by Rhys Dipshan
Whether it’s email content, HR data or metadata, each byte of corporate data offers clues on how an organization’s staff is following or ignoring corporate compliance and ethical guidelines.
Tapping into and transforming this data into compliance analytics and actionable insights, however, isn’t easy. One company looking to assist corporations leveraging their data sources toward compliance insights is Convercent, which has launched its analytics platform Convercent Insights.
Legaltech News caught up with Patrick Quinlan, CEO and co-founder of Convercent, to discuss the company’s new platform and how it exactly sifts through the data for compliance information.
What it is: Convercent Insights is an ethics and compliance analytics platform intended for corporate legal departments to ensure employees are in compliance with company standards. The tool pulls data from enterprise systems and other Convercent applications and combines it with public data, such as unemployment figures or reports from ethics groups like Transparency International. By amalgamating all this information, the tool aims to provide visibility into an organization’s compliance situation and insight into broader trends.
How it works: Convercent Insights collects data from its global compliance hotline, which Quinlan said is used by companies in Europe and the United States to “allow [their] employees to anonymously or by name” report ethical or compliance violations in their company. Convercent also obtains data through public sources like Transparency International and government agency reports, and by extracting information from a corporation’s enterprise systems, such as expense management and HR management systems. By layering and standardizing these disparate data streams, Convercent is able to identify and understand broader compliance trends and situations.
In action: One way Convercent leverages its data toward insights is through looking at how compliance situations change at a company given certain variables. By layering enterprise HR data, which does not contain personal identifiable information, on top of compliance and ethic violation data obtained from the hotline, Quinlan said the tool can analyze how a compliance or ethics situation changes in a specific team, department or area once new management comes aboard or leaves.
In addition, Convercent also combines data from the hotline and public data to look at broader trends that may affect a company. For example, if a department has low compliance ratings and the overall economy is heading into a recession, the company may need to assure its employees they are safe to report incidents without retribution. “We have a very strong belief that dramatic changes in unemployment, whether up or down, have a direct correlation in the comfort of employees to communicate open and broadly,” Quinlan said.
What it isn’t: While able to identify and analyze compliance and ethics violations, Quinlan stressed that Convercent Insights is not a tool one should use to thwart insider risks, or to target a malicious employee who is breaching data or aiding in a cyberattack.
“This is not a ‘got you’ tool; this is not something that is being created to play the Joe McCarthy of corporate and geopolitical ethics behavior,” he said.
Quinlan explained that Convercent Insights looks to equip companies to make data-driven choices regarding their compliance and ethics program, understanding what efforts are spurring more compliance and which are failing short.
For example, the tool would help a company understand if implementing “a code of conduct that speaks to millennials in a language they can understand, in a communication format [they are used to], [creates] a more ethical culture than just purely a rules-based culture.”
How it differs from competitors: Quinlan noted that “traditionally, the compliance industry has been focused on what happens,” but in each specific compliance or ethics incident, “this a very one dimensional and incomplete view of the situation.”
He explained Convercent Insights differs from others in the compliance space because it looks “to be able to give a broad three-dimensional view of the ethics and compliance health of the organization” by tying compliance or ethics violations into broader trends happening within and outside the organization.
Yet while its focus on broader compliance trends may be novel, Convercent is far from the only compliance technology provider leveraging data from public and private repositories to provide corporations with compliance insights.
Anti-bribery compliance tool OutsideIQ’s DDIQ, for example, provides due diligence reports assessing whether individuals are “politically-exposed” by leveraging machine learning technology to search through a variety of public and private data sources, including lists maintained by U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
Likewise, U.K. startup ComplyAdvantage, which received $8.2 million in series A funding in October 2016, uses similar technology to review proprietary databases from regulatory agencies worldwide in order to flag potential risky individuals, such as those who have been sanctioned by the United States and the United Nations.