Going Paperless & Improving GRC Processes
Megan Phee: Hi, I'm Megan Phee. And this is GRC& Me, where we interview industry thought leaders in governance, risk and compliance on hot topics, industry specific challenges, trends, and more, to learn about their methods, solutions, and outlook in this space. Hello, this is Megan Phee with GRC& Me. For today's episode, things may sound a bit different as we recorded with our guest while I was in London, visiting with our London team. My guest today is Tina Gugani and she's the founder and managing director of Proxis, a GRC advisory firm based in the UAE. Today, we discuss her background in GRC, the concept of process digitalization, and trends that she's seeing within the region. And now here's my conversation with Tina. Hi, Tina. Welcome.
Tina Gugani: Hi Megan. Thank you.
Megan Phee: This is the first time we've done this in a long time where we actually sit down to record another episode of GRC& Me. So thank you for coming this way to sit with us today. I know we've got a couple really meaningful questions that I wanted to ask you today, but I thought a nice place to start would just be, share with us and the listeners and the viewers, tell us a little bit about your background. Tell us a little bit about the work that you've done over your career. And what is meaningful to you about risk management?
Tina Gugani: Thank you, Megan. Thank you-
Megan Phee: Yes.
Tina Gugani: For hosting us, it's amazing to be live and in person after a long break and back in London. Yeah, so my background is essentially management consulting with a start in General Electric. So I was on one of GEs graduate schemes, learned how to do IT and change management and digitize. And I've been doing that ever since, so for the last 20 years. And then spent a period of time consulting and then working in industry in an airport in aviation. And historically, the underlying principle has always been about optimizing processes, putting effectively controls in place, policies and procedures. The last bit of work I did was actually in a resilience team. So working at the outset from a risk base and mitigating those risks. And then I guess put into this discussion is that through the course of my consulting then with a client, we then procured the risk cloud and the technology wasn't available in the UAE. And it just made sense to bring that techno... this part of the world. And having said that, we've now formed the business Proxis, which is the reseller for the risk cloud for this part of the region. But continuing to bring in that process transformation and business transformation. And essentially optimize your business without giving your work as the hassle of following up on emails and that kind of thing. And that's what the risk does right now.
Megan Phee: Wonderful. Well, and I love that because the market and your market, Dubai is already merging in that space and forward thinking in so many areas. And so for risk and governance risk and compliance, it only makes sense now to operationalize those kind of traditionally labor intensive manual processes into technology. And with your guidance and advisory services, you can help organizations think about, how do you digitize? And how do you bring processes to life? So, yeah, to ultimately drive resilience, to drive compliance and to drive efficiency across teams. So I think that's exciting. So tell me a little bit about what you are seeing in the work that you're doing with clients today. Or even in the market, in the Dubai market. What are you seeing in regards to risk and compliance? You talked a little bit about one of your last projects was on resilience. You talked about digital improvement and optimization. What are areas or challenges that you're seeing your clients have?
Tina Gugani: So I'll start at the macro, for the UAE and effectively the middle east region-
Megan Phee: Great.
Tina Gugani: It's the green landscape. So a lot of the work that we're seeing and doing is about building new from scratch, building new airports, building new cities. So you need a lot of new stuff to go along with that. And because you're building it new, you have the advantage of history behind you and you can learn and you can leapfrog-
Megan Phee: Yes.
Tina Gugani: A lot of those old technologies. So for example, one of the initiatives that we had in Dubai was the paperless government. So all the government departments had to go paperless. And not just scan in your piece of paper and digitize your process so that it's streamlined for the end user, the customer. Because another initiative is the customer happiness. So they want the customers and the residents and the citizens to be the happiest people on earth.
Megan Phee: Yes. Love that.
Tina Gugani: And how do you do that? By stopping them queuing and stopping them filling out forms. So a lot of our work is around like looking at the process and saying," What are the things that add value? What are the things that you're willing to pay for? And what are the things that you've had to do because you've had to get that information into a system, so you have to write it down on a piece of paper?" But now we have technology and we can automate that and we can leverage connected systems and pull in those bits of information.
