HR and personnel management to warehouse work or purchasing. We target several different industries, such as service, construction, and energy.”
Adjustment led to cooperation
When the EU Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, entered into force in 2018, it meant major changes for many actors around the world. With greater requirements for routines and processes for secure handling of personal data, stricter rules, and a completely different way of working for IFS was initiated.
“Before GDPR, there was a completely different set of rules regarding how we work with customer data. We do not actively process customers' data, but since we provide software for customers, who in turn handle their customers' data, we have indirect access to certain information,” Jesper explains.
The preparatory work was extensive and started one year before the legislation came into force. IFS then hired Synch as their external DPO, Data Protection Officer, and has since been registered with the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (IMY) as IFS's internal Data Protection Officer. In practice, Synch acts as an advisor and support for IFS's internal management of privacy.
“Before GDPR, Synch had helped us with various privacy issues. As we felt very satisfied with them, it became a natural part of our collaboration that they would also support us in the GDPR issues. Both privacy and GDPR are important issues for us at IFS, so it was important that it felt right,” says Jesper.
Synch and IFS have worked together for a long period of time and know each other well. According to Jesper, they have a close dialogue that has always worked well, which can be seen in his aspirations for their continued cooperation:
“In the future, I hope that Synch chooses to expand internationally, so we can get their advice for all our operations worldwide. Synch knows privacy, it's that simple. They are fast-footed and come with good, direct advice when we ask for it. They really take the DPO role seriously, and we could not be happier.”