SM&CR and COVID-19: Collaborating from home

The Global Covid-19 pandemic may have thrust upon us the single largest reason to accelerate corporate digital transformation, and it may be here to stay.

If, as predicted by many Chief Medical Officers around the world, the current restrictions run into months, then we will for the first time see just how working remotely en masse directly effects productivity. If productivity remains consistent, or, and whisper this quietly, if it increases, then the cat will truly be out of the bag, and there will be no going back to ‘normal’ for many businesses. Why keep the cost of expensive offices in prime real estate locations if your workforce is getting more achieved from home?

Ultimately, digital transformation was never about technology, but more cultural change. Those organisations that are market leaders in digital transformation often talk about how it took behavioural change first and that new levels of trust and transparency came before the technology, and which enabled new patters of working. The current environment has forced us to change culturally, which has quickly moved the dialogue on to whether we have the right technologies in place. Over the past few weeks many businesses have scrambled to ensure their collaboration tools are sufficiently resilient and functional.

A closely related topic that we at Trailight have written about for some time is the importance of systemising regulatory requirements and to enable collaboration on mandated tasks. With a decentralised workforce, ensuring that your obligations to the regulator are still met and that no balls are dropped, is core to running a successful business. Simply storing important information on shared drives is not a workflow solution. Those shared resources quickly become unwieldy, are poorly catalogued, and offer no ability to ensure that time critical tasks are completed.

These challenges are well catered for in Trailight’s SM&CR solution. The regulatory requirements for SM&CR have proved to be surprisingly complex; like a regulatory game of whack-a-mole. For example, an organisation recruits a new senior manager, which results in SMFs moving, then changes in delegations, dependencies, reporting lines and governance frameworks, which then in turn triggers changes to the MRM and associated Statements of Responsibility. Each individual action sets off a chain of events which require input from multiple stakeholders across the business, HR, and from Compliance. Trailight’s SaaS solution ensures that the chain of events is automated, with stakeholders receiving notifications on the actions required, handling the messy job of authorisations and submission of regulatory forms.

It is not just large companies that are seeing the value of this approach, with even the smallest of financial firms recently signing up for Trailight’s solutions. There will inevitably be a pause as companies take stock of the new environment, but at Trailight we are confident that our regulatory solutions will enable our customers to move forward with a more efficient and resilient way of working.

Key areas for systemisation

  • Getting regulatory forms ‘over the line’ for initial regulatory adherence was a significant task, and ongoing updates to these forms have proved to be surprisingly complex and time consuming. The forms for SM&CR have several moving parts including Organisational Structures, Committee Structures, and the distribution of Responsibilities. Any amendment to one of these will often trigger multiple related required actions across multiple teams. Trailight’s solution automatically updates and creates regulatory forms as soon as there are any relevant changes to the data including Statements of Responsibilities and Management Responsibilities Maps.
  • Certification can be thought of as a three-step process; assign significant harm functions, complete fit and proper assessment, and issue certificates. Whilst this is relatively straightforward on a one-by-one basis, it can quickly become more complex when issuing lots of significant harm or fit and proper questions across multiple role types. Trailight systemises this process by creating templates that can be assigned to role types, ensuring that the heavy lifting only needs to be done upfront, and that ongoing business as usual becomes much lighter touch.
  • There are several workflows covered by SM&CR that demand collaboration between individuals or teams. The regulation also requires the completion of delegations or handovers to be accompanied by the appropriate evidence. Trailight ensures that these tasks are completed seamlessly, ensuring HR and Compliance can complete their work, before passing Senior Managers for final sign off. A suite of alerts and e-mail reminders ensures that nothing is forgotten or left out along the way.
  • A key consideration for ongoing requirements under SM&CR is being able to answer regulatory requests quickly and easily. Trailight ensures that all documentation, as well as evidence of reasonable steps, are stored as a single record of truth. This time-stamped repository ensures that questions or requests can be answered in seconds instead of taking days, or sometimes even weeks. Relying on any process that does not offer this level of systemisation is storing problems for the future.