Dave Found
Director, Software Architecture

The content below was published on Corporate Compliance Insights Blog – a knowledge-sharing forum designed to educate and encourage informed interaction within the corporate compliance, governance and risk community. To read the original post, click here.

Business Process Management is Critical on Multiple Fronts

When people hear the word “compliance,” they often imagine red tape and a governing body restricting your free will – so suffice it to say, it’s not the most pleasant word in the English dictionary. But compliance is so much more than the equivalent of a teacher’s pet making you stay late after school. It’s an essential part of business practices, and failure to be compliant can lead to penalties, fraud and the loss of your business. There are many challenges that come with navigating the murky waters of compliance; luckily the dawn of technology can help solve those problems.

Bolstering Corporate Compliance with a Solid BPM Strategy

In the wake of cybercrime and corporate scandals, the age-old concept of compliance ensures companies act responsibly and are protected. With tighter compliance comes reduced legal problems, improved operations, higher productivity levels and greater employee retention.

A key area in compliance that often gets shoved under the rug is within Business Process Management (BPM) – a systematic approach to making an organization’s workflow more effective, more efficient and more capable of adapting to an ever-changing environment. Compliance in this area consists of a) demonstrating that you have documented your process, b) demonstrating that you have followed that process, c) demonstrating you have visibility over all processes and d) demonstrating that you can spot cases in which processes were not followed.

The Benefits of BPM Software

Gartner defines BPM as “a management discipline that treats processes as assets that directly contribute to enterprise performance by driving operational excellence and business process agility.” Put in layman’s terms, BPM gives organizations a structured environment to document and modify processes and can ensure any changes meet compliance requirements. Without BPM technology, companies are doing more manual work and therefore are at more of a risk for monetary loss and failure.

The better the BPM system, the lower the compliance costs. Simple.

Specifically, companies in financial services, insurance, health care, communications and other heavily regulated sectors should implement a process-driven approach that offers a cross-functional perspective. After all, having a well-defined outline of your workflow and business rules in place is beneficial in the event of a breach or audit. In fact, a good BPM software option should afford you full visibility of your audit trails and allow you to meet service level agreements with configurable dashboards and reports that improve reliability by tracking in a timely manner.

Getting Started

When asked what the biggest challenge to the organization was in regard to regulatory compliance in a 2015 AIIM study, 40 percent of respondents stated it was keeping policy and procedures up-to-date. With new laws and regulations constantly changing, BPM provides a platform to keep up with these changes quicker and with more control. You must make sure your policies reflect real-time business conditions and utilize custom software tools that track risk and deliver automatic notifications for greater clarity.

Here’s how you can prepare for implementing BPM software in your organization:

  1. Understand and define your processes and current systems before searching for tools.
  2. Define your goals and the parameters of meeting those goals. For example, are you willing to invest in large system changes, or do you want to keep using your legacy tools? Knowing which BPM software meets your end goal – whether it’s one that connects to your existing tools or creates new efficiencies – will help you reach your desired outcome.
  3. Get stakeholder involvement and approval, and set up a time frame on how long it will take to train your team.
  4. Have a baseline of your current data to ensure you can properly measure improvement going forward.

Making a small organizational change – like having one location for your documents and procedures – can mean big returns such as a reduction in auditing costs, quality improvement and a greater ROI. BPM is all about cutting out the waste and producing quality products/services – which are indicators of safe and trustworthy operations that bodes well on any compliance report.

In short, compliance and BPM are natural siblings and create the most value when paired together. To make sure nothing slips through the cracks, implement a process management solution so your compliance needs are always in check.