Your Compliance Department Needs a PMO

Increased Visibility Needs Increase Rigor

Is your organization's Compliance function thought of as a back office, somewhat hidden, check the box area? Or is Compliance thought of as a strategic business partner that is run the same way as the core business? If the answer is the former, applying a Program Management structure should be an important priority. The current business and political climates require an increased focus on Compliance to properly manage risks and protect the organization.

The Importance of a Dashboard

At its core, Compliance management can be boiled down to a few simple questions, regardless of industry or business type: What is currently in compliance? What is currently out of compliance? Are we comfortable with what is out of compliance? What is the plan to get anything out of compliance back into compliance? One of the outputs of a good PMO structure is a simple but informative dashboard that quickly gives management the information they need without additional clutter. Keeping vital information up to date and readily accessible allows a Compliance department to add tremendous value across an organization.

Organizing Work Into Projects Facilitates Integration

Most large organizations organize strategic initiatives into projects, with supporting business cases and dedicated resources. The same structure should be applied to Compliance work as it helps integrate the function with the rest of the organization seamlessly and can help other functions better understand the importance of what Compliance does. The artifacts that are typical of projects governed by a PMO are project charters, status reports, and activity trackers. They help Compliance communicate effectively with the core business functions through familiarity and help drive the message that the business is the first line of defense and is the true owner of compliance outcomes. The ability to view the portfolio of Compliance projects, both on an individual and aggregate level can give functional and organizational leaders insight on how to best deploy resources to support their objectives.

The Current Environment Demands Sharper Focus

Heavily regulated industries such as financial services should especially consider governing their Compliance functions via a PMO due to the increasing levels of media and political scrutiny they face. Large organizations make enticing targets for politicians with aspirations of higher offices, and society continues to grow more litigious all the time. A PMO can help a Compliance department keep track of all the regulatory bodies, laws, Self-Governing Organization policies, Federal/State/Local government requirements, and internal policies within a single framework. A comprehensive administrative structure coupled with dashboard and reporting tools can help organizations effectively manage their compliance needs.