Megan Phee: Well, and I love that with the guiding thought or principle of, how do you improve quality of life? Whether it's in your day to day as a customer or consumer. Or your working day to day, how are you improving your quality of life, your happiness, ultimately? But also, where can we have better time spent? And ultimately, work smarter to achieve these outcomes that we have to. And I love that there is an opportunity because there's so much new infrastructure to look at, okay, what's the best in the market? And I think that's what led you to that evaluation about the GRC market is, what is the best in market now? Because luckily clients aren't beholden to the 20 year old technology that a lot of the risk and compliance professionals knew were available in the market and have been overly engineered or ingrained in their organization. It's just hard to break away from. And so it's nice because your clients, to your point, is coming to a fresh perspective, fresh initiatives. And they need the best technology to help them drive efficiency and happiness for their team members and ultimately better outcomes for their customers, as well. Which is great.
Tina Gugani: I think that there's a real sense of disruption and innovation in that part of the world. We are seeing many new startups come out of that.
Megan Phee: Fantastic.
Tina Gugani: And because I think the appetite is there to challenge stuff now and say," We don't need to do this. And why are we doing these things when we can do one, two and three of the things?"
Megan Phee: I love that. That's incredible. Yeah, that's the biggest thing is to take a moment to pause and think about a better way of doing this. And there's got to be a better way to do it. I'm glad. Well, I'm glad that's what led us together. I think that's fantastic. And so tell us a little bit about that concept of digitalization. Where are other aspects within... you're seeing when your client works that's meaningful? Like where is a place where clients could think about their GRC or their risk management program? What are things they could think about digitizing that would add meaning in your perspective?
Tina Gugani: I think it's really relevant. So this morning in the local newspaper, there was a story about an insurance company being fined for a compliance wonder, basically. Didn't go into the details, but they've had a fine, and they've been suspended from doing business for a year. Because they didn't file in time. So I think this is the minimum an organization has to do is say," Are we regulated? What are we obligated to do? And how can we ensure we do those things?" And typically, it's somebody going," Okay, I'm going to read through these hundreds of pages and then I'm going to make a spreadsheet and I'm going to email everybody and tell them what to do." So, that person's time is actually better spent ingesting all of that into a system. And getting them to think about, how do I address these compliance issues? And what better compliance measures could we put in place? Rather than send emails and chase people. So that's what we try and remove. We talk about why is there a process element to this? Because everything is a piece of work, everything is an activity. So who are the people that are doing the work and what are they doing? And then we have workshops with them and we go into, why are you doing that? Why are you sending the email? How many times do people reply to those emails? What are the possibilities? What would you like to do with your time?
Megan Phee: Time back. Yes.
Tina Gugani: Yeah. So would you like to, for instance, consider how to mitigate those compliance measures? Would you like to put in place actual systems and controls? And that's what they should be spending their time thinking of and doing. And if you have a system that can do that, that can automate the ingestion of the regulations and then tell the people who are responsible and just automatically email them. Then people can get on with their actual jobs, their functions.
Megan Phee: The fun work of risk management, too, of like getting to the problem solving or bringing strategic conversations to the table to help to influence decisions. But yeah, I love what you just mentioned that because so often I think of that as... folks that we talk to all the time in risk management, they don't want to be the no police. They don't want to be the business person that's nagging their stakeholders to do little things. They could have such more meaningful impact of their time if they get into the work of remediation and strategic strategy. So I love that. And I think for a long time in the space, when you think about GRC or risk management technologies, because they were legacy systems and they were hard to deploy, or they were costly startups, emerging companies, they just didn't see that as a fit for them. Difficult to manage, difficult to own, difficult to procure. And I think now with our partnership, you can bring to market something that's agile to meet the needs for where they are, but also agile to procure and agile to deploy and agile tool to use. So you don't have to have a whole team to administer this new piece of tech. It can be a one person team. You and I know this from working with our customers together, that oftentimes, it's one sole risk leader who says, she's got an idea, she knows that there can be a better way. And so she leverages technology to be more efficient. And I see that time and time again, which is great.
Tina Gugani: I think that's so true, Megan, because historically, again, even outside of risk management procurement, there's so many procurement transformations-
Megan Phee: Yes.
Tina Gugani: Because it's a paper based and evaluations and we're all used to seeing hundreds of pages of RFPs. But when we engaged with LogicGate and I said," We're not looking for the pages and reams, we just want to know what your system does. And tell us simply how it does it. And then we'll get to a demo because actions speak louder than words." And that was from the outset, what we were sent back was just clear and simple.
