By: Moe Goswami, CEO and Will Fitzgerald, Director of Products, AINS
This article is part of a series on solution areas for the eCase digital process automation platform and was originally published on LinkedIn. You can read the original article here.
The COVID-19 pandemic perpetuated new questions of government oversight, from managing federal stimulus to better preparing for and mitigating “systemic risks” such as pandemics, climate change, and global recessions. But among these new challenges, the goal to maintain the “values, ethics, and integrity” of both government and commercial organizations will lead inspectors general (IGs) to find more effective ways to prevent, identify, and resolve instances of government fraud, waste, and abuse. Reliance on legacy siloed systems and emails to manage audit and investigations processes bottlenecks procedure and prevents effective oversight. Critical to the success of offices of inspectors general (OIGs), an enterprise solution architecture through low-code can consolidate OIG processes and eliminate the need for legacy practices such as emails within a secure, role-based environment.
Smart and effective digital automation is essential for robust governance, risk, and compliance operations. Investigators and auditors are under consistent pressure to complete cases and projects in a timely and cooperative manner, while being thorough in their investigation or audit in order to prove that damages or a crime took place, or conversely to successfully find issues and report on corrective actions in order to assist the agency with implementing better business practices. Additionally, the volume of complaints some agencies receive necessitates document support to reduce the wasteful work of sifting through thousands of pages of documentation. For investigators acting in a more reactive capacity, a robust system of tools can prove that they have done a thorough job in determining that something was worthy of a criminal, civil, or administrative response. For auditors who are working in proactive manner to complete more audits and determine if the agency is doing enough through policies, procedures, and separation of powers to prevent fraud, waste and abuse, automation is key to streamlining processes—especially communication with program offices.
Low-code tools like eCase Audit and eCase Investigations enhance productivity and ultimately help OIGs to meet operational goals more effectively. The process of configuring a commercial-off-the-shelf product to automate governance, risk, and compliance saves OIGs valuable time and resources that were previously spent on repeated data entry. As the operations of agency program offices trend towards digitization, the integrative possibilities of a low-code solution cannot be overlooked. Within a low-code platform, the process is automated at the click of a button so that investigators and auditors do not need to wait for someone to bring them a document or send them an email to route a workflow. Gone are the days of missing documents and chasing down program officials for correspondence—that information can be provided within the system. Automated processes can be tracked, allowing auditors and investigators better end-to-end data insights and significantly increasing the amount of time they can spend on their real jobs. And in the future, as the production of digital information continues to increase, integration to external systems that are key to audit operations such as contracts, finance, HR, and more can be securely leveraged along with automated tools like eDiscovery and AI to support IG decision-making and help to reduce the workload of document search and discovery in the overall audit process.
Because OIGs are under constant pressure to enforce oversight, accountability, and transparency, they must act as leaders for these principles. Compliance and security are among the biggest concerns for OIGs, and any working systems and processes must maintain the highest standards for accountability. Legacy siloed systems and processes such as emails pose compliance risks when repeated messages, email chains, and attachments produce overwhelming quantities of digital information, including multiple versions of the same documents. When agencies are hit with lawsuits, audits, FOIA requests, and other legal inquiries, emails can create the type of risk OIGs are looking to avoid and mitigate.
Before the introduction of low-code platforms for OIGs, just changing a field name could take days. But low-code has enabled the configuration of a commercial-off-the-shelf product in days, with the workflows, procedure, document capabilities, and tracking and reporting capabilities to ensure compliance with regulations and best practices, as well as enterprise transparency and accountability. Through eCase’s platform-level role-based security, the OIG and agency program offices can leverage a single platform for completing engagements and resolving corrective actions from those engagements. Meanwhile, the configuration capabilities of eCase Audit and eCase Investigations enable trusted access ensuring that agency users can only access resolution data that is specifically made available to them. Doing so allows OIGs to send issues and recommendations to agency stakeholders, allowing them to work collaboratively and seamlessly in implementing corrective actions. Within eCase, for example, auditors can automatically import completed projects to resolution modules and enable collaborative work on planning and corrective actions.
As an enterprise architecture, eCase Audit and eCase Investigations eliminate all other applications investigators and auditors once thought were critical to their jobs. The web-based nature of eCase apps makes them available and accessible from any place and any device. The tools and modules are integrated to provide a full end-to-end solution that eliminates the need for third-party apps. A single interface and platform for running enterprise performance metrics allows executives to gather performance data in one place, rather than using disparate systems to pull data across multiple apps. The reporting process is made more transparent, efficient, and streamlined when all data required for reporting is available in a single system.
eCase tools are more thorough, reliable, and flexible than those of other low-code platforms, while the pricing is competitive with market rates. Within eCase, users can track time, track inventory, and maintain evidence within the secure parameters of their office’s digital environment. Because eCase governance, risk, and compliance tools are specifically made for OIGs, they are easy to use and understand, ultimately providing IGs, auditors, and investigators with better end-to-end data insights and significantly increasing the amount of time they can spend on their real jobs.