You’ve heard the old saying, “Use it or lose it.” Well, every week I am reminded of this saying. Like most people, I spend my Sundays getting everything in order for the week. One of my most exciting tasks is going grocery shopping. I put forth a lot of effort in planning my meals for the week and making out a perfectly-planned a grocery list. Before you know it, the week is over and I’ve used less than half my groceries because I chose to go out to lunch with co-workers or friends, which sounded way more appetizing than what my groceries had to offer. My groceries were perfectly good (at least, they were when I bought them), it was just a matter of when (and if) I chose to use them.
I tell that story to make an analogy to this: ethics and compliance data, i.e. data that is gathered from hotline reporting systems and the peripheral applications. Data is like my groceries; it’s is only good as long as you actually use it, otherwise it’ll go bad. Trend analysis, comparison charting, cross-functional reporting: these are all things that organizations must monitor, measure and proactively manage to stay on top of their risk quotient.
The challenge comes in analyzing the data in a way that is meaningful and actionable, in how the numbers are “sliced and diced” – similar to how well you “slice and dice” your groceries to make them appetizing and useful. It can be summed up in one word: context. That is, putting the data into context and presenting it via a report, a dashboard or a more interactive viewer so that is can be utilized. It can’t be just left sitting in the fridge untouched. You know you should be consuming it, and using it to energize your organization’s ethical standing.