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Driving Sustainability and Compliance (Part 1): Disrupting the Paradigm of the ‘Empty App’

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“When you buy applications, you are buying empty apps. In other words, you are buying a data model and some application logic, but you’re not really buying a solution that more holistically helps procurement organizations deliver outcomes.” — Pierre Mitchell

As Pierre Mitchell pointed out in the quote above, the vast majority of procurement technology is focused on the capture and containment of information. Supplier information. Product specifications and prices. Spend and transaction details. These are critical categories of information, but they don’t create value or achieve business objectives on their own. For that, procurement needs something more contextualized to its own company’s situation and designed to motivate action.

The first step in any information-driven process is to create forms or questionnaires to capture information, but the value is all in what follows. In the case of compliance, the requirements of international organizations and sanctioning bodies are written as regulations, not practical evaluation tools. Companies often struggle to transform these requirements into practical assessments for their suppliers and the other relevant parties in the supply chain — an investment that has to be made in parallel by multiple companies even though they are all trying to accomplish the same thing.

There are hundreds of regulations, laws and standards that must be converted into actionable evaluation tools before being populated with information. The United Nations Global Compact’s Ten Principles, key Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 guidelines and core subjects of ISO 26000, the Social Responsibility Compliance Standard, are just a few. Only the most experienced subject matter experts are qualified to create these evaluation tools, and certainly their time and effort can be better placed.

To increase scalability and speed to value, IntegrityNext offers prebuilt questionnaires that cover bribery, corruption, environmental protection, human rights and labor, health and safety, supply chain responsibility, conflict minerals and more. These questionnaires help companies break free from the inertia caused by “empty apps” and instead immediately convert supplier information into action.

Our goal was to simplify a complex task without increasing risk. Rather than reinventing the wheel trying by to build their own multitier, multilingual supplier questionnaires to cover a myriad of compliance regulations, companies can now advance quickly to the point of enforcing compliance and sustainability standards in their supply base and supply chain.

IntegrityNext is not alone in studying this process. We have observed that the largest standards-setting bodies have significantly reduced the amount of information requested from suppliers due to low response rates. Even these organizations understand that they cannot achieve their stated objectives if the prospect of compiling the required information is prohibitive. This realization has led to a trend towards more basic but also more scalable checks.

Once suppliers confirm their compliance, information is translated and made instantly available through IntegrityNext. Without our prebuilt questionnaires, it would take hundreds of man-days not only to create and translate frameworks but also to define processes for requesting assessments. Unlike with “empty apps,” the evaluation process can be completed in five minutes using IntegrityNext — allowing teams to move on to the value-added work of ensuring compliance.

In today’s multifaceted business world, companies must incorporate as many data sources as possible in their decision-making process, including social media. But while these “social media voices” are available in real time and in abundance, they lack the structure of traditional market intelligence. In our next post, we will discuss the power of social media for compliance management.

About IntegrityNext

The IntegrityNext platform covers all major aspects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability requirements, allowing companies to instantly monitor thousands of suppliers and their entire supply chain with minimal administration. IntegrityNext brings together prebuilt supplier compliance assessments and real-time social media insights in a user-experience driven platform that covers international standards and extends multiple tiers into the supply chain. For more information, visit www.integritynext.com.

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