People in meetingI had promised in my “Do You Have CCMophobia” blog that there was more to talk about than could be tackled in a single blog. So let’s continue where we left off. But where do we start? There are so many reasons to take advantage of continuous control monitoring (CCM), and so many reasons people give for not doing it. Let’s explore just a few of them here and see if any of these apply to you or your organization.

First, a few reasons to implement CCM in your company:

  • Save time
  • Save money
  • Use the data you already have
  • Get more timely and reliable information
  • Find and fix little problems before they become big problems

And, okay, let’s get a little personal here. You can actually work less, do more, and hopefully even get a bigger bonus or at least positive recognition from your company. You may even find you are learning something useful and fun.

Now, what are some of the reasons—even if the reasons aren’t said out loud—for not implementing CCM?

  • Fear of change
  • Unwillingness to invest
  • Perceptions that CCM is more work, not less
  • Worry about having your job become obsolete
  • Feeling like a dummy
  • Finding problems you don’t want to know about
  • Not knowing where to start

Let’s talk about some of these one at a time.

Fear of Change

I have no magic answer for this one, but in case you haven’t noticed, the WORLD is changing around you. You can go along or fight it, but the world will win. So while change is rarely comfortable, why not see what embracing CCM and other technology enablers can do for you? You might, at a minimum, find that you spend less time doing boring things, that you are better at your job, and that you get home a little earlier at night.

Unwillingness to Invest

This may be something you do not have under your direct control. If you do, great! The case for continuous control monitoring helping save money, while making your employees more effective, is clear. Here are a couple quick examples from our SAP Process Control customer base:

  • A survey of about 12 European customers learned that companies saved an average of EUR 430,000 per year just by automating testing.
  • Several companies reported a reduction in control testing effort of 80-100% and a corresponding increase in speed when automation was used. This included SAP SE, possibly the largest user of SAP Process Control in the world.

If the decision to invest is not under your control, you can still help make the case for a favorable return on investment and hope your company listens…. At worst, you’re a forward-thinking employee who has the company’s best interests at heart. At best, you get to be the hero who has improved processes while minimizing costs.

Perception that CCM Is More Work, Not Less

In the old days—wait -this sounds like my father saying he walked to school barefoot in the snow against the wind and uphill, both ways. (I never told him I knew that Nebraska, where he grew up, was pretty flat!) Let’s start again. It used to be the case that systems were very good at generating a lot of data, but they weren’t very good at sifting through the data to find what was needed. Today’s CCM applications (at least, SAP’s) enable you to focus on what you need and route just the exceptions to the right person for handling. This is a tremendous time saver!

Couple managing by exception and scheduling monitoring activities on a regular basis, and you find that you can focus in on the few exceptions a week that are routed to your inbox. Once you have checked them out and documented any resolution, if required, you’re done. So you’ve focused on just what you really need to review, and you’ve documented things as you’ve done them. You’re audit ready with a minimum of work, and you’ve reduced the number of things you have to do at the end of the month or quarter.

Worry About Having Your Job Become Obsolete

Thanks for being honest. Whether you are an auditor, a compliance person, a business owner, or something else, we all worry a bit about job security in this economy. However, consider this: You can make yourself more valuable to the organization by doing something more than routine tasks that can be somewhat automated.

I’ve spoken to a variety of customers who have implemented CCM, and yes, the workload of some individuals was reduced. But this didn’t lead to people losing their jobs—it led to those people getting better and more interesting things to do! It helped them add value to the organization and ultimately to their own careers. This can be the ultimate win-win situation for both employee and employer.

Feeling Like a Dummy

No one likes to feel stupid, but as Spock said in The Wrath of Khan, “For everything there is a first time.” (I admit to being a closet Trekkie.)   Or perhaps you’re more the Steve Jobs type—try to count how many failures he had, and how he learned from each one. So forget the worry about feeling like a dummy, and see what you can learn about how your company runs, about SAP, about GRC, and how you can do something good via automation. Okay, enough said.

Finding Problems You Don’t Want to Worry About

I suppose there is some logic to this if someone else is finding errors and the majority of them are yours. I understand–you don’t want to look bad. However, in general, it’s easier to fix a few errors than a lot of them, so try to see this as a way to improve processes and make things easier in the future. Of course, you might also find some things that are critically important—sources of revenue leakage and perhaps even fraud.

Not Knowing Where to Start

If continuous control monitoring is new to you, you may justifiably be concerned about knowing where to start. I’m sorry, but that will need to be a part three of this series as I can already imagine my editor saying that a blog should not be more than 800-900 words, and I’m already close to 1000….

Please share your CCM experiences, or to learn more about CCM, go directly to the SAP Process Control page.