It’s been an interesting political roller coaster to say the least in the US over the past several months. While things seem to be settling just a little, I’m sure a day won’t pass without a news story or press release that doesn’t cause significant pause for some, and cautious optimism for others.

Regardless of which way the political winds blow, whenever leadership shifts in the White House and Congress, proposed policy changes that will affect businesses worldwide come under the microscope. And of these policies, it seems clear that governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) issues will be front and center for CEOs committed to driving growth in the years ahead.

A CEO’s Point of View

I very much appreciated this last week listening in to an interview with Dow Chemical’s CEO, Andrew Liveris, on Neil Cavuto’s “Coast to Coast” business program. Mr. Liveris had just been part of a gathering of CEOs advising the new administration on the opportunity to grow the US economy beyond the 2% growth rate, especially in the area of bringing back manufacturing.

Source: PwC CEO Survey

Mr. Liveris is active in the geo-political space as a significant influencer on the global stage. He has relationships with leaders in many, many other countries and regions worldwide. (Dow Chemical, for example, operates in over 160 countries). Australian by nationality and party neutral as a leader of a large multi-national, Mr. Liveris considers himself neither “red” nor “blue,” but “purple” when it comes to US politics.

I appreciate this pragmatic approach as it allows him to contribute in a meaningful way to everyone, and indeed he has advised the both the Obama and Trump administrations in addition to being personal friends with the Clintons. The world continues to move forward and helping to shape tomorrow’s direction and vision is not an insignificant influence he wields.

Winds of Policy Change and GRC

Considering how quickly a stroke of a pen can roll back years of prior policy, or institute new requirements that seem to even flirt with evading courts or legislative bodies, organizations have to be nimbler and quicker than ever to anticipate and respond to the new risks and opportunities that are presented by changes in governmental administrations.

When Mr. Liveris talked about all the areas of focus for him as a CEO in driving this new growth, he didn’t bring up topics such as machine learning, or blockchain—however important these emerging technologies may be. Instead, he highlighted the following topics in this order 1) regulatory change 2) changes in tax policy 3) trade 4) infrastructure 5) education 6) energy and others.

I don’t think it’s a small coincidence that the top three drivers for this agenda are front and center GRC topics. And although not mentioned in this interview, other GRC topics like cybersecurity risk and governance are also top of mind across the globe for CEO’s for all sizes of organizations. (See the graph below from the PwC CEO Survey.)

As a GRC “practitioner,” this excites me and gives me renewed appreciation for the fact that we’re in a space that is driving change and will continue to be highly relevant. We’re challenged to help the broader organization see these and other GRC topics as not just a cost of doing business, but as driving the CEO’s growth agenda in 2017 and beyond.

An Agile GRC Platform Is Essential

Without getting into all the solutions and products offered by SAP, I’m confident in saying I know of no other software vendor with the breadth and depth of solutions that cover the wide array of GRC requirements demanded to ensure growth. Our solutions not only offer regulatory change management and the Three Lines of Defense, but they enable organizations to institute the right combination of access governance and data protection, manage cyber threats on a daily basis, and manage new tax and global trade requirements.

SAP offers a tremendous vision and capability for organizations to navigate the rapid pace of change.

And don’t forget the potential every four years in the US for the next pen—whether blue or red—to keep those winds of change blowing.

Learn More

Read the other blogs in our GRC Tuesdays series to learn more about topics like these.