Local ICT systems integration and business process specialists Ovations, is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Ezio, a solution built from the ground up to help businesses address risk, compliance and security issues that can hinder good governance. The solution is based on its extensive experience with working in the compliance space through its large financial services customers.
Ezio is a fully automated, cloud-based solution that gathers organisational data related to gifts, attestation and outside business interests of staff and stakeholders, to assist with proactive governance.
“Governance and compliance are a hotbed for organisations trying to ensure that they meet regulatory requirements that dictate good business practices. With Ezio we have developed a solution that fully automates the gathering of data pertaining to conflicts of interest, something that can lead to bad governance and fines, should they not be managed effectively,” states Carl Townsend, product lead at Ovations.
“Organisations are relying on reactive approaches such as just publishing a conflicts or gifts policy, in the belief that this sets the onus on employees to comply, even though case law and examples in the news show this is dangerously insufficient. If we factor in regulations such as POPI, King IV, FAIS and the fines stipulated by the Financial Services Board (FSB), the time to rest on our laurels for lackadaisical governance and compliance are over,” adds Townsend.
The Ezio suite will initially be introduced through three modules which include:
Tracking and managing of gifts and entertainment
An employee gift registry where monetary values, frequency and even nature of gifts and exchanges are recorded. In short, the solution automates the tracking and monitoring of the entire process of gift acceptance / giving by providing employees a single environment to log gifts, their value and their origin. This in turn offers employers the ability to track this, in real time, ensuring compliance is met, bribery and corruption is constantly under the microscope and that irregular activities are flagged immediately. In regulations such as FAIS a gift can be construed as an outside business interest, making this module of significant importance for governance and risk reduction.
Outside business activity
This module provides employers with an auditable and up to date registry of all business activities employees are involved in, that could be construed as a conflict of interest. While employees need to disclose outside business interests when signing with a company, this is seldom monitored later. By law, should an employee be charged with bad conduct / business on outside business activities, you have to prove that you game them the opportunity to declare it, the process involved in declaring it was simple, and that you have monitored it. Ezio makes the entire process electronic, letting you mine the data as and when needed. Furthermore, with Ezio the onus is no longer on a business to prove employee compliance. But rather on them for defrauding a company by not declaring interests. This correlates with regulations such as FAIS and King IV, which require proactive declaration of even potential conflicts. This is especially important given that case law only requires employees to declare interests that can be proven to be actual conflicts. This module enables companies to address and monitor this mismatch.
Push important documents and communications to an employee for their review electronically, and then provide an employee with a tick box to check, that states they have read and understood the contents. Should the employee not read the documents provided to them, with instructions that this is an urgent communication, the duty now rests with them. Ezio also tracks who hasn’t attested the document so it can be flagged with managers or team leaders. This is particularly beneficial in financial environments where regular communications from regulators needs to be read and acknowledged.
“Ezio takes the guesswork out of managing interactions between your business and your employees, suppliers and customers. It tracks internal and external engagements to ensure good governance is being maintained by your business. Ultimately, with Ezio governance and ultimately compliance, becomes enforceable and you can track and trace it, report on it and monitor it in real-time, without the worry of maintaining the system by yourself.
“Good companies set targets and measure themselves against them – a conflicts of interest management policy is the target companies already have, but Ezio provides the missing means to measure against it. It also helps you bridge the mismatch between what employees and employers are directly responsible for,” he ends.