Savvy Compliance Strategy Part II – Checking Compliance
In Part I, we took a high-level look at a process for automating regulatory compliance management. The closed-loop process starts with Documenting your processes followed by Monitoring or Checking that your processes are being followed. Next you provide a means of Logging or Tracking any problems that may arise and then take actions to Improve. This improvement should then result in a revision to the Documented process followed by notifying or training those affected by the process improvement. This closed-loop process, which I call the Circle of Compliance, should be used to automate the process of complying with regulatory standards.
Now lets take a closer look at the Check step. The goal of this step is to eliminate the need to manually audit a process in order to determine its effectiveness. One way to do this is by defining a Key Performance Indicator (KPI). That’s a measure of performance that is used to help an organization monitor progress to goals. For example, a company may decide to improve responsiveness by reducing the number of late tasks. A company might also set a goal for reducing violations or incidents to improve conformance to regulations or standards. You can see an example dashboard showing these two KPI’s in the diagram shown below.
Key Performance Indicators for monitoring late tasks and monthly incidents. Traffic Light indicators provide a method for quickly showing progress to goals.
Let’s take a closer look at this KPI dashboard. Both measurements are listed: Late Projects and Monthly Incidents. Notice that the date the measurement was made along with the actual performance data are displayed. We can see that for the month of May there were two late projects and five incidents. Then on the right we see a trend arrow (more on this below) and a traffic light, which give us a quick indication of performance to goal. Green is good and red is bad. Of course in order to set the traffic light to the correct state (green, yellow or red) we need some goals.
For example if there are less than two late projects each month the light will be green. If there are between two and four late projects we would consider that a yellow light (or caution). And if there were more than four late projects in a given month we would set the light to red.
When implemented properly, KPI’s monitor performance over a given time period (day, week, month, etc.) and provide a visual indication (traffic light, flag, etc.) of performance to goal. So let’s dig a bit deeper to better understand how to do it right.
Since a KPI measures performance over a given time period there must be historical data, trends and state changes. Let’s start with historical data. By clicking on the KPI dashboard we can see past measurements (shown below).
A report of historical KPI data shows an improving trend. An email is automatically sent in May when the light changes state.
We can see from the historical data that the trend is moving from bad to good and that in May there was a state change to red and yellow respectively. This system is set up to automatically send an email to the KPI Owner whenever there is a state change.
Emails are automatically sent when the light changes state. This shows a notification indicated that things are getting worse given the light changed from green to yellow.
Also if you look back at the KPI Dashboard you see the Trend arrow is green and down. Down indicates that we have fewer late projects than in the previous reporting period. The arrow is green, which indicates that this is a ‘good’ or desirable trend.
In summary, setting up Key Performance Indicators that monitor your performance to goals is a good way to ‘Check’ that your processes are working properly. It also eliminates the need to perform manual audits of
a given operation reducing labor costs. The next step in this closed-loop process is ‘Tracking Problems’.
Next time: We’ll take an in depth look at the ‘Tracking Problems’ step.