Technology is doing more than bringing compliance fully into the digital age. It’s also initiating a revolution that is putting compliance and ethics at the forefront of how business is run, creating far greater operational efficiency and interdepartmental harmony, and allowing for the creation of smart policies and trainings in response to problematic areas — instead of problematic people.
Companies taking advantage of this are seeing the results in a number of ways, but they can really be summed in in a single word: efficiency. It means getting out ahead of risk by being able to gather data before problems emerge, and then create targeted solutions.
Compliance as Firefighting
Corporate compliance used to suffer from cumbersome bureaucratic inefficiencies, and small wonder. Scattered processes, information, and reporting meant that compliance offers spent most of their time managing paperwork, and reacting when fires broke out by trying to figure out how and why things went wrong.
The inherent complexity of compliance, and the potential for huge fines and reputational damage meant it was slower to embrace the potential of technology, both because the systems were very complex and very siloed, but also because of the compliance culture itself.
From Analog Inefficiency to … Digital Inefficiency
Some of the biggest players in the compliance software game made compliance officer’s jobs easier, but tended to have bulky interfaces, customer service that was slow to understand problems and offer solutions, and an inability to organize data for clear presentation to boards and CEOs so that proactive policies could be put into place.
Compliance was still largely in the business of playing catchup and reacting after a crisis rather than being able to see it coming, and help to steer the organization out of the way.
What’s Changed: the 5 Success Factors in Cutting-Edge Compliance
When these 5 elements are integrated through technology, compliance is transformed into a proactive and smart part of an organization, nimble enough to become hugely relevant in global marketplaces, international law, and complex regulations.
- Top Level Support: When the top tier of a company understands how strategic decision making is made better through analysis of data and timely delivery of information, they get enrolled in the power of proactive compliance. One of the consistent points of feedback we get is how having targeted, powerful data to present to CEO’s and boards can greatly impact a compliance officer’s ability to be part of business strategy.
- Employee Engagement: Enrolling employees in the importance of compliance is the single best way to make sure that policies and company ethics are being followed, and that problematic areas are being identified before a crisis can break out.
- Knowing Needs: When resources are available, intelligent data is coming in, and employees are enrolled in compliance success, compliance can anticipate the needs of the next quarter, and the next year. This helps to give an important voice to strategic decision making, supporting existing values, mitigating risk by seeing that patterns that create problems before they arise, and the overall better management of resources.
- Single Source of Information: If there’s one place where compliance has historically suffered, it was in having a central, simple hub where metrics could be consolidated and understood. The easier and faster it is for a chief compliance officer or general counsel to look at data, the more use they can be in getting ahead of problems and offering strategic ways to maintain ethical standards and legal complianc. Dashboards that provide clear graphs, comparisons, and charts mean the right data is getting crunched and presented to allow fast, smart decisions to be made.
- Product Ease of Use: It’s hard to get employees to use systems that are complicated, cumbersome, and time-consuming. By having easy-to-understand interfaces that make it easy for employees to report, call, and otherwise provide critical data, compliance can gather real data in real time.
Integrated Compliance Results
Integration means an optimized infrastructure to report on metrics, benchmark integrity, and get compliance squarely inside of business strategy and execution. The results include:
- Clear policies geared towards problematic behaviors (instead of problematic people)
- Feedback from employees that helps to create real-world pictures of what’s happening
- Training programs that are smarter than once-size-fits-all, reactive ones
- Incident reporting that allows a company to keep its ethics enforced
- Empowered compliance offers who know what’s happening now, not what was happening 6 months ago.
Technology has made compliance easier, but integration is allowing it to be smarter. And that means everyone wins.