First, some context.
I still remember the moment I realised that compliance professionals deserved a better solution. It was not too long ago, while I was still serving as an in-house compliance professional. I had concluded a call with another potential vendor who was looking to sell us a due-diligence solution. The solution seemed pretty impressive and we definitely had a need for it, but I was still skeptical, probably because of Janine (not her real name obviously). Janine was one of my team members who was also on that call. Amongst her other responsibilities, she was responsible for managing a transaction screening solution we had inherited. Far from being a solution, that ‘thing’ was a nightmare. It spat out so many false positives, created a lot more work for her and other stakeholders, and we were all pretty scarred. Naturally, this experience along with other considerations such as managing a lean budget, having the resources to devote to implementation, and the time to value, made us apprehensive about onboarding new solutions. This led me to consider, what would be the main characteristics of the ideal tech solution for compliance teams like mine?
Naturally, I made a checklist:
- It had to improve our risk oversight
- It had to demonstrably improve our productivity
- It had to be easy to implement
- Time to value had to be instantaneous
- It had to be scalable and solve for more than one use case
- It had to be secure
- It had to be VERY reasonably priced
- It had to be highly accessible and easy to use
- Bonus: It had to get better and better over time
At the end of the process, I realised my checklist seemed more like a wishlist. The closest solutions I could find to match these requirements were the typical GRC platforms — because they tended to be modular in nature. But these solutions were clunky, expensive, and unintuitive. There had to be something more intuitive, agile, and intelligent.
What is a digital assistant?
So over time (and inspired by how easy Tony Stark had it, thanks to his assistant Jarvis), we realized that the only solution we could conceive, that could potentially fulfill each and every one of the items on my checklist would be a digital assistant.
Notice how I didn’t say chatbot? Well, that’s because they are not the same thing. Our vision of a digital assistant is a solution with 3 main characteristics:
- It generates meaningful insights that would otherwise be hard to compile;
- It automates tasks that typically impede productivity,
- It delivers an increasingly personalized experience over time.
This is why at RADICALi, we are building MICA (My Intelligent Compliance Assistant). Our expectation of MICA is that it should directly and measurably improve the risk oversight and the productivity of members in the compliance team while delivering an increasingly personalized experience over time. If done well, this will give compliance professionals the opportunity to evolve into strategic decision-makers with the insights, and the opportunity to capitalize on those insights.
Here are 5 reasons why compliance teams need a digital assistant:
- A compliance professional manages compliance risk, not compliance applications. Compliance teams typically manage multiple types of risks and provide a suite of services to their business. It would be impractical and impossible to expect them to adopt a separate solution for every major need they have. A digital assistant would solve for multiple use cases, which means the compliance professional would spend less time managing an application and more time managing risk.
- As cost centres with limited budgets, compliance functions need a great ROI and they need it fast. As I have demonstrated, there are quite a number of considerations that have to be satisfactorily addressed whenever a decision is being made about purchasing a solution. One of the most important ones for heads of compliance typically is, what is the return on investment (and be able to demonstrate to the powers that be) and how long will it take? With a digital assistant, the time to value should be immediate and easily demonstrable as it should quickly be able to automate mundane tasks that are typical productivity killers for compliance teams everywhere. When it comes to the return on investment, it should only grow over time as a digital assistant becomes more personalized and better integrated with your business.
- Solving for fragmentation and delivering improved oversight. Compliance risk oversight is key but it’s hard to achieve if you have to contend with fragmented applications, data repositories, and workflows. A digital assistant that solves for multiple use cases and can easily integrate with existing applications, repositories, and workflows can generate meaningful insights for the compliance team. Those insights can help measure and monitor the health of the business from a compliance perspective and enable proactive risk management.
- It’s a more sustainable option. We believe it’s inevitable that there will be a consolidation in the SaaS space in the near term as firms begin to realize that it’s more sustainable to employ fewer systems that are more agile, that do more, and are better integrated with one another. A digital assistant is a more sustainable option. Who knows, there may only be digital assistants in the future?
- Enabling growth for compliance professionals. With the important mandate that they have, most compliance professionals want and should contribute meaningfully and strategically to the businesses they work for but they typically don’t have the opportunity to do so because they are bogged down by inefficiencies. They also don’t have access to insights that will enable them to contribute strategically. A digital assistant is able to solve this and in doing so, it truly has the means to enable the role of a compliance professional
At the end of the day, we simply believe compliance professionals deserve better solutions that enable their work and their growth; and the best solution to deliver on that outcome is a digital assistant.
If you would like to know how we are building a digital compliance assistant or if you’re just plain curious, drop us a note and we’ll introduce you to MICA!