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    Achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face in 2022. It’s an issue for organizations in all sectors, but illustrated clearly by Competitive Enterprise Institute analysis that revealed large FS large firms report the average cost to maintain compliance can total up to $10,000 per employee.

    There are more events and triggers that could result in non-compliance, and the consequences are worse, too. The fines for non-compliance are vast; legal penalties are a possibility, and the long-term reputational damage could be far-reaching. Who wants to be publicly cited as an organization that doesn't properly look after its customers' personal data?

    How organizations approach this has therefore assumed enormous significance. Tracking everything that relates to compliance manually is virtually impossible, so utilizing the right technology platform can be a significant help. Artificial intelligence (AI) can play an important role, but even more valuable is augmented intelligence — which combines the power of AI with human imagination, intuition and intelligence.

    Managing unstructured data in compliance

    The volume of compliance has increased significantly over the past decade. Most industries have their own sector-specific set of laws, standards and compliance to adhere to, and there are also many examples of more general data privacy regulations. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, is a regulation in law on data protection and privacy in the European Union (EU). At the same time, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has the same purpose in California.

    It's a complex compliance ecosystem for organizations to manage, and the landscape is continuously shifting and evolving. This is made even more challenging because of the explosion in data and information relating to compliance, much of which is unstructured.

    Unstructured data is packed with insight into everything from customer preferences to potential regulatory compliance breaches. The problem is the fact that it is unstructured, which makes it much harder to utilize.

    When you look at compliance, the data that relates to it is generally found within sources such as data and document archives, collaborative solutions, client emails and call notes, and a host of external data sources.

    Deploying the right technology platform can be a significant help in managing unstructured data and using its insight to stay on top of regulatory compliance requirements. Working with an AI solution adds structure to unstructured data, but augmented intelligence can unlock even more insight. AI solutions are replacing human decision-making, whereas augmented intelligence enhances and improves it.

    How augmented intelligence can help

    Using augmented intelligence for compliance can help organizations in a number of ways, the primary advantages being risk reduction and the protection against the threat of legal penalties, fines and reputational damage.

    Risk reduction — Attempting to manually find all the data related to regulatory compliance would be a massive undertaking. So big that it would render it almost impossible. It's too time-consuming, too resource-intensive and not even especially effective. However, an augmented intelligence-based solution that uses cognitive search to find data relating to specific compliance events will do so in seconds. This contextual search will help ensure that all relevant information is located automatically and processed more efficiently compared to time-consuming manual processing, offering significantly greater risk reduction.

    Empowered and informed compliance officers — Augmented intelligence solutions add further value by informing and empowering compliance teams. By providing them with insight-based recommendations on the best course of action to avoid non-compliance, they are more efficient and more effective. Given that different regulations can have markedly different requirements, this is especially valuable for time-pressured compliance officers.

    Increased quality with real-time compliance monitoring — Compliance is an ongoing requirement with no fixed endpoint. In addition, events or triggers can take place at any time. So, compliance teams need to know about these triggers as and when they occur. They can then take the appropriate action and get the additional assurance that the organization is protected, improving the quality of protection within that organization.

    Smart integration

    The role of a compliance officer is a busy one, and any solution used for compliance has to integrate effectively and seamlessly into existing systems and workflows. Augmented intelligence solutions can be embedded with CRM systems or existing compliance software, and recommendations and alerts can be delivered via customizable dashboards. Users can even set up specific dashboards to oversee all compliance events relating to a specific piece of regulatory compliance.

    Addressing compliance relies in no small part on the extraction of insight from unstructured data relating to events and triggers associated with regulatory compliance. The most effective way of managing this is via augmented intelligence, which can become an organization’s greatest asset in protecting itself against non-compliance, offering greater risk reduction and guarding against the severe financial penalties it may face.

    Dr. Dorian Selz is CEO at Squirro.
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