Compliance Matters: ARMATURE @ COMPLY2017

This week was full of excitement for ARMATURE, as two of our team members headed up to NYC to attend COMPLY2017. As a company that builds game-changing accreditation management software and quality management software for organizations in a range of industries, we understand the critical role compliance plays in mitigating risk and driving quality across the enterprise, and the opportunity it gives companies to create competitive advantage. But we were particularly jazzed about the COMPLY2017 agenda, because it featured leading regulators, compliance professionals, and marketing executives who care about this stuff as much as we do. We grabbed some time with our CMO, Andrew Bryden, to reflect on the experience.

Welcome back! How was the conference?

It was great! The organizers were trying to make compliance cool, and they did an excellent job. There was an exciting mix of people in the room—a series of next-gen solution providers, compliance officers, and marketers who recognized that they could leverage technology and build new relationships with folks in their organization to make big leaps forward in how we understand and manage compliance.

Sounds like a really positive vibe. Who were the standout speakers?

I loved what Scott Stratten from UnMarketing had to say. Not only is he a fantastic entertainer, but his message was spot-on. He talked about truth in marketing, which aligns so well with ARMATURE’s focus on integrity and doing the right thing.

Who else?

LaSalle Vaughn from USAA gave a great talk about creating a culture of compliance within your organization. He made the point that, while you need to have the systems in place to support compliance initiatives, you really need to embed a culture of compliance across your organization so that everyone takes personal responsibility. Once that culture is in place, people are more inclined to leverage the systems to do their part.

How do you create a culture of compliance?

You have to make everyone understand that compliance is a company-wide responsibility. People sometimes have a tendency to lump compliance in with legal, and to silo it off, but once they buy into the idea that compliance requires all hands on deck, they get more invested in its success. So you build a story, articulate values, and situate compliance within that narrative. Smart companies also reward and recognize the behaviors that support a compliant culture.

Which makes it a dynamic thing rather than a bunch of legalese on paper.


How does quality management software factor in?

Creating a culture of compliance and having the tools and technologies in place to drive compliance go hand-in-hand. ARMATURE helps promote compliance from a technology/process perspective, as our software codifies regulations and standards into corporate systems to drive consistency. But you have to have that other side. You have to have a culture in place that understands why compliance is important, and why adhering to standards is the right thing to do. When culture and technology come together, it can create a really powerful solution.

Agreed. So in terms of themes, creating a culture of compliance was a big one. What else stood out to you?

There’s been a really positive shift in how a lot of companies approach org design. You’re starting to see compliance and risk folks building strong relationships with marketing and communications teams. Traditionally, compliance has been housed within legal, but now there’s greater integration across departments, which encourages collaboration and creates good strong corporate culture. When compliance works with marketing from the ground up, almost serving as an internal quality control for marketing, they serve as enablers rather than blockers. And these embedded compliance people are seen as super helpful and not as a hindrance to progress.

Collaborators rather than nay-sayers.

That’s right.

Other themes?

Many of the companies that were speaking at the event made it clear that they want their vendors to be somewhat expert in compliance. Multiple speakers emphasized that vendors need to understand the types of regulation that are really important to the companies they serve, because only then can they add value.

We’ve certainly seen that here at ARMATURE—with 16 years in the quality space, we know our way around everything from ISO 9001 to accreditation and industry-specific standards.

And you have to, in order to build effective quality management solutions. As a vendor in the space, you need to know the standards, but you also need to know how to build a really user-friendly application. UX was one thing that wasn’t talked about much, but I could sense it was really important. After all, you can have the greatest software, but if it’s not intuitive and easy to use, it’s not going to be as effective, and it won’t help usher in the culture of compliance that’s so essential.

UX is another area where ARMATURE shines, so that’s good to hear.

Yes. All applications, enterprise or otherwise, should be easy to use. No one wants to spend their work days frustrated by clunky software that wastes time and effort. We all just want our software to make sense right from the start, and that’s where good UX comes into play. That’s one of the things that really stood out at COMPLY2017: there was real excitement about what today’s technology can bring to the table. There are new tools that not only make life easier, but really drive efficiency and standards, and inspire the right behavior in companies.

Any final takeaways?

I felt there was a great sense of purpose in the room. There was this recognition that, as a society, we need to be more compliant, and that can only be a good thing.

Sounds like a great experience. Thanks, Andrew!

Happy to help.