In the modern world, there are no secrets and businesses face high expectations in their legal and ethical responsibilities. Managing compliance, however, is often a difficult task. How can large corporations even begin to control the actions and interests of hundreds, or even thousands of individual stakeholders? One solution to this is Business Process Automation (BPA). Utilising core BPA functionality such as online forms and workflow automation provides a centralised, automated approach to the management of compliance processes. When stakeholders are assured of the organisation’s legal, ethical, and social compliance, they can focus on other areas, pursuing other business activities with peace of mind.
There are a range of compliance use cases that BPA can address in any large organisation, but in this blog I’m going to focus on three high-compliance industries: Higher Education, Finance and Government.
How BPA streamlines compliance
BPA works so well for compliance simply because it removes the human factor. Firstly, it removes the risk of human error for greater accuracy of data. For example, automation ensures data is always entered correctly into systems, employees are given automatic reminder notifications, correct documents are always attached to emails, and no steps are forgotten – essentially, everything in the compliance process is completed correctly every time. Human workers, then, are gifted time and headspace for more complex and interesting work, rather than maintaining records and documenting processes.
BPA software can also function as a single source of truth for managing compliance. Instead of siloed processes across the organisation, BPA can integrate with multiple systems giving business leaders visibility and control over the entire organisation’s compliance from one place.
Managing large workforces also brings the risk of deliberate non-compliance (whether it be for nefarious purposes or simple laziness). Business Process Automation can reduce or remove this risk, by ensuring no steps are skipped, no processes avoided and no policies ignored.
There are a range of compliance use cases that BPA can address in any large organisation, and a great example is higher education. We recently introduced a set of disclosure tools to a large Australian University using BPA software, to help manage their 18,000 employees. This was a great way to improve and extend their existing processes, most of which were manual or paper-based. The new disclosure tools include a conflict of interest disclosure, a secondary employment disclosure, and a sensitive research registry. Employees can complete these disclosures in an online portal, ensuring a single point of contact for all disclosures.
By leveraging the data collected through the BPA solution, the University now benefits from business-facing reports to give visibility into the level of compliance. There are also new automation workflows (based on the organisational hierarchy) that automatically route requests to the appropriate leaders. By ensuring these processes go smoothly and documentation is digital, rather than on paper, the University can avoid issues such as bias, loss of documentation, conflicts of interest, and fair work violations.
Universities are not the only beneficiary of BPA for compliance – notoriously strict in this area is the finance industry. As mentioned above, automation reduces the risk of human error, a critical factor when dealing with sensitive information in large quantities. This accuracy can be instrumental in reducing the risk of legal complications and the cost of fixing internal errors.
BPA can help finance firms in the (often lengthy) customer onboarding process, performing necessary ID checks, creating new accounts, and integrating this whole process across the organisation’s different systems. BPA can also enable compliance across the rest of the customer journey, enabling automatic loan rejection or approval for faster service.
This ensures all the necessary steps are taken as required by strict government controls and company policies. Automating this work can also reduce the cost of adhering to these multitude of compliance rules, as employees are free to do more complex work and focus on customer experience.
BPA will also document everything completed (or not completed) in the process, forming an accurate, detailed audit trail should it ever be needed.
In many ways, government organisations can face the same compliance pressures as finance companies. Strict audit trails, transparency, and accountability are core to much of government daily life, and can also become a large bottleneck for projects. BPA not only automatically records each step completed (saving employees time spent filling out reports), it also provides a centralised, organised place to store the large amounts of necessary information. As opposed to humans creating and maintaining either electronic or paper based records, automation ensures everything is organised, easily retrievable, complete, and automatically disposed of when no longer needed. No process steps are missed because someone was on holiday, no lost records, and fewer hours of expensive labour spent on documentation and audits.
As with any tool, BPA is not a panacea and your organisation’s individual needs must be considered. It is clear, however, that on an enterprise scale BPA has the potential to scale and manage compliance extremely well, particularly within the industries outlined above.
If you would like to know more about BPA software, or real-world examples of how we’ve applied it to integration and compliance projects, contact us for an obligation-free conversation.