woman wearing an owl eye mask and blue wig
PHOTO: Emma Backer

There has been a recent upswell of cosmetic surgery requests to make people look like their online filtered selves. This disturbing trend, called “Snapshot dysmorphia,” reveals an unhealthy obsession with surface change, and a blurring of artifice and reality.

Is the same thing happening with our enterprise compliance initiatives?

While the promise of a cosmetic fix might be tempting, here’s how clearer minds are overcoming compliance dysmorphia to enable effective execution, control and accountability.

A New Paradigm for Compliance 

Operational compliance is the second-fastest growing priority in the 2018 KPMG CIO Survey (registration required) of 4,000 global IT leaders. As CIOs react to a proliferation of regulations that carry rising reputational and monetary risks, the temptation might well be to create yet another report, by manually wading through disjointed data stores, or purchase yet another point solution for the latest regulation.

But just as medical researchers advise us to resist “Snapshot dysmorphia,” so must enterprise leaders look beyond mere surface solutions for compliance execution.

The reality is that being compliant requires significant resources, including specialized compliance staff and managers, training for anyone handling accounts, and developers to create and modify systems and reports.

As businesses grapple with the demands of Know Your Customer (KYC), HIPAA, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it’s not surprising that executives can feel they are forever chasing after compliance. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein shared, “[Regulatory compliance] affects almost everything we do. I can’t think about our technology spend without thinking of the number of heads I have to hire to build the systems to comply with the new regulatory reporting functions.” 

Thankfully though, a new paradigm has emerged. The very same digital capabilities that can distort perception for our online social selves are presenting us with a practical solution to improve enterprise compliance.

Related Article: How Facebook's Cambridge Analytica Scandal Impacted the Intersection of Privacy and Regulation

Link Compliance to Customer Journeys

The critical question to consider is: What people, processes and digital technologies can be put in place to enable business performance that can also assure regulatory compliance? The answer? Look to customer journeys.

Digital technology is already helping organizations rethink established processes, product offerings and business models. When digital is focused on improving customer journeys, it drives improvement from the outward-facing customer touch points extending back through into every facet of the business.

Managing customer journeys — whether for clients, consumers, constituents, patients, members or corporations — requires tackling both process and data to create integrated data views and intelligent process automation.

Here is a way to simultaneously support business innovation and improvement, while also proactively and cost-effectively implementing compliance capabilities.

Related Article: Is Your Customer Journey in Jeopardy?

Change What Lies Beneath

Organizations that focus on integrated data management for a complete customer view have a head start on managing factual, observed and derived data. In turn, data control increases and aids governance, risk management and transparency.

When combined with an intelligent automation platform, critical information can be made available to key processes in different functions, and can be rapidly extended across functions. Automation, from robotic process automation to business process management to AI, offers greater control of both customer and compliance measures across scattered organizational structures, data formats and legacy system processes. And it helps drive productivity and control costs.

This approach enables the entire enterprise to improve its practices while concurrently meeting its regulatory requirements. With integrated data views operating in tandem with automated processes, the resulting benefits can include:

  • Process-based applications can be developed once, reused, and adapted, enabling compliance consistency and control, but also future-proof assurance for tracking to multiple regulators and locally nuanced regulations.
  • Inevitable exceptions stay on track and issues are resolved as quickly as they occur. As actions occur they are documented, preserving audit control as a by-product of action.
  • Patterns become easier to detect when ongoing transaction level data across multiple products and accounts are brought together in a single view.
  • Staff — whether humans, bots or AI-enabled humanoid approaches — can interpret and record the same information in the same places, improving overall quality.
  • Improved customer views and processes provide a basis for cross-sell, fraud detection and risk management.

Related Article: Move Beyond AI Hype: Design Your Automation Strategy

Find the Compliance North Star

Long ago, sailors navigated the seas using the stars to help point them in the right direction. Though much has changed, and our toolset has evolved from nautical maps and compasses to digital technologies, we are still dependent on one thing: establishing “true north.”

Going forward, agility to serve customers and support compliance both depend on how effectively enterprises can navigate interactions across complex structures. By embracing the customer perspective, we can gain a directional roadmap — our true north. And, by focusing on the path of our customer data as it’s collected and processed, we point the way for compliance execution.

The end result?

Greater transparency, execution control and accountability — for real — to satisfy the demands of both our customers and our regulators.