Author's Note: This article is the first in a four-part series. This series will serve as an IT leader's guide to leveraging compliance as an opportunity to lead. This approach blends lean Six Sigma and project management guidelines to build your compliance plan in 90-180 days.

Even the battle-hardened CIOs and CTOs will be startled when the blast of new regulations that has already stunned executives hits IT. Regulatory compliance has redefined data warehousing, business intelligence and IT scope and mission. The dynamic of evolution always presents opportunities to excel. This time, the high cost of noncompliance for CEOs and CFOs has catapulted CIOs and IT professionals out of the marginalized "tech guy" role to center stage to serve as generals executing compliance requirements while executives formulate business strategy.

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