In the last two years, intelligent software and hardware company Verint has refashioned itself as the ‘customer engagement company’ with a focus on helping improve customers’ experience (CX) objectives across their enterprise.
“We do it with automation, driven by analytics and AI, so that is at the very heart of all of our offerings,” said Verint Vice President, Michael Stelzer, in a recent conversation with GRC Professional. “And because we are enterprise-wide, we have a broad profile.”
Despite pressure to digitise atop increased technological sophistication, Stelzer said his research has indicated that Australians still prefer to interface with a human being.
How this relates to risk and compliance is that automation helps to create capacity, which Stelzer believes then allows for innovation. And while there may be concerns in other sectors about increased automation making roles redundant, the compliance space has been open to technological development.
“We are helping them achieve the obligations expected of them today,” Stelzer explained.
According to Verint’s report published earlier this year, CX State of Play in Australia, more than half of all polled respondents believed technology was being embraced.
More than half (53 per cent) of respondents believe technology is making it easier for them to work more flexibly; however, 38 per cent don’t believe that automation technology (AI, algorithms, robots) helps them do their job more effectively. We believe this shows Australian employees possibly lack education on the value of digitisation in the workplace. In contrast, 54 per cent of Singaporean workers believe that AI and other automated technology help do their job more effectively.
Better business efficiency means more resources for compliance
According to Stelser, savings gained from lower FTE costs driven down by automation are now used to increase the capacity to innovate in other parts of the business.
“I think that’s best represented at the moment, in the post-Royal Commission world. We figured out when dealing with all the insurance companies and banks at the moment that compliance is absolutely front-of-mind—from meeting obligations, to regulators, to being able to have the evidence at-hand to demonstrate a compliance objective.”
It was predicted that 2019 would be a big year for investment in risk and compliance, though the question still remains as to how this increased risk and compliance investment will manifest.
In January, Randstad Risk and Compliance Team Leader, Andrew Wouterz, told GRC Professional that opportunities in GRC have been growing steadily, with 61 per cent growth in 2017 and 62 per cent 2018.
He continued that:
I think every company has its own situation, but generally, we are seeing that compliance has a seat further up the table than they did two-to-three years ago, and they have a lot more influence and power. I think companies are on that journey where they see compliance, and see the benefits and usefulness, but what we are hearing anecdotally, and seeing, is that a lot of companies are raiding their project spends, and they’re raiding them for anything associated with the Royal Commission.
Then in February, GRC Solutions CEO and member of the Regtech Association, Julian Fenwick, posted on Linked In in response to an Australian Financial Review (AFR) article written by James Eyers that, ‘Regtech was rising slowly.’ He then continued that, “It’s time to get serious about embedding compliance into every process, rather than retrofitting a compliance program.”
The issue Stelzer thinks should be identified here is one of scalability because of growing regulatory pressure to ‘increase the FTE headcount in order to be compliant.
“You need more quality controllers. You need more people checking communications; you need more people doing more training and coaching. And a lot of the solutions we are working with for the financial services is helping them achieve those compliance objectives without necessarily increasing their FTE headcount but transitioning those FTEs to more exciting roles.”
Stelzer said all of this is a combination of quality management, automated quality speech and text analytics.