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Gavin Drake, VP of Marketing at Quark Enterprise Solutions

Today’s hostile regulatory environment has put financial services firms on the defensive. Faced with stiff penalties, the growing risk of prosecution and career-ending rulings, CXOs are flocking to improve their regulatory profile.

The financial crisis of 2008 unleashed a flurry of regulatory legislation, new governmental agencies and oversight activity. The financial crisis also fanned politicians’ existing animosity towards corporate wrongdoers. The net effect has been to paint a target on the backs of financial services CXOs and other executives.

But the combative regulatory environment isn’t the only issue plaguing policies and procedures operations. The costs to create, manage and update policy and procedure content across its lifecycle are substantial. However, legacy policies and procedures lifecycle creation and management solutions are:

  • Extremely inefficient and costly to operate
  • Slow to adapt to market conditions
  • Inconsistent and inaccurate
  • Slow to respond to internal and external auditors

Where financial services are going wrong

Solutions in this industry often leverage generic software, such as word processing and spreadsheet applications. These tools not only consign policy and procedure activities to manual processes, but they serve as a bottleneck to limit the contributions of robust content management solutions as well.

Nearly all policy and procedure activities are performed manually too. Little, if any, automation is leveraged to promote productivity or accuracy, driving up costs and increasing the risk of human error.

Not only is the creation process cumbersome, but so too are the systems to track policies and procedures activity – typically measured in months. The policy and procedure content siloes of departments and regions spawn procedures that are inconsistent across groups. For large institutions, that literally have dozens of policy and procedure-responsible groups, this leads to dozens of processes. Strategically, this is wasteful and inefficient, causing confusion for employees and raising, not lowering, regulatory risk.

In practice, various departments have their own repositories which house their own single-source-of-truth documents. Each repository receives updates from various sources. The problem, however, is that not all updates are processed, leading to content incorporating errors.

A single content automation platform

A single content automation platform can be cost effective for IT to manage, however it must:

  • Be scalable to accommodate growing policy and procedure operations
  • Enable easy authoring of reusable content components so for example procedures used in multiple documents can be kept in sync
  • Integrate easily with existing systems such as content management tools and SharePoint
  • Ideally enable procedures to be delivered in multiple digital formats for ease of consumption by employees

By meeting these criteria, financial services CXOs can dramatically bend the policy and procedure content lifecycle cost curve downward. This allows organisations to untether themselves from the straight-line costs usually associated with ballooning policies and procedures content.

Introducing smart content

Smart content is content that is created as reusable components and tagged to define what it contains and how it should be used. Such tagging enables intelligent downstream automation so that content can be easily searched, accessed, tracked and audited. This is how all financial institutions are expected to produce business-critical content in the future, including policy and procedure documents.

With so much at stake for financial institutions, its imperative CXOs act now to protect and invigorate their business. A content automation platform can go far beyond fixing and patching your policy and procedure systems, so that you can build out a fully-functioning, enterprise-wide content platform. As a result of a policy and procedure content lifecycle solution, financial services executives can strengthen their regulatory profile, significantly cut costs, and enhance consumption experience to promote wider policy adherence.

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