Product Report: Compliance Sampler
Wednesday, 30th January 2013
Robin Neidorf highlights FreePint's recent full and mini reports in the area of compliance - an area always of interest to FreePint readers as products become more sophisticated and required compliance more stringent.
The universal law is that two things are inevitable: death and taxes. The corollary to this law must be a third inevitable thing: regulatory compliance.
At its heart, compliance (at least, the non-environmental kind) is about information - how it moves, who knows it, who has access, how it's preserved and destroyed. And, as any information practitioner knows, information is notoriously challenging to manage, measure and document along these dimensions.
As regulations have proliferated over the past 10 to 15 years, so have the products designed to address those regulations. Over time, the products have become more sophisticated, and more targeted to both the specific use and the specific user of the product.
Like other information products, these are becoming more embedded in the workflow; publishers want to get closer to their customers and put more powerful tools right in the hands of knowledge workers rather than forcing them to go through an intermediary.
However, in the case of compliance-related products, movement into the workflow isn't just about meeting publisher objectives and making life a bit easier for the user. The more compliance tools are part of the workflow, the less likely workers are to forget a step or neglect to document their work. The result is a complete audit trail, right along with improved efficiency and faster decision-making.
From Types of Information to Types of Interactions
The first generation of compliance-related products focused on the types of information companies needed to have. Products supported users' ability to target and surface relationships between and amongst companies and executives, highlight potential "do not touch" customers or suppliers, and create assurances about money trails.
For these products, the differentiating factors tend to focus on:
- Unique, hard-to-find content sets, particularly about private companies
- Algorithms and interfaces that normalise and combine this information, so that hard-to-discern relationships jump out
- Ease of use for the end user, reducing the need for an intermediary in a library or information centre.
But a whole series of regulations relate to how information moves rather than what that information is. As knowledge work has become increasingly digitised, companies are beginning to realise the potential of digital records management, collaboration and remote access. This environment is both a compliance boon (everything can be documented) and a compliance nightmare (everything can leak).
Thus, a new crop of compliance-related products is beginning to mature: these handle the 21st century challenge of controlled and documented creation of the virtual paper trail. However, staff, clients and partners are touching information (email, intranet, social media, project notes); these products intend to create a compliance framework around those interactions without impeding business.
Compliance Product Sampler
In my role as Director of Research, I am responsible for planning and securing product reviews and mini reviews. When I talk with customers about product categories they want us to cover, compliance is invariably one of their top requests.
This FreePint Report: Compliance Sampler includes mini reviews and executive summaries from recent product reviews that address this interest:
- Keylight 3.0: a cloud-based workflow tool that contains 400+ authority documents on regulations and standards in over 38 countries (mini review by Penny Crossland)
- Workshare: a tool that integrates with the ubiquitous Microsoft Outlook, making email collaboration around documents and version control a seamless part of the workflow (mini review by James Mullan)
- PI Private Company Data: a new offering from Perfect Information, focusing on private company information on UK and Irish companies (executive summary of full review by Dale Moore)
- BvD Mint: a powerful database of corporate entities and executive records, which enables users to peer into complex relationships and ownership structures (executive summary of full review by Dale Moore).
As a "sampler", this report is intended to suggest examples of a number of types of compliance-related products and uses. But it's only a taster of what's to come: our editorial calendar over the next few months includes a wide range of innovative, powerful and user-friendly products designed in whole or in part to support an organisation's need to maintain compliance with various information-related regulations.
Do you have a suggestion for this list? A particular compliance-related need you are having difficulty meeting? Please submit your suggestions at any time.
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