Megan Phee: Nice.
Tina Gugani: And we understood by talking to the solution engineers, what the system can do without having to spend hours looking at the paper and jumping through the procurement-
Megan Phee: Expenses.
Tina Gugani: So, it's the same thing in procurement. You digitize and transform your procurement process because you want to bring in those... whatever it is, you're buying supplies or capital equipment, bring it in faster to do your work. You've got to keep focus on the customer. Who are you doing all of this work for? It's not the buyer. It's to service the customer
Megan Phee: Yes. And that, I think, is risk and compliance professionals, we have to keep in mind. Sometimes our customer are our stakeholders, are our business leaders that we're interacting with. That we want them to play a role in this concept of risk, we want them to be a part of this risk culture. And we want them to be a part of the conversation, we don't want them to just have to wait for us every quarter to sit down and do that risk assessment with them. We want them to start to identify risks on their own. And so I think that if you want to start that culture of participatory action in the risk capture and identification in organizations, you got to have an easy to use way to do that. And something kind of fun that you can use and something where it enables that conversation on risk. And that plus your workshops, I think, really helps organizations to get that cultural awareness of risk and the importance of risk in compliance, just out of that risk in compliance function and into the business stakeholders. So everyone knows that risk is their job, kind of thing. Everyone knows that compliance is a critical aspect to the business. Yeah, that's great. That's really good. All right. So we talked a little bit about your background and kind of what you saw and what led you to the work that you do now with Proxis. Tell us a little bit about what else is exciting about the work that you do with your clients. What are some of the things that you're either working on with clients? Or you're seeing in the market that's kind of interesting? Whether there's new regulations or emerging trends that you're really excited to work with customers on, or talk more about.
Tina Gugani: We got to talk about cyber security.
Megan Phee: Yes.
Tina Gugani: Not just because my credit card was hacked two weeks ago. I am hearing so many stories of this happening to individuals let alone-
Megan Phee: Companies.
Tina Gugani: Organizations. So you know that as well is a hot topic. Cybersecurity we're online so much more than we were. We're doing so much more because of the pandemic, groceries are being ordered online.
Megan Phee: That's the thing.
Tina Gugani: And order inaudible. And get it delivered, so you never need to step out of your house. Which we all thought... and it's on the phone. So, organizations need to be thinking about how to protect their data, where's that data going? What are the loopholes? Are we spending enough time actually... historically, risk management, even quality management, those jobs were about saying," Okay, I've documented this and I've ticked it. And now I can move on to the next thing." Getting that piece of paper. But that's not the actual work. Quality management, for example, is there to ensure that your product goes out and nobody's going to get sick or die from it, for example. The same with if you're in the services industry, ensuring customer service, that's what we want, it's not just ticking the box. So we're seeing a lot of work around... for example, some of the projects that we were working on were customer relationship management systems. I mean, there's so many aspects to CRM, but ensuring that you have a trail of your record and interaction with your customers, not just because you want to do more business. But with the existing customers, you have, you want to make them happy.
Megan Phee: Yes. Well, that's what I'm seeing, it's kind of being aware of all of those holistic attributes of risk management, kind of redefining what risk management is. It's the risks that your product can have in the market. It's also the tracking of those aspects such as, as you mentioned, like incidents or issues that happen. And then just more data the better. And I think that's the thing is, how do we help customers get their arms around the data and link the data? Because you might have issues or complaints over here, you might have risks on another team. So how do you bring it together so that when you are going to think about renewing a contract with a supplier, you can look at the whole story of everything that we've interacted with that supplier. Have we had complaints from our user community? Have we had complaints from our business stakeholders? Have we had issues? Have they lost their inaudible? Where are we on all these things? And then we can decide as a business, we want to continue moving forward with them. And I think those connections of disparate elements and even teams and data, that coming together can be powerful and decision making and then speed to market. And customer confidence and all of that, which is good. So the last question I have for you, Tina is more of a fun one. And so in the region, in which you're working today, we talked a lot about how businesses are mindful of digitizing and optimizing risk management and we're talking more about through the lens of GRC today. But there's some really... and we talked about how in the region, it's speed to market and there's new startups coming up. And it's the frontier of innovation and technology, in many aspects. And so they are doing something really interesting in your region in regards to weather.
