The concept of operational resiliency and full digital reliance has never been put to the test as much as in these past 9 months, which yielded significant changes to operations and compliance processes across the globe, in what felt like an instant. There are some things that we can expect to return back to normalcy, such as dining out, unrestricted travel, attending large-scale celebrations – but there are other aspects of business and the way we think about risk, that is not likely to return to how it was before all of this began.
This year has shifted mindsets, priorities and strategies that are likely to forever form part of critical thinking and operational planning going forward – crisis or not. Undoubtedly, there has been greater emphasis placed on digitised Governance, Risk and Compliance solutions. Moreover, organisations are realising that the involvement and understanding of these processes should not be limited to a few stakeholders, but instead form a part of the culture of the entire company
Earlier this year we identified our own 7 focus areas that we felt would be particularly relevant for the future of business and compliance – The changes that we think are here to stay:
1. Automation within compliance
Digitalising compliance processes is going to be a fundamental aspect to business success going forward, as it will help organisations scale and react quickly, as well as appropriately – both with internal and external stakeholders. In light of recent events and especially with the new ways of remote work and physical distance, this is extremely important as key personnel and the subject matter experts may not always be as readily reachable as they were before in a typical office environment.
2. Cloud-based computing for scalable solutions
When the crisis hit, most functions within the organisation were forced to work remotely and it showed the world that on-premise solutions sported a series of downfalls. Looking ahead, it’s unlikely that all businesses will resume to a full five days per week office setting, and workforces will continue to operate and improve on their remote working cultures. Smooth future-orientated operations may be extremely challenged if the organisation continues to rely on on-premise software. There is no better time than now for institutions to adopt scalable, cloud-based solutions.
3. Ensure vendors are equally compliant
Third-party and supply chain risk has heightened and organisations need to actively be reassessing relationships and reliance in order to get a true picture of the ever changing vendor-risk profile. Many organisations were made to prioritise new third-party relationships in order to integrate into the new way of working, fast. Supply chain priorities adapted and certain inventory and supplies instantly became on the critical path in order to enable an organisation’s entire operation. Going forward, it’s important to ensure that your vendors and supply chain is geared toward the future and are regularly critically assessed.
4. Sustainability management
Pre-covid, we noticed rapidly emerging trends around more structured sustainability, reduction of your organisation’s carbon footprint and better management of real sustainability risks. This awareness for sustainability is a trend that has now been amplified and will likely become a large new component of compliance and regulation as a consequence. The future calls for a big need for smart thinking in this space in order to make sustainability management transparent, measurable and actionable.
5. Operational resilience
In a recent IRM survey, 90% of companies plan on revisiting and updating their risk management and business continuity plans for the future. This is a sure indicator that companies realise now, more than ever, the importance of risk managers, as well as revising scenarios, potential risks and measures that should be tested within your business continuity plans. Essentially, it is important to find resilience and maturity in your risk management because as the saying goes: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
6. Compliance doesn’t stop
Compliance processes cannot stop, even when other operations within your organisation might. New methods need to be established that enable processes to carry on and it is tremendously important for business leaders to find resilience in the compliance process and turn any current weaknesses into strengths. Enterprises are challenged now more than ever to adapt quickly to change, because many of these changes are here to stay.
7. Collaboration and communication
Collaboration tools and efficient communication is extremely important with remote teams. This goes much further than just implementing a good communication culture within your workforce, but it means adapting your control framework to a new style of work that promotes healthy collaboration and communication. Being able to working well from anywhere armed with the correct tools and infrastucture is both the now and the future of team collaboration.
To hear a discussion around these points in more detail, listen to an episode of the The RegTech Report Podcast: Projections for the Future of Compliance.