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Report: CECOs struggle with outdated technology, siloed data

A new survey found that Chief Compliance and Ethics Officers are struggling to effectively aggregate and analyze data due in part to outdated technology and a lack of available tools at their disposal.

The 2017 Ethics and Compliance Survey engaged more than 335 business ethics leaders across the United States and abroad.

The report, released this week by the Ethisphere Institute and compliance services firm Convercent, found that respondents use up to ten different systems to collect and quantify data. But just 7 percent are connected through automated feeds.

Seventy-four percent said they use email mainly to collaborate and share data, which could result in a cumbersome process.

According to Ethisphere’s Erica Salmon Byrne, EVP and Executive Director, Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA), the 2017 survey reveals several key issues facing ethics professionals including outdated technology and ineffective processes. At the same time, the survey highlights how companies can address challenges related to developing and executing meaningful ethics programs through greater data analysis, assigning meaningful metrics, and conducting efficient communication.

“We have come so far over the course of the last decade, in terms of the data — the actual data that is available to companies,” said Byrne. “We’re starting to see data about employee turnover, employee culture and productivity, but we’re not 100 percent there yet because As the report points out, Most CECOs are forced to gather siloed data from multiple departments and that’s an issue we’ve got to solve as a community.”

Kimberly-Clark Corp, for example, an Ethisphere BELA member highlighted in the report that the company uses data to inform its ethics and compliance program KPIs. In turn, this allows the Texas-based company to identify trends and issues that can be addressed more quickly.

“The survey illuminates the toughest challenges, biggest opportunities, and evolving technologies for companies working to establish programs oriented around proactivity and doing the right thing,” said Patrick Quinlan, CEO and Co-Founder of Convercent.

Among the survey’s findings, other highlights include:

  • Why Tapping Into the “Voice of the Employee” is Critical: Effective intake methods are critical for gaining insight into the ethical health of an organization. Prioritizing what employees communicate and also how they communicate is crucial. Nearly 73 percent of employees in Ethisphere’s overall culture data set say they raise concerns with their manager; however many respondents admitted they do not track open door reports. This indicates many organizations are missing out on critical insights into the health of the organization.
  • Proof CECOs are Taking a Seat at the Table: This year’s survey found ethics and compliance professionals are getting more access to CEOs than ever before. Forty-seven percent said they speak with their CEOs more than once a month. And nearly half (44 percent) say they report regularly to the board. This is a positive indicator that top-line leadership is increasingly recognizing compliance and ethics as critical business differentiators. 

 Click here to download the full report.


Aarti Maharaj, pictured above, is a contributing editor of the FCPA Blog. She’s the Executive Editor and Director of Communications at Ethisphere. She can be contacted here.

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