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In Uncertain Economic Times, Here are 3 Areas Where Compliance Can Optimize Costs

Yair Kuznitsov
August 31, 2022

We have all heard about the, shall we say, gloomy current economic outlook.

With a raging war, a pandemic, and supply chain woes, among other seismic events, one might have actually expected things to go south even faster than they did. But while the economy did a valiant job of holding up for a while, it now looks like the other shoe is about to drop.

Fun stuff, right?

And now, companies are looking to store up for the cold, long period ahead, like the squirrel who stuffs as many acorns into her burrow before the long, cold, dark times arrive. While nothing is written in stone, there’s likely to be a lot of belt-tightenings – and the days of dogs getting company-issued Teslas may be over, for now anyway. On a practical level, across companies big and small, there may be an immediate need to improve efficiency in a way that can be translated into dollars, thereby reducing the number of dollars spent.

Compliance as The Cost Optimizer

But what does this mean for you, the Compliance leader? You may be just the teeniest bit concerned that potential budget cuts might affect your ability to maintain Compliance obligations and security posture, but here’s the thing; Compliance needs form the backbone of an organization's credibility and integrity, as well as being an integral business motivator. Compliance isn't going anywhere.

Moreover, in an environment where efficiency is now everything, Compliance activities can be leveraged to positively impact the situation. Owing to the need to extract information from stakeholders across the organization, Compliance is one of those functions that impacts nearly every other department within the organization. Thanks to this “we’re all connected” nature, Compliance has the power to become a cost optimizer – or a cost squanderer. When done wrong, it can have an overblown dollar amount attached to it, which can understandably, trickle down to other departments, far beyond the walls of the InfoSec department. And conversely, when done right, it can have a positive net impact on the time and money expenditure of other departments.

In this current market environment, where everyone is scrambling to improve efficiency and, well, save money, improving efficiency by cutting down time spent on unnecessary processes and tasks will become a key KPI. In this blog, we’ll look at 3 departments where Compliance can be that cost optimizer, by improving efficiency and reducing costs – and ultimately, prove the worth of your position to leadership.

Customer Success

There are no two ways about it; amazing customer experiences drive business. When customers feel heard and valued, not only do they stick around; they tell their friends, and those friends tell their friends, and so on. So Customer Success is obviously, in part, responsible for reducing potential customer churn. Keeping customers satisfied (and even better if you can get to “delighted”!) is always important; but in the coming period, it will become ever so much more critical. Businesses may simply not have the extra resources to spend on less-than-stellar services.

Where can Compliance become a cost optimizer?

Any audit will require evidence to be gathered from the Customer Success team. This is generally done by getting screenshots of their Zendesk or another helpdesk platform, to show that they are doing everything properly. This process alone eats up time and resources that could be spent focusing on their key KPI – keeping customers happy, and therefore preventing churn.

When this same result is achieved with automation, their time is freed up so that they can be more responsive, cover more use cases, and invest in customers. This helps the company reduce churn, therefore deriving more business. Moreover, with a mature and robust Compliance posture, those closest to customers can field questions regarding Compliance status with confidence.

R&D

The R&D team is tasked with building the product, and thus they are responsible for two things that relate to your business; One, resolving bugs, and two, building new features. These are both incredibly important facets at all times, but perhaps even more so in the potentially tumultuous upcoming period; Customers want products that work flawlessly – and in this new reality, there may be even less patience or headspace for setbacks like bugs. And in terms of releasing new capabilities, this enables companies to expand their customer base and upsell existing customers.

Where can Compliance become a cost optimizer?

This all-important department should be putting their efforts into perfecting the above two parameters. What they should not be doing is investing their time in anything that's not going to help them reach their own KPIs or the financial KPIs of the company.

But when it comes to prepping for audits, a nice chunk of R&D time is spent collecting evidence relating to change management, QA processes, and code analysis. This should never be the case, but now it's even more important to prevent this time-suck from occurring. By automating evidence collection, developers can spend more time on fixing bugs, which reduces churn (no one wants to use a product with loads of bugs), or enable new capabilities to expand accounts of customers, which leads to increased net dollar retention.

Security

The relationship between Security and Compliance has always been a touchy one, but at the end of the day, both of these functions care about reducing risk across the company. That said, there’s more than one way to achieve that goal. While Security works within the realm of vulnerability management, preventing intrusions and incident response, Compliance focuses on laws, regulations, and policies.

Where can Compliance become a cost optimizer?

Thing is, as the lines can be kind of blurry, Security often wades into the waters of Compliance and may wind up dealing with their tasks as well. But any time Security takes care of Compliance issues, they are inherently taking their eye off the ball. The more they can be freed from anything having to do with Compliance, the more they can do their own, incredibly important job. And besides, Security people generally dislike dealing with Compliance issues – If you can save even one Security engineer from frustration by ensuring Compliance is off their to-do list, you’re helping ease potential employee frustration.

The main thing to remember in wild times is this: Don’t Panic. (That’s either a reference to that Coldplay song or the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you choose.) The very last thing companies should do is make rash decisions and head for the hills. Instead, a wiser play is to think lean. As the Compliance leader, you have an opportunity to set the tone for this new thinking across the organization. By leveraging this new state of mind, this is how you can practically help each department and each stakeholder reach their KPIs – and therefore, improve the overall bottom line of the company.

Yair Kuznitsov
Tech geek who appreciates and enjoys a good piece of code, Co-Founder and CEO of anecdotes.

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