No More Excuses: CCOs Have to Embrace Technology

It is time for an honesty check – many CCOs do not like change. CCOs, however, need to embrace change as a powerful force. Compliance is an evolutionary process – it is constantly changing. A compliance program has to move like a shark and constantly take into account new trends, new risks, and new business developments.

CCOs who resist change are doomed to fail. This is especially true in one important area – technology. The compliance profession is witnessing an explosion in new technologies needed to support CCOs in carrying out their duties.

These new technologies include platforms for third-party risk management, GMET expenditures, internal investigation case management systems, and governance, risk and compliance management programs.

I am not suggesting that CCOs are Luddites clinging to their paper, pencils and notebooks. But I am pointing out that CCOs need to devote time and attention to learn about available new technologies and do so quickly.

On the horizon are powerful new possibilities like blockchain, which could revolutionize compliance oversight and management. If CCOs do not take the time to learn about these technologies, they could easily be pushed aside by a new breed of CCO, one who embraces technology because of its effectiveness and efficient solutions.

Take as an example, third-party risk management. There are a number of attractive solutions in the marketplace that provide effective third-party risk management to onboard third-party agents, distributors, consultants, lobbyists, vendors and suppliers. If you are a mid-sized or large global company, if you have not purchased and installed such a management system, you might be ready for the Luddite world of pens, pencils and paper. Automation does not mean using an open source intelligence database – automation means automating the entire onboarding, monitoring and auditing process through the use of a third-party risk platform.

Ask any CCO who has automated third third-party risk program, and I bet you most, if not all, would smile and tell you that the program has reduced the burdens of third-party onboarding and enabled CCOs and their staff to address other projects. In other words, it is a no-brainer.

Another example is technology to manage gifts, meals, and entertainment expenses. CCOs should review technology platforms that permit companies to pre-clear and review expenditure requests in a swift and effective manner. These programs can be programmed in a variety of ways to address specific thresholds and GME policy concerns.

The benefits of compliance technology encourage greater business compliance. Technology solutions are a win-win: compliance and the business benefit. Business staff is more likely to comply with compliance requirements because third-party onboarding is completed in a shorter time. No longer will businesses have to go through the multi-step questionnaire, follow-up, investigation, contract negotiation process that can last for months.

To put it another way, change is good, and technology offers compliance professionals some real benefits. As the compliance profession rises in status, so do the number and capabilities of technological solutions. CCOs cannot turn away from technology – they must embrace it, learn about it and educate decision-makers in the company about the benefits of technology.

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