There are lot of resources out there that list the many benefits of robotic process automation (our blog included.) One of the least talked about, however, is compliance. When it is mentioned, it’s typically just that – a brief mention with little to no elaboration. The fact is, compliance is a very important topic for most organization and since RPA can make a significant impact, it’s worth delving into in greater detail. Let’s take a look.
What is regulatory compliance?
In 1996, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was put in place to establish and enforce new standards that govern the security, confidentiality and transmissibility of health care patient information. While these types of regulatory standards weren’t necessarily new, HIPAA thrust the topic of compliance into the limelight, making the public more aware.
There are, in fact, a number of other public and private compliance regulations that govern more than just health care. These include:
Sarbanes-Oxley Act – This act came about largely as a result of the Enron Corporation collapse. Signed in 2002, this act oversees the adequacy and scope of internal procedures and controls as they relate to financial reporting. All organizations, regardless of size, must comply with this act.
PCI-DSS – Established in 2004 by MasterCard Worldwide, Visa Inc., American Express, Discover Financial Services and JCB International, PCI-DSS is a set of standards that cover the operational and technical security standards of payment cards. These standards apply to all businesses worldwide that process, transmit and store payment card information.
Regulation SCI – These SEC regulations, established in 2014, are directed toward financial trading companies and cover the establishment and maintenance policies and procedures for the continuous operation of IT systems. They also regulate the flow of information and records between applications.
Regardless of which regulations your organization happens to fall under, the consistent factors across all compliance efforts include clear policies, enforcement of those policies, documentation of that enforcement and retention of that documentation.
The Role of Robotic Process Automation
As with all financial statements and even personal tax returns, the threat of government audits of regulatory compliance is ever present. When these audits occur, the speed and ease with which they are completed depends on the organization’s ability to successfully demonstrate its accordance with compliance regulations. This is typically done with the production of supporting documentation, such as log files.
Robotic process automation can provide tremendous support during such times as a compliance audit, particularly when it comes to producing network log files. Most RPA tools feature comprehensive documentation of all network activity and facilitate fast and easy retrieval of said documentation.
When you implement RPA at the enterprise level, you can design robotic log files and develop storage rules which conform to and integrate with other log files. This enables access to compliance and audit documentation and eliminates the hard file searches and subsequent data gaps that can occur with manual processes. Robotic process automation also ensures that enterprise leadership is provided with fully integrated, company-wide compliance reporting as needed.
When robotic process automation is applied to compliance reporting and management, not only will audits run much more smoothly, but company leaders will also be better able to anticipate and address compliance issues, proactively review compliance status and prepare in advance for effective responses to any audits that may arise.
For most organizations, compliance is a necessary evil. Thankfully, with the right tools – including robotic process automation – it doesn’t have to be a nightmare.