There are plenty of articles, talks, white papers, and general information around the subjects of technology and compliance. The Man From FCPA believes this issue may be one of the most significant over the next several years. A recent article explored the issue of technology and corporate structures, both formal and informal. The main thesis of the piece was that “data-driven capabilities are breaking down barriers between formerly siloed business units.” The implications of this for the compliance practitioner are close to limitless or at least only limited by the imagination of the CCO involved. This flattening of structures allows visibility and oversight in a way not previously available to the compliance function, should it take advantage of such technology.

The recent FCPA enforcement action involving General Cable Corp. would seem to be a prime example of the potential power of such technology-driven insight. The company was caught with multiple bribery schemes in multiple companies. There were multiple red flags detailed in the NPA, which clearly demonstrated that the company was on notice of potential illegal payments. Yet this information never seemed to make it to the compliance function.

More information across more business siloes means more cross-functional uses of that information. It also mandates that business leaders are required to move away from top-down leadership to more collaborative styles, so that work gets done. The by-product of this is to raise issues of concern in a manner that has not been previously seen in many organizations. This final point builds upon the whistleblower concepts regulators—such as the SEC—have put forward more strongly after the Dodd-Frank Act. By removing bureaucratic layers, employees have the ability to query questionable actions such as suspect payments more quickly and more directly.

The compliance professional may well need to consider expanding not only their digital footprint within their company but their digital platforms as well. It will not be too long before the Justice Department sees a cutting-edge tool that moves to best practices and then become a requirement for an effective compliance program.