This article was originally published in the Autumn 2019 issue of The Record. Subscribe for FREE here to get the next issues delivered directly to your inbox.
Boasting functions for instant messaging, chatting via voice and video call, and sharing files and even desktop screens, unified communication and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business are transforming how workplaces operate. Using these platforms, they can easily collaborate with people anywhere in the world at the touch of a button.
“As the global business environment becomes more competitive, modern businesses are increasingly looking for platforms and technologies that will help them improve services and ramp up efficiency,” says Phil Fry, vice president of financial compliance at Verint.
Despite their benefits, there is a hidden danger to this type of unified collaboration platforms: achieving compliance with the increasingly strict regulations that are being introduced across every industry.
“Like them or not, rules and regulations are vital to ensure that employees not only adhere to their company’s specific processes, but also meet the high standards society expects when it comes to issues like fairness, honesty, safety, financial probity and more,” says Fry. “Today, many sectors have to comply with a growing number of internal and external rules – and that challenge is not going to go away any time soon.”
Although these regulations differ in detail, they often outline similar requirements. Many relate to how companies capture and store vast amounts of (often unstructured) data about interactions and business transactions.
“Increasing public and governmental concern about security breaches and data misuse has prompted a new wave of regulations that govern how companies can collect and use the personal data of their customers, employees, partners, suppliers and others,” explains Fry. “Many regulations, such as those governing financial services, also demand that they capture a wide range of electronic interaction data and store it for many years. And most regulation also mandate that this data must be capable of easy identificatioin, retrieval and analysis so that it can be used for business improvement, governance, compliance audit or investigation purposes.”
Consequently, says Fry, many companies in regulated industries are facing what Verint calls a compliance gap. “Companies are giving their staff access to powerful new capabilities in platforms like Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, but there’s a strong disconnect between what employees can do with these tools and what they need to do to remain compliant,” he explains.
Verint has been helping Skype for Business users to close this compliance gap for the past five years.
“Our compliance recording and interaction capture solution was among the first to be certified for use with Skype for Business and it’s still one of only a few on the market that can capture, store, analyse and retrieve data shared via all of the communication modes,” says Fry. “Today, it’s used by hundreds of organisations across many industries who are relying on Skype for Business to work more quickly, efficiently and effectively.”
Following the success of their Skype for Business collaboration, Verint and Microsoft have now joined forces to provide a similar type of solution for businesses that use (or would like to be able to use) Microsoft Teams.
“Our vision is to create compliance capture capabilities across the complete range of Microsoft Teams collaboration modes and we’re working with Microsoft to deliver the most comprehensive solution possible,” says Fry. “We aim to create a solution that makes it possible for companies to not only store, share and collaborate on content and joint projects, but also to capture the discussions, interactions and the facts and ideas that are exchanged by everyone involved along the way.”
Importantly for regulated businesses, adds Fry, the solution will also track all these exchanges. “Companies will be able to record, store and index all voice and video conversations, instant messages, screen shares and more so that they can be easily retrieved and analysed later,” he says. “This will help businesses remain compliant and avoid the fines and reputational risk that too frequently result from a lack of oversight.”
Although Verint and Microsoft are still finalising the technical details and timeline for the project, Fry is confident that the solution will transform how organisations communicate and collaborate, both internally and externally.
“It’s early days, but we know that we’ll be able to develop functionality for capturing compliance information for voice, instant messaging, video conferencing and file and desktop sharing because we’ve successfully done it all for Skype for Business,” he explains. “As Microsoft makes the application programming interfaces available for Microsoft Teams, we’ll work to implement them into the Verint solution. Once they’re in place, our customers will be able to use Microsoft Teams to collaborate more quickly and effectively than ever before, while standing confident in the knowledge that they are well equipped to comply with necessary rules and regulations.”
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