Compliance remains a crucial technology issue. IT leaders have been smothered by a raft of regulatory requirements in the last few years, and the combined hit of environmental concerns and the economic downturn is only likely to make matters worse.
Take the finance sector, where a recent survey by the International Securities Association for Institutional Trade Communication noted that 25% of firms have already been affected by increased compliance requirements due to the economic crisis.
Understanding and dealing with compliance is, therefore, crucial. But be warned, big vendors and system integrators are likely to push issues like governance, quality assurance and lifecycle management.
While important in the right business context, such issues are also likely to provide an opportunity to become tied to processes and standards. And an obsession with standards creates the need for big models and increased complexity.
Such an obsession is likely to be a hindrance to what is actually useful for the business. And at a time of increased regulatory compliance, further processes and standards are just what your business does not need.
The chief executive will need you to cut through the waffle and provide a simple means for staying up-to-date and compliant. Thankfully, the composite nature of service-oriented architecture (SOA) provides a way round complex compliance and allows you to create small, successful systems.
Rather than creating vast and unconnected applications, SOA allows the IT leader to re-use resources and create applications on-demand. Such agility will allow you to promote a flexible architecture that is ready for fast-changing compliance requirements.
Forget the fear that you will have to fit systems to laws retrospectively. SOA will allow the IT department to integrate with the business and create compliant systems as new regulations emerge.
And the front-tier of SOA will be particularly crucial, allowing you to create a useful presentation layer that allows line-of-business executives to monitor information and ensure new targets are being met.
Take note, then, of agility, integration, presentation – the three watchwords that will help you use SOA to ensure your business responds flexibly to changing compliance demands.