Process management – be it for client lifecycle management, risk management and compliance or corporate governance – for regulated companies is high-volume and time-intensive yet getting it right is critical to ensuring a firm remains efficient, regulatory-compliant and competitive. With Governance.com, firms can ensure a smooth transition to Digital Governance and Digital Transformation for all their process management needs.
When Governance.com CEO and founder Bert Boerman was heading up a depositary department at ABN Amro Bank, his job involved overseeing regulatory checks. He quickly realised the immense amount of data which needed regular updates making it a time consuming task. He recalled, “We were working with multiple spreadsheets and systems and it was not at all efficient.” After much frustration and sleepless nights he had his eureka moment and along with his twin tech-expert brother Rob, got started on developing a digital solution to automate process management in 2014. Enter Governance.com.
The initial days of scaling the company from ground up was far from easy. Firstly, it was a herculean task to convince potential clients to make the jump to digital as they were stuck in legacy tech. Furthermore, like many companies, it was hit by the covid domino-effect where a slew of contracts about to be signed were put on hold in the wave of uncertainty. Boerman said, “We had to be agile and adapt our approach to survive – in the short term, we offered digital meetings, AGMs and longer term, luckily, what we do in any case is exactly what is needed for our target clients such as fund depositaries, management companies, fund administrators, transfer agencies and other regulated companies, to work effectively online, digitally and remotely.” It worked in the company’s favour and this challenge turned into an opportunity. Financial firms quickly learnt and adapted to the digital way of working. Boerman added, “I’d say Covid-19 and having to go virtual was a catalyst for our individual business’ current massive growth.” In fact, Governance.com saw its revenue grow by 300% this year which is proof that it is the need of the hour.
The demand for an automated digital process is on the rise. The numbers don’t lie. A huge chunk of the market wishes to digitalise their processes and circa 89% consider digital corporate governance to be superior to traditional, paper boards and operations, according to recent research by Governance.com. Almost 40% have not yet started on their digital journey – a figure which Boerman believes is set to shrink in the future. Given the Sisyphean task of going through tens of thousands of documents, increased volume of regulation and requirements; paperwork; bureaucracy; it’s easy to see how a digital solution is the answer to solving industry “pain points” in meeting and managing all the requirements, he continued. “Regulated entities struggle under a continuously growing mountain of rules that need to be transposed to operational controls. And without automation, it is just a matter of time until controls are forgotten, executed incorrectly or based on the wrong information.”
How Governance.com’s tool goes one step further
Admittedly, technology can make or break robust, efficient compliance and it’s imperative to get the right technology so clients can enjoy seamless customer onboarding and compliance processes. And this is how Goverenance.com aims to revolutionise and future-proof traditional companies. In addition, regulatory compliance is a critical part to the success of each company irrespective of which vertical they belong in; all of which should prioritise it no matter their place in the market ecosystem. Non-compliance can lead to severe regulatory fines and reputational damage and on a wider scale impact the entire industry.
Getting the right digital tool for client onboarding, corporate governance, risk management and business operations creates a strong client relationship from the start and often leads to positive referrals. However, it’s key to ensure companies strike the perfect balance between customer satisfaction and compliance. Tellingly, the art is in balancing out expedient and efficient onboarding on the one hand, and thorough checks on the other hand to act with prudence and to be sure to exercise all checks required on a client and their underlying assets.
According to Boerman, when looking for a suitable tool, management professionals must ensure it is low-code which means it’s easier to adapt than coded software as well as elastic to connect with their existing software where applicable. In addition, it should have a low implementation time. He said, “It’s no good if by the time all is signed off for digitalisation, the results are way off into the future. Two months is a decent implementation period and clients should experience the benefits immediately as they are onboarded.”
For instance, instead of multiple spreadsheets and systems and controls to monitor and keep a check on everything, a tool should be able to automate processes that does all this for them in an instant. And this is exactly what Governance.com does. Boerman added, “Our “step by step” approach to digitalising each building block of our client’s process management system means they can start quickly to enjoy the benefits of automation – they start with one process immediately, then we incorporate another, and so on, until all their processes are part of their digitalised process management.” Along with being easy to use, it can also be integrated with a client’s software. He continued, “We can seamlessly integrate all our client’s processes and systems and technology– no matter the existing technology they use – providing the glue between the various processes, so they can pick and choose which processes to digitalise; when and with which technology.”
The aim was always to make digitalisation user friendly. The implementation and “ownership” of the platform and solutions are aimed at the end business user, not IT experts. “The technology is low-code; easy to use and so our clients can very quickly learn to use and enjoy the benefits of digitalisation, rather than first having to pursue lengthy migration and onboarding processes internally,” Boerman said. “Governance.com automates the periodic execution of controls and puts the relevant information at our clients’ fingertips when manual intervention is still required. As a result, clients benefit from reduced manual work on controls by up to 80%; dramatically improved robustness of their controls and they gain a complete and real-time view of their controls and issues.”
Driving the future of digital governance
Working culture has changed a lot in the last few months. And with the world slowly returning to normal, it’s unlikely that companies will revert back to the old ways of work.
Boerman believes that the industry will see a sharp rise in business-led ‘hyperautomation’ – the approach businesses use to rapidly identify, vet and automate a critical mass of business and IT processes they can automate to catapult them into smarter processes and productivity. As a result, there will be an escalated demand for process automation, instant data-exchange between parties; more standardisation ideally; and a focus on process automation for end-to-end processes, for example for the entire fund launch process flow. And with Governance.com, he aims to “continue to help the industry to automate and transform, one process at a time.”
Last week, Governance.com was named in the fifth annual RegTech100 list, which identifies the most innovative companies that compliance teams must know about in 2022. To view the full list and get more information on Governance.com, visit RegTech100.com.