Why CFOs Must Become Digitally Savvy

It’s been an interesting political roller coaster, to say the least, in the U.S. over the past several months. While things seem to be settling just a little, I’m sure a day won’t pass without a news story or press release that doesn’t cause significant pause for some, and cautious optimism for others.

Regardless of which way the political winds blow, whenever leadership shifts in the White House and Congress, proposed policy changes that will affect businesses worldwide come under the microscope. And of these policies, it seems clear that governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) issues will be front and center for CEOs committed to driving growth in the years ahead.

A CEO’s point of view

I very much appreciated listening in to an interview with Dow Chemical’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, on Neil Cavuto’s “Coast to Coast” business program. Mr. Liveris had just been part of a gathering of CEOs advising the new administration on the opportunity to grow the U.S. economy beyond the 2% growth rate, especially in the area of bringing back manufacturing.

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Source: PwC CEO Survey

Mr. Liveris is active in the geopolitical space as a significant influencer on the global stage. He has relationships with leaders in many, many other countries and regions worldwide. (Dow Chemical, for example, operates in more than 160 countries). Australian by nationality and party neutral as a leader of a large multinational, Mr. Liveris considers himself neither “red” nor “blue,” but “purple” when it comes to U.S. politics.

I appreciate this pragmatic approach, as it allows him to contribute in a meaningful way to everyone, and indeed he has advised the both the Obama and Trump Administrations, in addition to being personal friends with the Clintons. The world continues to move forward, and helping to shape tomorrow’s direction and vision is not an insignificant influence he wields.

Winds of policy change and GRC

Considering how quickly a stroke of a pen can roll back years of prior policy or institute new requirements that seem to even flirt with evading courts or legislative bodies, organizations must be nimbler and quicker than ever to anticipate and respond to the new risks and opportunities that are presented by changes in governmental administrations.

When Mr. Liveris talked about all the areas of focus for him as a CEO in driving this new growth, he didn’t bring up topics such as machine learning, or blockchain—however important these emerging technologies may be. Instead, he highlighted the following topics, in this order: 1. regulatory change 2. changes in tax policy 3. trade 4. infrastructure 5. education 6. energy and others.

I don’t think it’s a small coincidence that the top three drivers for this agenda are front-and-center GRC topics. And although not mentioned in this interview, other GRC topics like cybersecurity risk and governance are also top of mind across the globe for CEOs for all sizes of organizations. (See the graph below from the PwC CEO Survey.)

As a GRC “practitioner,” this excites me and gives me renewed appreciation for the fact that we’re in a space that is driving change and will continue to be highly relevant. We’re challenged to help the broader organization see these and other GRC topics as not just a cost of doing business, but as driving the CEO’s growth agenda in 2017 and beyond.

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An agile GRC platform is essential

What’s needed is an agile GRC platform covering the wide array of GRC requirements demanded to ensure growth, including regulatory change management and the three lines of defense. This platform should enable your organization to institute the right combination of access governance and data protection, manage cyber threats on a daily basis, and manage new tax and global trade requirements.

And don’t forget the potential every four years in the U.S. for the next pen—whether blue or red—to keep those winds of change blowing.

Learn more

SAP offers a tremendous vision and capability for organizations to navigate the rapid pace of change. Read the other blogs in our GRC Tuesdays series to learn more about topics like these.

This article, originally titled “GRC Tuesdays: Proposed Government Policy Changes Prove GRC More Relevant Than Ever,” originally appeared on the SAP BusinessObjects Analytics blog and has been republished with permission.

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