April 2010 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Global Trade Compliance: See it All, Know it All

Tags: Logistics I.T., Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Tom Barnes is CEO, Integration Point Inc. 704-576-3678

Q: What do you see as the key changes on the horizon in managing regulatory compliance globally?

Barnes: As different countries implement both security and trade-led initiatives around the world, it is critical to improve global regulatory knowledge and visibility. Global trade is growing and so are the associated regulations. The only way for regulatory agencies to keep up with the volume is through automation. Not only is this creating a need for companies to obtain data in an accelerated manner, but they must also ensure that the information is accurate.

As regulatory agencies obtain data versus paper, their ability to verify information accuracy improves. Now companies have the combined responsibility of enabling the exchange of data as well as ensuring its accuracy. Accuracy wasn't as important when data was on a piece of paper that might not ever be reviewed in detail.

In light of this, organizations are promoting compliance managers to a role of regional or global responsibility. In order to perform in this capacity, compliance managers must have visibility of what is happening in every country where they operate, as well as the knowledge of regulatory requirements specific to each country with which they trade.

Q: Integration Point offers its solutions via a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. What is the advantage of this delivery model versus installing software behind the firewall?

Barnes: If you attempt to install capabilities requiring constant regulatory updates as well as connectivity management with entities across the world, you will keep your IT department busy. In the old days you could wait until your goods arrived at the port, print a few pieces of paper, and the shipment would be released. If your system was down, you could type something up as a backup. With the current requirement of data interfaces provided in advance of imports and exports, you cannot afford for that connectivity to be down or your shipments will be delayed. Most companies want this managed by a provider in the business of ensuring this connectivity.

If you attempt to maintain connectivity and data exchange formats for every broker, freight forwarder, carrier, and regulatory agency that your company transacts with behind your firewall, it won't take long before your IT department tells you they are in the business of building or distributing things, not keeping up with the requirements of different governments and service providers.

Doesn't it make more sense to let your SaaS provider who specializes in trade compliance keep up with the changes? Then you can just access the information online knowing that it is being updated by someone who does that for their livelihood.