Regulatory Compliance

Compliance Issues

Compliance Begins to Hit Home

Organizations will continue to explore and deploy solutions to meet current and new regulations. Regulations and compliance will continue to exert pressures on corporate information and process management as the courts interpret the recent rulings and the rulings expand and change. The compliance calendar is a big deal. For example, 2004 is Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX), 2005 is HIPAA security for large companies, and 2006 is HIPAA security for small companies and SOX for small companies.

Future lobbyists will study HIPAA as a lesson in how government policy can have unintended results. HIPAA’s noble goals of protecting patient information included regulations that were not well thought through. Everyone expected the “draft” rules to be substantially modified to reduce the economic burden on the health care system. But, now the draft rules have become law. As organizations have moved to quickly comply, trial lawyers are just beginning to look for test cases in what has the potential to be the greatest opportunity for them since the automobile. Other compliance regulations such as SOX and U.S. Patriot Act have potentially significant impacts, but the impact has been relatively minor to date. The SEC will continue to bow to pressure to make deadlines less egregious, but is still committed to stated goals of accelerated filing. Look for lawsuits and jail time to bring fear to corporate boardrooms as they spend energy and money to err on the side of caution.

How Do YOU Rate Compliance?

In a recent 2005 study by AIIM International, the issue clearly gaining ground in motivating investment in Document Management  is compliance, which ranked second among all issues internationally and tied with “improve efficiency” as the number-one driver among U.S. survey respondents. In last year’s study, compliance was cited by only 11% as their top priority for investment across all countries, but that figure rose to 19% in the survey released last week. In the U.K., compliance rose from 13% to 17%, in Ireland from 9% to 19% and in the U.S., where the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, HIPAA requirements  has introduced many compliance demands on public companies, the results swelled from 17% last year to 24% in the most recent survey.

Reflecting rising concerns about compliance issues, record management and archiving was ranked as the number-one project planned for the next 12 to 18 months. The top 10 project priorities were reported as follows:

  1. Records Management–Archiving
  2. Document Control
  3. E-mail Management
  4. Information Capture
  5. Forms Handling
  6. Web Publishing
  7. Library and Knowledge Management
  8. Statutory and Regulatory Management
  9. Technical Document Management
  10. Process Automation

E-mail management, forms handling and statutory/regulatory compliance were the “rising stars” among project priorities, according to AIIM, all gaining five percentage points (more than any other project types) over last year’s results.