Digital transformation within your organisation is unlikely to be a single big-bang event, one project that delivers on all of your strategic goals instantaneously. Instead it will be a programme of constant innovation, small tweaks that deliver incremental improvements, eventually building up to create considerable savings and efficiencies.
On paper, this sounds perfectly reasonable. But for the compliance manager it presents a professional headache.
From customer aware to customer led
Maintaining compliance usually involves closely monitoring and controlling every process. From design to deployment to use in a production environment, the compliance manager ensures that breaches are eradicated.
The success of a digital transformation programme relies on being able to tweak and adjust processes in real-time, constantly searching for ways to better serve customers. As new opportunities are observed, they must be taken.
It could all go horribly wrong…if the process isn’t managed correctly
For maximum effect, your business needs to empower employees to make these adaptations themselves, a strategic move that goes against almost every rule of compliance management. Which means that the compliance team needs to learn to relax some of their frameworks where appropriate.
Reducing internal red tape is certain to make your business more agile. But dismantling all of your compliance regimes will lead to chaos; all important information will be lost, employees will be unable to deliver a consistent service to customers, and long-term productivity will be affected. And that’s before you start to consider the legal implications of failing to uphold the compliancy requirements of a regulated industry.
When “fast” trumps “perfect”
Because customers are adopting new products and services faster than ever before – a trend that Forrester calls “hyperadoption”. As a result your organisation has less time than ever to bring changes to market. Where perfection was once the goal, digital transformation prioritises speed of innovation.
Deploying products and services more quickly would normally increase the risk of compliance breaches, particularly if testing and auditing routines are curtailed. But as every process undergoes constant iteration, gaps and problems are identified and fixed just as quickly. The most difficult aspect of this shift in focus is ensuring that these errors do not cause the kinds of breaches that expose sensitive customer data, or result in prosecution and heavy fines.
The changing role of the compliance manager
But the reality is that the compliance manager will need to reassess their own role in the age of digital transformation. As well as providing oversight and conformity testing, the modern compliance manager will need to take on the role of trainer and mentor, giving employees the understanding and skills they need to regulate their own activities.
Being involved at every stage of the digital transformation programme, it becomes possible to build a more flexible framework for maintaining standards and obligations. Rather than rigid tools and processes, it becomes a matter of training every stakeholder to build compliance into every innovation themselves.
Making compliance everybody’s responsibility helps to strengthen new processes from the outset. The compliance manager should also find that their own workload shifts away from defining frameworks, to routinely assessing new developments to ensure they uphold the required standards.
Digital transformation demands a reassessment of every process, role and responsibility – including that of the compliance manager. As your programmes ramp up, don’t forget to look closely at how you can relax control without compromising compliance.
For more info, download our Digital Transformation Tip Sheet below.