Enterprise Compliance Today

Payoffs to Expect from Good Compliance Software

Posted by Greg Carroll on Wed, Apr 24, 2013 @ 01:29 PM

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How proactive compliance tools increase bottom-line returns, thereby fulfilling key director performance criteria

Part 1 of a series on the key criteria of director compliance performance


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Later in this series of posts I will deal with the long-term benefits of good compliance systems, but for now let's focus on the low-hanging fruit for management: The elimination of delays, duplications and administrative handling. See how it works »

In 30 years of offering compliance tools, we've seen organisations try to tackle compliance in a lot of different ways. Some are good. Some are poor. One of the poorest is with a manual system. When I say "manual," I include the use of ad hoc desktop applications for compliance record keeping.

Manual systems are a legacy of the days when there wasn't really much choice. Everything a business did was documented on paper. What is surprising is the number of organisations still using this 19th century system to tackle a 21st century job.

Manual systems typically fall short on a number of critical points. To start with, a piece of paper can only be in one place at a time. Whether paper or desktop application, manual systems can lead to many different versions of the truth, administrative waste through duplications and handling costs, a lack of information at the point of decision making, and slow reaction times. The result is confusion and poor performance. It creates a culture of divisiveness, secrecy, and blame.

Achieving calm amid chaos

This sense of controlled chaos is often mislabeled as a ‘high-pressure environment’. But having observed true high-pressure environments for more than 30 years, I can tell you the notion couldn’t be further from the truth. In truly critical situations, when people’s lives were in the balance, professionals show an amazing level of calm. The common thread is their adherence to strict compliance frameworks with the implicit knowledge that they can rely on the competence, equipment and information required.

Later in this series of posts I will deal with long-term benefits of good compliance systems, but here I want to deal with the low-hanging fruit for management: The elimination of delays, duplication, and administrative handling.

Record keeping is often a lazy way to tick the box

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking of compliance systems as an overhead -- a burden to business. This is due to the proliferation of record keeping systems under the guise of compliance systems. It is just a lazy approach to ticking the box. Record keeping is primarily for audit purposes, i.e. proof of what you do, and therefore should be recorded automatically as tasks are carried out. In fact, automated record keeping is already a by-product of day-to-day operational activity in most enterprise applications today.

A good compliance system does so much more. It immediately delivers the strategic benefits of quickly responding to opportunities, greater efficiency through less firefighting, and streamlining processes and communication. That combination leads to a paradigm shift in business growth and productivity.

Less firefighting and more problem solving

Good compliance systems identify process deficiency, inefficiencies, and breakdowns in communications, which invariably lead to multiple handing, rework and reduced production time. Get to the roots of the problem, and you produce real cost savings that go straight to the bottom line. For example Fast Track assists in these processes through:

  • Neural network architecture, which provides a powerful problem-solving tool for management
  • Coordination and automation of governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) activities, which eliminates duplication of both governance effort and operational overhead
  • Cause analysis reporting of problems, which highlights areas for action
  • A risk assessment calculator, which provides objective prioritization of allocation of time & resources
  • More electronic access to GRC data and task management, which means less reliance on physical travel for audit and inspections activities
  • A resource management module with rostering and resource availability, which reduces tasking conflicts and availability

Where compliance is implemented purely for regulatory record keeping, it only becomes a rod to the back of the business. It burdens staff while highlighting its faults and weaknesses. In contrast, proactive compliance tools are the source of improvement and elimination of waste. They increase bottom-line returns, thereby fulfilling key director performance criteria.

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Tags: Best practices, Compliance Management, project management, Cost of compliance