Tina Gugani: Yeah.
Megan Phee: So I thought it'd be interesting if we didn't talk about that because I know when you shared with me the first time, I hadn't read too much about it. And I thought it was really interesting way to use technology, ways to like improve processes. But to improve the quality of citizens life and happiness of citizens lives and things like that. So tell us a little bit about how you're seeing innovation, not even inside the organizations that you work with, but just in the community.
Tina Gugani: Yeah. So Dubai is a desert, it hardly rains. We get maybe the occasional rainstorm... we might have had one a year.
Megan Phee: Wow. Yes.
Tina Gugani: And of course there's a critical water shortage, not just in Dubai, in many parts of the world. So a few years ago we started seeing more rain and eventually we understood... it was published that there's something called cloud seeding, manmade rain.
Megan Phee: Oh.
Tina Gugani: It's really cool. So basically they monitor the weather and they look for the right cloud.
Megan Phee: Okay.
Tina Gugani: And then they send a plane up and the plane finds those clouds and the plane has flares on it.
Megan Phee: Okay.
Tina Gugani: The flares basically contain salt as this is my understanding.
Megan Phee: Okay. Okay. Yes.
Tina Gugani: Find the cloud, shoot the flares into the cloud and the salts then make the condensation and make it heavy enough.
Megan Phee: Wow.
Tina Gugani: For a rain to-
Megan Phee: Fantastic.
Tina Gugani: Occur.
Megan Phee: Just kind of inspire the clouds to do what they would do naturally.
Tina Gugani: Naturally.
Megan Phee: Yes. Oh, that's fantastic.
Tina Gugani: It's amazing.
Megan Phee: And they do this, you're saying, how often do they do this? They do this once-
Tina Gugani: So this year we didn't have any rain.
Megan Phee: Okay.
Tina Gugani: But I'm not sure the actual amount that they do. I think it's fairly new technology, they've been experimenting-
Megan Phee: Nice.
Tina Gugani: On it for a while.
Megan Phee: Nice.
Tina Gugani: But we get a little bit more rain than we used to.
Megan Phee: Okay.
Tina Gugani: And it's so nice because-
Megan Phee: That's really a nice break. Yes.
Tina Gugani: It cools it down. And it's so nice to have a bit of rain and go splash in the puddles.
Megan Phee: Yes. Yes. And just get it into the soil, into the earth-
Tina Gugani: Yes.
Megan Phee: A little bit.
Tina Gugani: Exactly.
Megan Phee: Yes. Oh, well, interesting. That's really interesting. That's the fun thing is to see these technology improve this all the way around. And I think it's that moment that probably, scientists were coming together to think," How do we leverage innovations in technology to improve the quality of folks' lives?" And this might be one way that we can get more moisture in the air for health and more moisture in the earth. And so, it's really interesting.
Tina Gugani: Yeah. And if you think about it on a really grand scheme, it is actually a risk mitigation. It's a water shortage that has been-
Megan Phee: There you go.
Tina Gugani: Mitigated.
Megan Phee: Mitigation strategy. I love it, Tina. Well, thank you, Tina. That was such a great conversation. And thank you for joining us in another episode of GRC& Me. So for those listening and watching at home or wherever you are, to learn more about LogicGate, visit logicgate. com. And to learn more about Tina and the work that she does visit.
Tina Gugani: Proxis.me.
Megan Phee: The links will be posted in the notes below this podcast. And thank you again for listening. To learn more about LogicGate and continue the conversation, visit agility. logicgate. com. To join us at our GRC user conference in Downtown Chicago, September 22nd and 23rd at the Swiss Hotel or virtually. And we hope to see you there. Till next time, this is Megan Phee with GRC& Me.
Making things easier and less paper-bound through digital technology is a top priority for many organizations, especially when it comes to their GRC initiatives. In this episode, LogicGate’s Megan Phee is in London with UAE-based Proxis founder and managing director, Tina Chugani. Join us as Megan and Tina talk about the concept of process digitalization and trends that Tina is seeing within her region. Plus, how technology is helping to make it rain in the desert. Learn more about Proxis at proxis.me