How IT leaders can help their businesses through regulatory obstacles
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a period of great change and complexity for individuals, businesses and society at large. For businesses, the current uncertainty is compounded by an increasingly complex regulatory environment. Government regulations can pose an obstacle on the road to profitability, particularly for risk-averse CEOs. Each time a new measure appears, unexpected twists and turns can follow, yielding headaches and anxiety. As governmental, financial and data protection regulations increase in number and complexity, they’ve become more difficult and time-consuming to manage. It also means businesses are exposed to more risk.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, risk and compliance management has veered into uncharted waters, with new obstacles and challenges around business continuity, accountability, liability and profitability, as well as employee and customer safety. While this complexity represents a threat for businesses, it also provides an opportunity for IT leaders to guide their businesses through the new landscape.
IT leaders are also facing the challenge that these disruptions have led businesses to scale back plans to digitally transform their operations. Though many businesses were pursuing the automation of operational workflows, many of these initiatives have stalled. This means many processes that could make compliance with new regulations easier aren’t yet fully automated; some remain manual and paper-based. The outcome of stalling digital transformation means the errors and delays will continue driving up the cost of compliance.
One of the biggest issues with regulations — both new and existing — is that they add time and complexity to operational workflows, increasing the likelihood of complications. Document processing workflows are particularly susceptible due to inevitable human error, so these manual and paper-based processes are a common way to fall foul of regulators. This is where IT leaders step in, as technology can help supercharge compliance processes and, thus, mitigate risk. For example, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled intelligence document processing is capable of extracting data from millions of documents in virtually any format and is faster and more accurate than human employees. Automation also makes it easier for organisations to verify their digital records’ provenance, allowing them to satisfy legal evidentiary thresholds for compliance. By mitigating this risk through technology, the IT leader can accelerate business objectives and ultimately help their CEO.
Adopting machine learning, natural language processes and AI with existing platforms will allow businesses to provide audit trails and compliance reporting, freeing it up to focus on strategic initiatives and elevate to the next level. For IT leaders seeking the most reliable route to compliance, much of the solution lies in end-to-end workflow automation. It helps businesses offer clients improved customer experience assurance that their data is treated appropriately, establish audit trails with a visible chain of custody, increase productivity and efficiency, and provide higher levels of security by leveraging intelligent document workflows in the cloud.
The progressive complexity of business regulation in Australia is not likely to change. IT leaders can secure the seat next to CEOs by keeping ahead of compliance challenges through technology. By relying on the new generation of workflow automation to meet requirements, IT leaders and their CEOs can focus on driving digital transformation efforts that keep them ahead of the curve.
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