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The importance of consolidated document management for compliance departments

Compliance departments perform vitally important roles hidden from plain sight. See why a single source of truth can help give compliance professionals the recognition they deserve.

Compliance departments are organizations’ unsung heroes. They handle a company’s most confidential information—from legal documentation to money laundering investigations—where the ramifications of mishandling documents or breaching confidentiality don’t bear thinking about.

What’s more, most organizations hold substantial amounts of personally identifiable information on their customers and employees. Data that, if it were compromised in any way, could have significant negative legal and reputational consequences.

If this wasn’t enough, compliance departments are also responsible for how each employee of an organization stores, handles, and deletes data, requiring rigorous data governance policies to be enforced across departments.

But when it comes to document management, most compliance departments find themselves in a Wild West situation, where documents are spread across several siloed systems and team members are hampered by manual processes.

In this blog, we’ll look at the biggest challenges caused by poor document management and why gaining a single source of truth is the only viable solution.

Document management challenges abound—and compliance is at breaking point

One of the biggest issues most compliance departments face today is disparate data. From network drives and SharePoint to legacy document management systems, it’s common for company data to be spread across several different locations.

This creates a major efficiency challenge. With no central document repository, it’s almost impossible to search for the right data. Even more mature compliance departments that store their data in an application such as SharePoint can still experience inconsistencies across their document estate.

And with so much data spread across the organization with no standardization, the potential for security breaches and non-compliance events is substantial. For example, a stray set of documents stored on a misplaced external hard drive or laptop can cause untold damage in terms of missing data and even fines or brand reputation.

Document security also means striking the right balance to ensure data isn’t lost due to over-cautiousness. When a user leaves an organization, the entire team needs access to that person’s inbox; otherwise, countless important emails can be lost in the ether. So, organizations must have systems in place to ensure emails relating to compliance are stored in a single source of truth and can be accessed with the appropriate level of security permissions and audit tracking.

This takes us to the issue of collaboration. Without seamless collaboration—driven by a single source of truth—disparate data and the risk of document loss or compromise will always be a pain point for compliance departments.

The solution? A centralized document management system.

Why move to a single source of truth for document management?

Compliance departments manage high volumes of sensitive documents associated with global regulatory requirements, mergers and acquisitions, vendor onboarding, and supply chain due diligence. And specific regulatory initiatives, like anti-money laundering and “know your customer”, require a structured document resource that’s secure and governable, but that enables workflow and productivity.

This is where a single source of truth that’s supported by automation and organization-specific workflows comes into its own.

Centralized document management gives you a secure workspace that simplifies document access for the people who need it.

The right document management tool should feature nuanced retention controls that automatically triage documents depending on local or international regulations. For example, this could involve keeping data for a certain amount of time or even complying with “the right to be forgotten”.

More streamlined document management can also substantially benefit talent retention and acquisition. With greater efficiency and a consumer-style user experience driven by modern technology, organizations are more likely to attract the best people from across the industry.

Organizations that adopt single-source document management can expect to:  

  • Maximize efficiency—by reducing the amount of time it takes for users to search for documents
  • Accelerate collaboration—and improve accuracy with precise version control
  • Improve security—through enhanced risk mitigation and governance controls
  • Offer a standout user experience—that’s simple and consistent across devices
  • Retain knowledge—by documenting everything

In focus: iManage Work for compliance departments

Unlike most document management systems, iManage Work is different. It’s designed to be case-centric rather than focused on individual documents to give compliance professionals the same peace of mind they would associate with centralized physical storage. Content is clearly organized by project, client, or case, with powerful search tools to find and retrieve information when needed quickly.

iManage is the industry leader in protecting sensitive and confidential content. As such, we understand the importance of a fast and intuitive content workspace that’s integrated with major applications, such as Microsoft Office365. Our platform also offers document-level need-to-know access and security protections, where access to content is governed and audited, with clear document histories and defined retention schedules.

We believe compliance professionals should also have access to centralized records management, where administrators can set governance policies, retention periods, and disposition rules—and even monitor and enforce compliance without introducing unnecessary bureaucracy.

Designed for knowledge workers, iManage Records Manager is a tool that offers:

  • Seamless integration to help control risk, reduce cost, and increase user adoption with a consistent user experience.
  • Flexible retention policies that can be applied to any document.
  • Single policy control to cover documents in any system.
  • Greater productivity and insights with role-specific dashboards providing customized key metric views in a modern web-based interface.
  • Automated disposition to reduce risks and comply with regulations.
  • Comprehensive global management that allows record control from desktop, tablet, or smartphone, on-premises or in the cloud.

Straightforward document management for compliance professionals

As compliance becomes increasingly important for every organization, there’s never been a better time to consolidate and enhance your document management strategy.

To find out more about the iManage approach to document management, get in touch with our team of experts today.

About the author

Stephen Murphy

Making Knowledge Work

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