Technology, Innovation, and Compliance: How Businesses Approach the Digital Age


Going Digital

Reltio offers a data management platform that harnesses a company’s data and applies the latest AI techniques to enable “self-learning” ­–  the ability for a company’s processes to automatically improve over time. 

In order to build sales, Reltio created a personalized video campaign targeted at 10,000 key leads and achieved great success: a 30% click-through rate, more than 10 times its average conversion rate. By combining new technology with a customer focus, Reltio saw immediate returns.  

Reltio’s story is not unique; leveraging digital media for sales and marketing is changing the way organizations across industries interact with customers. Where digital media used to mean just email, organizations are now incorporating social media and videos to connect with their audiences. These rich new media increase conversions, reduce cost, and improve brand perception. Such factors have led to widespread digitization, with the number of “digitally mature” companies doubling from 2016 to 2017.

The Financial Services industry has been slower to react, as 41% of organizations categorize their digital maturity as either “emergent” or “nonexistent.” Why? One key problem is the tension between the compliance and business teams.

Internal Tension

Not all stakeholders view cutting-edge digital communications media in the same way. Business teams find avenues for the technology to increase efficiency and lower cost, while the compliance department worries about the risks associated with new processes. This tension is exacerbated by two factors: Siloed departments and agile competitors. If the tension is not addressed, infighting can prevent organizations from adopting valuable technology and remaining competitive in their industries.

Tension Factor #1: Siloed Departments

Business and compliance teams often operate independently, staunchly advocating for their positions without compromise. This hinders both. Innovation without regard for compliance and regulation can lead to penalties and loss of customer trust should a critical error manifest. Conversely, if new technologies aren’t implemented in a timely fashion, the organization will fall behind in the growing technological arms race.

Tension Factor #2: Agile Competitors

New startups and more agile competitors are not beholden to the older, more conservative compliance approach that many legacy companies pursue. Digitally native companies are placing customers at the center of their processes, envisioning key touchpoints along the business cycle and optimizing for the consumer experience. When new technologies emerge, these companies are among the first adopters, reaping benefits and transforming industries. These new players place tremendous pressure on organizations to react and play catch-up, which can lead to increased compliance risk.

History is clear – these new technologies will be adopted, so it’s incumbent upon organizations to find a way to lessen the tension and chart a solution path together.

Achieving Alignment

The key in lessening tension is bridging the gap between the compliance and business teams. By aligning goals and working together to create safe implementations of new technologies, organizations will be able to keep pace with agile competitors without inviting the risk of substantial fines or violations.

Some organizations are taking the process a step further and are bringing in technical engineers in to this process to unite all parties from inception to execution. The business team finds areas in need of new processes, the tech team builds prototype features, and the compliance team works to test and approve ideas throughout. By working as a singular unit aligned on an overall goal, organizations will be able to mitigate regulatory risks while staying at the technological forefront. 

Visa and John Hancock have been leaders in this process, developing award-winning cross-functional teams that help them stay technologically sound and compliant.


Visa and John Hancock are large organizations, yet they were able to shift fundamental business processes by bringing teams together to pursue a shared goal. This lesson applies broadly: Organizations must align internally to achieve effective innovation. Companies should consider creating cross-functional teams or, at a minimum, increase communication channels to reduce internal strife. Organizations that are able to break down silos can quickly and safely adopt new technologies.

In the next part of this three-part series, we’ll examine why a simple “no” from compliance isn’t helpful. It’s not sustainable to restrict ideas, organizations must plan for intelligent implementation of new technologies – otherwise, they’ll be disrupted and replaced.

About the Author: Devin Redmond is the CEO and Founder of Theta Lake. He has more than 2 decades of experience in enterprise risk and compliance and is a frequent speaker on AI-based RegTech for video communication compliance. The former CEO and Co-Founder of Nexgate, a pioneer in social and digital media compliance and security acquired by Proofpoint (PFPT) in 2014, Devin also held executive and leadership roles at Check Point, Neoteris, Websense, and more. In addition to living in 7 countries and speaking 3 languages, Devin is a frequent public speaker that is passionate about modern digital risk and compliance technology that helps businesses gain a competitive advantage.

Edited by Erik Linask
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