September 17, 2015

Compliance internal
In introducing this year’s Compliance Week annual conference, held back in May, editor & publisher Matt Kelly described the event (the 10th, in sequence), as “a chance to pause and see the larger picture of your profession and to share that experience with your peers.”
Certainly, it was a chance for observing, reflecting, and sharing. Who could miss the growth and development of the field since the first conference? From both a personal and an AHM perspective, the conference made it clear how much growth has occurred in a decade. Sure, the problems continue to change and never seem to get any easier, but in the aggregate, both the regulated and the regulators have grown more professional; clearer on their roles and responsibilities — and more sophisticated in understanding each other and the important issues at stake.
That maturity is a reflection of the fact that compliance has become deeply embedded in business and organizational practice. It is no longer a topic that draws blank stares. Everyone “gets” compliance and those of us engaged in it play key roles in the entities for which we work. Compliance has become part of the culture.
Of course, being part of our respective “corporate cultures” merely indicates that we have long-since achieved legitimacy. But that is something that must be continually earned and propagated and requires development of truly having a compliance culture. People will probably never love compliance. But with continual effort, they can be taught to practice compliance.
We were also reminded at Compliance Week 2015 of some unfinished business: getting visibility for the chief compliance officer. Other C-level folks have had to earn their “place at the table,” and it took time. Chief Information Officers (CIOs), for example, took a decade to gain credibility and real organizational clout. It’s about time every organization made the CCO a central player in management!
Effectiveness is what we aim for. We were reminded at the conference that assessing effectiveness must come from facts; being able to measure and document what we do relative to the activities an organization conducts is a necessity if we are to actually deliver compliance.
Of course, we can all continue to argue about what effectiveness really means — and we should. In fact, one of the first sessions on the agenda this year was titled, 10 Years On: Are We Defining ‘Effectiveness’ Correctly?” Effectiveness is still ill-defined and will always vary from one organization to another. But we need to continue to seek benchmarks and sound points of comparison.
Furthermore, we are forever chasing a moving target. Although some compliance drivers have become familiar, Anti-Kick Back, the specifics are always changing and new drivers are always emerging. Nothing can change that, but good people and good processes will ensure that an organization keeps up with the times and keeps its edge. A takeaway: make sure your programs are designed to evolve so that they aren’t stuck solving yesterday’s challenges.
AHM, of course, aims to support compliance and help shape best practices. We are privileged to work with some of the best organizations around and we anticipate that a decade in the future, when the 20th Compliance Week conference is held, we will be able to look back on an equally interesting and impressive record of shared accomplishment.

Contributed by:

Lisa Keilty, Global VP of Compliance and Strategic Solutions, AHM

Lisa joined AHM after serving as founder of the Compliance Consulting firm PMC2 and spending over 26 years in the life sciences and meeting management industry. Leading such organizations as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Biogen Idec through numerous international projects, financial transparency and reporting requirements, Lisa’s industry expertise has saved Life Sciences and Meeting Management organizations over 30 million dollars. As a member of the Business Development team, Lisa’s primary focus will be Thought Leadership,Demand Generation and Solution Design.