07 Sep, 2011

European financial services organisations at risk of document compliance breaches


Business critical documentation inside financial services organisations is increasingly at risk of being lost or in breach of essential document compliance regulations, according to new findings from the Ricoh Process Efficiency Index. The study was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research and included interviews with 458 senior executives across six vertical market sectors in Europe. It showed that 31 per cent of all European organisations continue to lose important documents while 24 per cent have no audit trail facilities in place to track and monitor the movement of business critical information at all.


“The dynamics facing the future workplace such as globalisation and changing demographics are fuelling information overload.  By 2020 digital information will grow by a factor of 30 and the number of files by a factor of 60[1].  This ‘Big Data’ concept combined with the changing culture of the workplace, mean that effective information management and compliance with document regulations is of paramount importance to organisations across all vertical markets,” said Carsten Bruhn, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Europe (pictured).


He continued: “However, these findings reveal that many European organisations admit to still not managing their business critical document processes effectively, leaving them unprepared for the future.”


The study showed that even most heavily regulated industries are at risk.  A CIO in the healthcare industry said: “We work with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the EMA (European Medicines Agency) so all the information in our business has got to be really secure – otherwise there would be serious questions about the validity of our data.”  However, the study showed that nearly a third (29 per cent) of healthcare companies do not have any audit trail process for their business critical documentation.   


When referring to the ability to retrieve business critical information safely and quickly, a CIO from the financial services sector said, “…..due to the sheer volume of documents that need to be searched through, it can be very difficult to track down what we’re looking for sometimes – this is another problem for us.”  The data also reveals a similar trend, with less than half of European financial services organisations (just 45 per cent) confirming that they have the ability to conduct audit trails for all confidential business critical documents and 20 per cent in financial services reporting that they have no processes in place at all. These figures are significant and will impact compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act which mandates that organisations must ensure that business critical documents are not altered, destroyed or misplaced.


Even more worryingly, 31 per cent of all European businesses are still prone to losing important documents. Organisations in the education sector were found to be most at risk with 38 per cent admitting they occasionally lose or misplace business critical information compared with 14 per cent per cent in the legal sector.  Over half of all companies (52 per cent) said that the biggest impact was significant business process delays. Additional impacts range from damaged reputation to non-payment of invoices, loss of business critical information, compliance breaches and unsatisfied clients.


Bruhn added, “At a time when organisations across all vertical sectors need to be improving their overall operational efficiencies in order to compete in the global marketplace, the study shows that many are unnecessarily exposing themselves to risk.”


“While CIOs are reviewing their business critical processes and applying ‘Big Data’ methods inside their organisations, they also need the support of the COO and the CEO to drive the necessary change in working practices and document processes.  Then with the right business partner they can properly implement an end-to-end optimisation strategy that will drive down business costs have a huge impact on workforce collaboration and effectiveness and ensure compliance with document regulations within their specific vertical market.”


Read the full study at


[1] IDC Managed Print and Document Services for Controlling Today’s and Tomorrow’s Information Costs – January 2011 –



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