Technology Enabled Business Solutions
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For many organizations, the past few months have been anything but “business as usual.” Very few can say that nothing has changed—whether that means new safety protocols for employees, less (or even no) travel, scaled-back operations, or staff working remotely.
Organizations that weren’t previously set up for remote work have had to quickly figure out how to operate under a very different business model, particularly when it comes to managing their regulatory compliance requirements (e.g., environmental, health and safety (EHS), food safety, quality). Some employees are struggling with accessing critical business information, and some work is being postponed, perhaps indefinitely.
Organizations must find ways to overcome these operational challenges, particularly given that compliance requirements still exist and remote work may actually be the new ”business as usual”—whether due to the pandemic or because of the flexibility it can provide if an organization is ready.
The Solution: Compliance Management Systems
Clearly, centralized information technology (IT) is key in connecting staff with business operations when everyone is working in different locations. Technology can facilitate access to critical compliance information, including documents, data, and records needed to manage projects and people. However, IT alone will not make remote work effective or efficient unless there is an underlying Compliance Management System (CMS) to organize it all.
A CMS is used to coordinate, organize, control, analyze, and visualize information to help organizations remain in compliance and operate efficiently. A successful CMS requires thinking beyond just access to documents; it requires managing processes, knowledge, and the work that is critical to help identify and control business risks. That may include:
- Ensuring the right people can access the right information
- Consolidating documents and records in a centralized location to provide easy access
- Setting up formal business practices, processes, and procedures
- Implementing compliance programs
- Monitoring and measuring performance
- Making improvements
- Documenting decisions and how they are made
- Capturing institutional knowledge and transferring that into a sustainable system
- Using task management and tracking tools to understand how people are doing their work
CMS Case Study
For Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO), leveraging a simple CMS solution has provided access to the data, documents, systems, and processes required to allow employees to work more effectively from home.
Like most higher education organizations, SEMO is subject to a wide range of complex EHS requirements, including air permits; Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans; hazardous waste regulations; refrigerant management regulations; laboratory safety; and others. With limited EHS staff to manage, maintain, and demonstrate compliance, documenting EHS compliance is challenging. Finding effective information management solutions has been critical.
KTL worked with SEMO to develop a CMS using Microsoft SharePoint® that allows SEMO to effectively manage and communicate EHS information, particularly in remote work situations. Consolidating document, record, and data management into the SharePoint-based CMS has made information more accessible and easier to find. It has provided staff with access to work on their programs remotely when they normally would need to be in their offices. For example, employees have been able to continue compliance assurance work, like creating new inspection documents and records and completing required air permit reports while teleworking.
The SharePoint-based CMS has offered an effective, low-cost technology that can easily be expanded to other areas of the organization that are managing regulatory compliance requirements, documents and records, training, etc., as well. It provides the opportunity to help the entire organization:
- Identify, understand, and document applicable requirements
- Implement easy-to-use information management tools
- Capture institutional knowledge of experienced staff to help ensure operational sustainability
- Maintain compliance with regulations and standards
- Ensure employees are productive and efficient regardless of whether they are working in the office or at home
Ensuring Operational Sustainability
Now more than ever, organizations must adopt a forward-thinking perspective—thinking beyond individual efficiency tools, considering the desired state, and determining how technology can be leveraged to ensure operational sustainability, even in uncertain times.
By leveraging our technology and compliance expertise, KTL offers the perspective needed to implement an effective CMS and the technology needed to provide valuable remote solutions. Our EHS, food safety, and IT professionals understand the regulatory obligations, organizational needs, and needs of the users. This drives design and development of the right CMS—one that works within the organization’s operating environment—to reduce compliance risk, create efficiencies, provide operational flexibility, and generate business improvement and value.