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There's danger in the data: Jump-starting the automation conversation

Mariette Cutler (mcutler@macleanfogg.com) is a Compliance Specialist for MacLean-Fogg in Mundelein, Illinois, USA.

Many policies require periodic audits for compliance, which can be a daunting task for the compliance or audit team. Many businesses find their focus is shifting toward automating the routine audits and optimizing current processes. We have all heard how automation will save money, time, and the day. However, the foundations that are necessary for automation to be structurally sound are often not mentioned or are merely glossed over. It is paramount to implement automation correctly the first time around, because bad implementations are costly, waste time, and adversely affect credibility.

For automation to be as effective as it is promised to be in the sales pitches, five basic questions must be answered. These five questions are not a catch-all or guarantee that nothing will go wrong. Each question listed below should get the conversation started with the IT and/or business systems teams before embarking on the automation journey of a lifetime. The questions will help break down silos between departments and allow them to work together as a team. Remember, each company is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer to the questions.

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