Embedding centralised technologies to help manage regulatory compliance data
08 September 2016
By Sudheer Parwana
“Regulatory Compliance” is a phrase which my clients very rarely say with warm fuzzy feelings and cheerful thoughts. And why would they? In recent years there has been a greater focus on ensuring organisations operate legally, safely and ethically as a result of new social trends, technology advancements and greater globalisation. To make this happen, new regulations are increasingly being imposed at a rapid pace and I suspect June’s vote on Brexit will only add further complexity once it is in full flow.
To stay compliant, significant administrative effort and cooperation is required from all areas of the business. However, this can be costly, hard to monitor and quickly becomes impractical if not done effectively. To solve this challenge, I’ve been working with clients to help them embed smart technology into their operations, automate their processes and bring greater efficiency to the way compliance is integrated into their business as usual (BAU) activities.
Interestingly, although organisations are starting to invest and embed technology into their BAU operations, I’m still seeing many clients carry out their initial compliance assessment projects using basic tools like spreadsheets, emails and shared drives.
These tools tend to be used because they’re familiar, require little technical knowledge and are fast to get up and running. However, this approach can quickly become chaotic as soon as spreadsheets are copied, version control issues are introduced and time consuming tasks are required to consolidate information and generate regular management information (MI) reports.
The data footprint becomes large very quickly (just think about all the email exchanges and spreadsheets over the lifetime of a project) making it difficult to track down information and virtually impossible to establish an audit trail. These traditional tools also mean people work in silos and end up working in different ways.
Despite the fast start, the whole process becomes increasingly inefficient, difficult to manage and hard for senior stakeholders to get an accurate and reliable view of their compliance.
Quite a gloomy picture right? So how do you solve this?
Well, my passion is to help clients design and build innovative web applications to bring all their information into a single structured repository, embed automation and improve their operational efficiency. In most cases, this means building personalised applications that are not readily available off the shelf.
Probably the most powerful aspects of using a centralised solution is that it allows people (and teams) to work collaboratively so that tasks are carried out in a consistent way. This then means you can quickly view real-time reports and dashboards (with no manual effort required) and interact with them to get deep insights into your data. A full audit trail is also maintained, which means any key information you need in future will not be lost in someone’s inbox.
For example, one of my recent clients conducted a regulatory compliance review across 17 global business units. Having all the necessary tools and information in the single tool allowed teams to easily work together, share information and quickly complete their assessments. Senior stakeholders used the dashboards, throughout the project, to track progress, find trends and target key areas of focus within a few button clicks (and seconds). Once they got to the important information, they were then able to make informed decisions on next steps, plug any compliance gaps and document the resolutions with a full audit trail.
I wonder how long this would have taken using the traditional spreadsheet approach?
As you can see, a centralised technology can really help you streamline your operations and give you greater confidence in your business and compliance. Ultimately, using technology is not meant to fundamentally change your processes or ways of working, but enhance and simplify the way it is being executed so that it’s more automated, intelligent and easier to monitor. Done correctly, it can save countless hours, effort and sleepless nights. And this would put a smile on anyone’s face, right?
To find out more about PwC's Compliance Hub watch our short animation here.