India: Six Innovations To Expect In Ethics And Compliance

Last Updated: 24 May 2017
Article by Sundar Narayanan

Ethics and compliance have evolved alongside digitisation, developing processes and purpose. Technology has evolved in driving ethics and compliance forward with two key aspects: (1) chances of more evidence being gathered and (2) efficiency in investigations and ethics-related operations within an organisational environment. While in many facets the technology is catching up to improve these two aspects, we, as the ethics and compliance practitioners, have come a long way in adopting emerging technologies.

The pace of technology-driven innovation globally has accelerated in recent years worldwide, and ethics and compliance technologies are attempting to follow the path set by global trends. With that said, here are six technology innovations that may in a few years change the landscape of ethics and compliance practices. Many of these innovations are now closer to market entry than we might have imagined.

  1. Chat bot driven hotline channels: Chat bots were a key trend of 2016. Chat bots built on a natural language processing engine were aimed at simplifying the user experience in many applications, from banking to self-help tools. While some analysts believe the chat bot trends are expected to die (as they are unable to live up to their claims), for ethics and compliance practitioners, chat bot can become an alternative hotline channel. Equipped with language skills and an ability to understand emotion from written communication, chat bots could be great in gathering primary information from the reporter.
  2. Proactive entity wide e-discovery: E-discovery is attempting to reach new heights with technology-assisted reviews coupled with predictive coding. Because of the rushing efforts of multiple technology/other service providers to reduce the cost of e-discovery, the scope of e-discovery will extend from the current form of reactive – incident- or concern-driven review – to proactive. A proactive review is a model wherein there is entity-wide focus on identifying indications for ethics violations from the communications or enterprise data without a specific incident or concern on hand.
  3. Integrated evidence gathering tools/models: Currently, evidence gathering tools/models are not integrated with multiple utilities, from digital forensic to open source intelligence. While each of these tools have specific utility, the investigators look for accessing multiple tools to gather evidences. This is expected to stabilise, however, and integrated evidence tools are expected to emerge. An integration is not only going to make the efforts of the investigator effective, it will accentuate opportunities of correlating existing evidences.
  4. Intuitive ethics awareness (video, blog – predictive modelling driven): Ethics awareness currently focus on push-based methods to engage people with organisational beliefs/policies, without monitoring the consumption trends of these messages. The essential data-driven predictive modelling technology widely familiar in e-commerce and social networking sites will emerge in the field of ethics awareness also. This would help to advance ethics awareness based on individuals who are researching ethics, enabling them to become prospective whistleblowers and ultimately ethics champions of the organisation.
  5. Automation in investigation documentation and reporting: Investigators spend a sizeable amount of time in documentation and reporting. These efforts include documenting minutes of interviews with the subjects/witnesses and consolidating evidences into reports to provide specific recommendations. With emerging case management platforms, automation in investigation documentation and reporting may become an eventuality. For instance, the tools will record the interviews as the interview progresses, thereby saving time and effort.
  6. AI-driven ethics culture evangelisation: Artificial intelligence-driven assistants find an essential space in corporate hierarchy. These assistants, when built with natural language processing schema and cognitive engines, will evolve as digital partners or digital assistants of leaders in work environment, participating in meetings, reading their emails, listening to their conversations, responding to them or on behalf of them in multiple forms. These responses and actions are going to be based on learnings from the behaviour pattern of response/action by the leaders/key stakeholders. In years, the model of ethics evangelisation would also move to digital assistant-driven ethics assurance in decision-making where the digital assistants are trained on ethics to manage the behaviours appropriately.

Many of these tools and technologies may be close to practical utility in no time. With evolving technologies, it will become inevitable for ethics and compliance practitioners to adopt such specific technologies. These technology innovations can go a long way in driving an ethics culture, increasing efficiency and enhancing opportunities for gathering more evidence. Ethics and compliance practitioners look forward to the emerging technologies and must be prepared to adopt them.

Originally published in Corporate Compliance Insights

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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