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The most successful people that I’ve known in my life are always the ones who pushed a little harder than the rest of us--the ones that weren’t content simply to get the job done, or finish a project, but wanted--perhaps needed—to do it well.

While a fine line may separate winning from losing sometimes, it’s usually a large gap (or a large bottom line) that separates successful companies from mediocre companies. That size of that large gap is usually determined by extent that the successful companies are able to leverage their strengths, capitalize on competitor’s weaknesses or market opportunities, and run their operations efficiently and effectively. It may also depend on whether a company takes a tactical or strategic approach to solving its problems.

As we discussed in my last column, the issue of compliance and how companies are addressing an increased need for compliance solutions is a good example. In the past few years, a wide range of regulatory compliance mandates have pushed organizations into reactive mode. In many cases, organizations have approached the problem of compliance management by selecting point products, specifically designed to address individual compliance requirements.

While this approach may be a good short term solution, since the organization solves the immediate problem at hand, it’s a more questionable long term solution, since regulatory requirements will likely increase and change over time, and organizations selecting a point approach may have to continually add new capabilities or additional point solutions in order to address new regulation. As with any IT environment, the greater the number of individual point solutions being managed, the more difficult and expensive they are to change or modify. As the number of regulatory requirements increases and as organizations continue to add their own internal compliance standards, the task of managing compliance will grow beyond point solutions.

An alternative to this tactical, one-off approach is to use a more strategic approach, such one involving business process management (BPM). By using BPM-based solution for solving initial compliance needs, organizations can gain the process definition, monitoring, and auditing that they need to fulfill press needs like meeting SOX requirements. However, BPM solutions are able to go beyond that and deliver much higher, longer-term value when used in the broader context of increasing the effectiveness of ongoing compliance and business process requirements. Understanding this difference between a tactical compliance solution and a strategic business process solution may contribute significantly to a company’s long term success.


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