Put that new purchase order on hold – technology doesn't always equal a solution

Rob Graham, Product Manager for Europe, The Middle East and Africa for Datawatch Europe, joined Michael Colao, Director of Information Management, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein and Peter Ligezinski, CIO, Allianz Investment Bank in a speaker panel at the Impact of Regulations on Financial Sector IT Systems and Processes conference in London on 28th and 29th April. Graham is a widely published commentator on compliance issues and the Basel ll Accord and Sarbanes-Oxley in particular.

Delegates from banks and other financial institutions were keen to seek the panel’s views on the question of whether or not to roll out expensive new packages to respond to compliance issues. Graham remarked, "We quickly became known as the three heretics by delegates. We all felt the same way about the problem." Graham confirmed that, in his view, there were three options available to enterprises seeking to put their house in order. Firstly, to trust that IT really understood the complex issues of compliance when responding to requests for report structures from say compliance and finance departments. Secondly, to wave a large cheque at the problem by signing up to one of the alleged 'best of breed' products being hawked around. But he said, "There is a third way – the 'Business as Usual' response." He explained that an enterprise could make a small investment in what he generically referred to as report mining and data transformation software, which sits in front of an existing system, thus extending the value of the investment made in it and allowing power user’s direct access to the data they require to ensure accurate reporting and compliance.

"Most banks have not even agreed their chosen matrix for operational risk management under the new Accord. So what is the point in buying an expensive new ‘solution’ when you cannot tell it what it needs to know?" Graham confirmed other advantages included minimal retraining of staff and no implications for customers and third parties. "The 'Business as Usual' approach is very much the preferred route. I have taken this message around Europe and the Middle East and found many prepared to listen."

Graham believes that what organisations need is not more expensive technology but solutions to their business pain. He continued, "If you do not believe the information you require to comply is not already contained within your existing systems, then perhaps it is time to review the situations vacant column." Perhaps the next time an overpaid salesman comes knocking, you should consider the 'Business as Usual' option before opening the door. Your compliance department might just thank you.

Graham’s colleague Mike Urbonas, Product Manager for Datawatch Corporation, flew in from the United States to provide a full presentation of the skills of the company’s Monarch product line with a special focus on fraud prevention. Urbonas is a much requested speaker. He explained the benefits and advantages of using report mining and data transformation software with existing systems as a cost effective and easy to use alternate to rolling out new systems, as part of an organization’s internal controls system. Urbonas explained, "You can take the information contained in existing reports and turn it into live data on your computer." He explained that Datawatch had around 500,000 customers globally built over fourteen years of development.

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