It’s no secret that automation is changing the way that business is practised – you just have to look at platforms like MailChimp and SalesForce to see the impact that automation has had on the world of customer relationship management. The benefits that automation can bring to a business are becoming increasingly clear across a number of areas of business management – knowing what tasks your staff are most commonly performing, along with the steps within those tasks and then being able to identify if there is scope for automation is the new norm.
By Sarah Le Breton, Compliance Quarter.
Why then should the world of compliance be any different? As we have previously discussed, the way that your compliance controls are applied by your staff in their day to day work practices is where your greatest source of compliance risk resides. How then can we better utilise technology to manage that risk? The answer lies in compliance workflow design and the automating compliance workflows. We will now take a closer look at what we mean by ‘compliance workflow design’ and how Compliance Quarter is able to assist businesses in boding technology to work practices to better manage compliance risks within a business.
What are workflows?
What is a workflow you might ask – good question. A workflow is effectively a system or business process that is deployed within an organisation to effect a task or project. It looks at the task or project as a whole and then breaks it down into each component whilst mapping the steps and known variables which can impact on the completion of that task or project. A good way to think of it is as a mind map where each key step is identified and described.
By creating workflows within a business, you are not only positioning yourself to better manage risk, but you are creating a valuable source of corporate knowledge and intellectual property that will enhance the value of your business. In some ways, you should consider workflows the ultimate succession plan within a business no matter the complexity of the task at hand – gone are the days of being reliant on one staff member to be able to undertake a particular form of work, you can utilise workflows to democratise corporate knowledge within your business.
The efficiencies that workflows can bring to an organisation are self-evident – gone are the days of Joe from sales asking Susan from accounts etc about what must be done within a common work task. The task has been identified by the business as a routine one and the steps that the company requires to be done to affect that task have been considered and mapped. If the business is serious about unleashing the efficiency that workflows provide they will have taken the next step and utilised a technology solution to act as a repository of those mapped steps and will have automated them.
Why use workflows in compliance?
In short, the development of compliance workflows by an organisation offers the business greater certainty as to how risk is being managed in practice and provides a quality assurance function. The business can have confidence that compliance and risk controls are being considered in the tasks or projects where identified risks are most likely to transpire – for example, product development within an organisation. The key steps in the creation of a product (be it physical or services based) can be broken down into component pieces and the key points where particular legal or regulatory compliance issues need to be considered and/or approved within a business can then be identified and built in as a step that must be adhered to by team members within that process. The creation of workflows act as a further line of defence for the business and largely remove the exercise of discretion by individuals as to how the compliance controls apply to a task or project.
A business can also harness the value of workflows when it comes to its own compliance team and ensuring that the processes that they employ are standardised in so far as possible and are troubleshooting key issues that need to be considered when providing compliance assistance to the business.
The further benefit of automated workflows in the compliance space is the ability of a business to be able to audit and pinpoint with precision where the failure took place. It gives the business the ability to monitor such failures but also to learn from them by knowing exactly what went wrong and then being able to apply a ‘lessons learned’ approach to gain insight as to how the business must evolve to ensure that such failure does not happen again or by minimising the likelihood of that failure happening again.
How can Compliance Quarter assist with workflows?
The Compliance Hub platform, offered to customers of Compliance Quarter, contains a feature to facilitate the creation of automated compliance workflows. By using the Compliance Hub, a business can build in approval and risk management steps themselves as a means of ensuring work practices align with the compliance controls of the organisation. The workflow feature of the Compliance Hub also adds a further means by which the business can demonstrate compliance and can create a footprint that can be audited as part of its ongoing compliance program.
Our team can also assist in facilitating the design of compliance workflows for your organisation using the Compliance HUB, please get in touch and we can arrange a consultation with one of our Regulatory Specialists.