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Why You Need a Centralized Review Process

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

When you’re the compliance portion of the advertising review process, you’re expected to move fast. Once a piece makes it to your desk, it’s not uncommon to notice your marketing counterpart lurking around outside your office, just waiting “in case you have a minute” to do the review and get it turned around right away.

Suppose you’re considering making changes to your review process. In that case, you may wonder whether you can create some efficiencies, some ways to get content turned around more quickly, and to reduce the friction that comes from delays in the process. You may wonder whether you should silo parts of your process to make it easier to get collateral through your pipeline faster.

Instead, consider creating a centralized review process where you can move pieces through your pipeline with greater confidence and accuracy. Why does centralization make sense for compliance teams?

1. Speed Isn’t the Only Thing that Counts When it Comes to Reviewing.

Speed is one piece of the review process, but it’s not the only one. While team members want their content to be reviewed and approved quickly, they also want their content to be correct.

They want the security of knowing it’s been thoroughly reviewed by a knowledgeable professional and that all their boxes are checked. After all, nobody wants to have an inaccurate piece come back to haunt them.

2. Speed Isn’t Always What People Worry About. Transparency Is. 

Even though it may seem like it, it’s not always the speed that matters when you’re the marketer waiting for a piece to be reviewed. Sometimes, the more significant issue is the fear of the unknown – not knowing where your piece might fall in line or how much time it might take for the review to be completed.

A centralized, technology-driven process gives greater transparency. Marketers and compliance professionals alike can see what’s coming up for them in the near future, and they can allot their time accordingly. Having access to metrics on turnaround time can make it easier to discuss when speed does become an issue.

3. Consistency Comes From Centralization. 

When you have a decentralized process, you may start with the same guidelines and rules. However, it’s easy for everyone to shift toward and create different “flavors” when it comes to the way they handle processes and reviews.

If you’ve worked in compliance, you’ve definitely seen this happen with spreadsheet management of disclosures. You may start out with a consistent spreadsheet and the best intentions. Over time, though, people start saving down their own versions or neglecting to add new disclosure updates.

Before you know it, the spreadsheet has taken on a life of its own, and your entire team is using their own version.

In a centralized system, you would maintain a single source of truth that all team members can access and maintains notes and an audit trail. This method ensures that everyone uses the same information, that a single update updates resources for the entire team, and that the thought process for making changes/updates are thoroughly documented.

4. Figure Out Whether Issues are One-Offs or Recurring.

When you have a centralized review process, you have the data necessary to get a high-level view of what’s happening within your team/organization.

When your process is decentralized, it can be challenging to understand the root cause of issues or errors. However, when you can see the data through a centralized lens, issues may show up as parts of an overarching theme.

In a centralized review process, you can see:

– Where a concept might have been explained unclearly, leading to multiple people making the same mistakes in the review process

– Where a person or step in the process is creating a consistent bottleneck

– Where deadlines are frequently missed because of unrealistic timelines

5. Find Ways to Make Your Processes Stand the Test of Time.

We talked about how information can degrade over time and as it passes through many hands. The same can happen for a process in its totality.

When processes are decentralized, there is a great deal of autonomy regarding their management. They can start to become haphazard as individuals skip over portions or develop their own best practices (not always in line with the organization’s overall procedures).

In a centralized process, people shouldn’t be able to make one-off changes to the processes. Instead, change management protocols ensure that when changes happen, they make sense for all and they’re appropriately documented.

Iteration on processes isn’t an issue. It’s something all organizations should do to maximize their effectiveness and to make sure they’re optimizing the way they work.

The issue is people iterating and making changes in a bubble or a silo so that the processes lose meaning or essential portions are left out. This opens the organization up to additional risk, which counteracts the goals of the compliance team.

Make it Easier for People to Do What You Want Them to Do. 

It’s not always enjoyable to be the compliance person who’s seen as a naysayer or a person who stands between other departments and their goals. When you’re developing new centralized processes, it can automatically make your marketing colleagues suspicious because they see additional steps and more work for them.

To make your processes adaptable and successful, give people a reason to do what you want them to do. Show them how your way will actually make it easier for them to do their job.

For example, if you want your marketing counterparts to adopt a review platform that uses machine intelligence to suggest edits. Instead of positioning it as another step for them to include in their process, highlight the ways it integrates into their existing content creation tools.

In this way, you’re showing them how your resources will save them steps because they’ll generate cleaner content the first time and have less back and forth. When you reduce the effort required for them to achieve the same high-quality result, they’ll be more than happy to jump on the bandwagon.

What else should be done to ensure a centralized compliance process is successful? One of the more significant potential complaints about centralization is the possible slowing of the review process.

Clear delineation of responsibilities is necessary to ensure this doesn’t happen. A centralized process doesn’t mean everyone needs to weigh in on everything.

Ensure team members know where they’re required to do their part and where they fall in the process. A RACI chart can help people to understand where they are responsible and accountable versus where they might take a less active role (consulted or informed only).

Creating a centralized review process makes sense for many organizations to build a lasting, thorough, reliable process that creates trust and partnership between different teams in their company. To create a centralized review process that will stand the test of time, you need to invest the tools and strategic resources to make your processes work for your organization.

About Red Oak Compliance Solutions

Red Oak Compliance Solutions is the global advertising review software of choice in the financial services industry, serving clients with more than $19 trillion in assets under management. Red Oak’s advertising compliance review software offers quick implementation timelines, as well as agile technology that responds to client needs and is 100% Books and Records compliant. Our clients report 35% faster approvals and 70% fewer touches, with many experiencing even better results. Are you ready to minimize risk, reduce costs, and improve efficiency?  Contact the Red Oak team to learn how.

About Red Oak Compliance Solutions

Red Oak Compliance Solutions is a leading provider of intelligent compliance software, offering a range of AI-powered solutions designed to help firms of all sizes successfully navigate the increasingly complex regulatory landscape. Our suite of 17(a)-4/WORM compliant features offer risk minimization, cost reduction, and process optimization capabilities with features that are designed to evolve with our client’s needs. Our flagship advertising review software enables firms to deliver compliant content to the market with confidence, faster. Our Disclosure Management and Intelligence solution simplifies the management of disclosures, while our Registration Management solution automates and streamlines the licensing and registration process, further enhancing your internal processes. 

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