E-Government and Regulation
Less complexity. More clarity. And the ability to focus on what matters most. This has become a growing imperative for organizations managing e-government and regulation requirements which continue to experience unprecedented levels of regulatory and compliance change, compounded by geographical differences. Today there over 1000 laws that affect privacy, data protection and security across the globe (Trust Arc). This has been catalyzed by a range of factors, including an evolution in regional, constituent and citizen expectations around government services. And heightened still by growing concerns around security and privacy, with rising awareness and examples of high profile cyber breaches (CYBERUK 2021) and evolved behaviors, including new means of accessing and paying for services (FIS 2021).
Benchmark compliance industry data by Thomson Reuters shows that the biggest culture or conduct risk facing organizations in 2021 is balancing compliance and competitive pressures, effectively motivating and managing remote workers, creating a unified compliance culture, evidencing good culture and conduct, and dealing with financial crime. Technology has greatly enabled compliance change, supporting remote work and connection with teams, the volume of regulatory requirements, remote oversight of conduct risks, and data privacy controls.
And although it is the public sector (e-government) alongside banking, financial services, insurance, logistics and procurement that are typically discussed as ‘most impacted’, in reality this is an increasing necessity — and often a challenge — across a broader range of sectors and for organizations of all sizes. As an example, it is now mandatory for invoices, tax, payroll and delivery notes to be electronically registered with government authorities prior to issue in many countries worldwide. And depending on your company’s industry and service type, you may need to comply with complex regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI DSS, CCPA or SOX, and be ready for the latest development such as LGPD.
Focus areas are evolving too, with increased attention to privacy compliance, and new domains altogether including cryptocurrencies. One highly current discussion is the potential mandating of company climate disclosures, with the rationale that it is only consistent and audited emissions reporting that can enable tangible, measurable and transparent progress. This also reflects how another area of change, namely rising consumer and government expectations on organizations to do more — and demonstrate it — on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) deliverables is expanding the compliance sphere of impact.
New research reflects some of the challenges of delivering on this. Taking privacy compliance as an example, the study found one-third of organizations are concerned about compliance budget structuring in light of regulatory uncertainty, and further that a key concern was ‘the how’ of needing to balance retaining data for business purposes whilst minimizing it in order to mitigate risk. Varying information, security and legal requirements across geographical areas compounds this risk and complexity, coupled with interconnectivity, dynamic ecosystems with multiple third parties and hybrid multi cloud environments, and the sheer volume of data that is involved. A recent study found that on average every employee has access to nearly 11 million files with nearly two-thirds of companies having 1,000+ sensitive files open to every single employee — quite some statistics!
So how can organizations best meet these needs? Both e-government and regulatory compliance requires firms to have control of their structured and unstructured data. Firms need to have 360 degree visibility of the potential risk contained in this information, with the capacity to apply controls to manage threats, and to be able to demonstrate compliance over time. Identifying and understanding relevant laws, regulations and latest updates is also critical to effective data security and compliance adherence, embedding all the above and with proper integration flows into everyday operations, affording the capability to implement changes quickly and seamlessly.
Integration is therefore critical, something SAP directly supports through the SAP Integration Suite which affords pre-built content for the electronic delivery of compliance documents available for a number of countries and which is continually updated. This works in tandem with SAP Document Compliance to facilitate document delivery to government agencies. In combination, this provides vital support in standardizing the digital registration of documents that meet country and government agency specific digital compliance requirements, allowing the automation and optimization of this critical information exchange.
Additionally, SAP solutions for advanced compliance reporting afford ready-to-use legal reports across domains such as taxation, audit and financial statements for over 51 countries. The SAP Responsible Design and Production solution has all these capabilities built-in but fully extensible, and capability will soon include compliance reporting for sustainability management for global organizations. A beta release of August 2021 was announced during SAP’s global event SAPPHIRE NOW 2021.
The combination of the SAP Integration Suite and SAP Document Compliance provides an integrative and always updating suite of tools which can reduce the total cost of operations and reduce effort, complexity and potential siloed approaches in complying with differing regulations around the world, safeguarding communications with government agencies. It also supports data consistency, implementing a unified and enhanced user experience tailored to individual business needs. And new developments with SAP Responsible Design and Production will allow organizations to optimize their global legal reporting compliance still further, staying ahead of disruptive transformations. It is clear that e-government and compliance is a critical component in becoming an intelligent enterprise that is more proactive, agile, automated, foresighted, data driven and both business and citizen focussed.
About the Author
Dr. Sally Eaves is a highly experienced Chief Technology Officer, Professor in Advanced Technologies and a Global Strategic Advisor on Digital Transformation specializing in the application of emergent technologies, notably AI, FinTech, Blockchain & 5G disciplines, for business transformation and social impact at scale. An international Keynote Speaker and Author, Sally was an inaugural recipient of the Frontier Technology and Social Impact award, presented at the United Nations in 2018 and has been described as the ‘torchbearer for ethical tech’ founding Aspirational Futures to enhance inclusion, diversity and belonging in the technology space and beyond.