Communication Compliance: The Benefits of Salesforce Chatter

Even though the concept of compliance was born in the financial field, it is now a consideration across numerous industries and has impacted many aspects of our lives. Communication is, of course, a common need across the board. The way we communicate in our companies impacts our ability to meet compliance standards. We apply this mindset when working with all of our customers, like this spirits distributor that needed to create a platform to break barriers and enable their 18,000 employees to collaborate more effectively. 

Managing conversations properly (and the data those conversations produce), is as important as the compliance standards involved in those processes. If you are a Salesforce partner or use Salesforce in your company, you are one step ahead. With a secure platform, you can enhance your internal and external communication strategy and then, meet your compliance standards. Marc Benioff, CEO, and Chairman of Salesforce says: 

“Customers trust us to make them successful, deliver unwavering security, reliability, performance and compliance.” 

Compliance and trust through messaging

Notice that Marc Benioff includes Compliance in his perspective on how to conduct business and approach customers. Trust is Salesforce’s number one value. This vision ensures two crucial benefits for any business. First, every product designed by Salesforce is intended to create reliable relations with customers. It’s not only about sales, it’s about relationships. And second, all of your data is stored and archived safely, so you can access it any time for compliance purposes. 

Chatter, the Salesforce messaging platform for business, also follows compliance regulations to ensure your data and activity are safe. According to Bloomberg Vault, Chatter is also a social media platform, so “it is subject to the same set of regulatory requirements as any other form of social media”. We have helped many customers enhance their communication platforms; these experiences have taught us many good practices to communicate and comply efficiently. 

1. Keep all your data archived in Salesforce

First, what is the golden rule we need to take into consideration? Archive everything! Make sure you archive all your conversations or posts in your org. It is recommended you preserve this data for e-discovery purposes for a period of time defined by various retention requirements. Some day, you may be required to hand over this information for corporate internal audits or even legal or governmental requests. For more information about this, you may want to go over our other article as a starting point: Financial Compliance: Which Agencies?.

2. Make Chatter part of everything

Also remember, as you are using Chatter, you are creating or linking many items related to confidential information such as records, accounts, cases, and more. This information already lives in your Salesforce org, so you’re not moving data to external systems. With everything connected, Chatter and Salesforce remain the center of your workflow, helping you manage compliance more consistently.

3. Involve every employee

Compliance in communication involves employees. Why? Hackers are targeting them. Make sure you train your employees to move all important conversations to Chatter. Email opens the possibility that an employee may respond to a phishing attack, exposing protected data. If you maintain all-important internal conversations in Chatter, you are better able to ensure their safety. You can see in this article why you should be interested in maintaining your employees as security allies.

4. Choose the best team messaging tool

At Oktana, we are committed to compliance and we took it seriously when we built Tok. Tok is a real-time messaging app that boosts Chatter capabilities while also encouraging a great company culture with casual conversation. Because Tok leverages Chatter as its base, it takes advantage of the Salesforce platform to better enable your company to meet compliance standards. While collaborating, you can be confident any data shared on Tok is stored safely according to the compliance standards you’ve set for your Salesforce org. 

So, let trust lead the path to better compliance practices and communication management across your company. Remember, the online world brings many resources to make businesses go faster. However, it has also become a common target for cyber attacks. Take the time to set a strong compliance strategy and keep updated on the regulations that impact your business.

Tok 30 day trial Financial Compliance
Communication Compliance - Tok

Financial Compliance: Which regulations must be considered?

Why is compliance so important? It minimizes risks and creates trust among industries, governments, and people. This sounds like a no brainer, but the challenge is figuring out which compliance standards fit your business. One mistake could cause huge debts and lawsuits. This issue is particularly serious for the financial sector, which has legal and operational standards that are the bedrock of compliance management. Since banking is a pioneer in compliance management, we are going to take a deeper look at the regulations they must follow. 

Financial Compliance and law framework

Over the years, the world has become more connected and tons of data is processed, shared, and stored through the digital ecosystem. The internet has become a necessary resource, but a good threat opportunity for theft and hackers. In an attempt to minimize risk, public and private institutions have created norms and regulations to ensure data safety. So, which are the main compliance regulations that businesses located in the financial field must consider? We have highlighted the most important laws that impact the financial market. 

  • The Dodd-Frank Act [2]: Was passed by the US Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2010. It aims to enhance the way the financial market is deploying accountability, transparency, and consumer protection procedures. This act enforces the need of storing records for every transaction. The thing organizations sometimes miss is that any activity related to trade must be stored as well. This includes electronic communication such as emails, chats, voice messages, and so on. 
  • Bank Secrecy Act (BSA AML) [2]: Also known as the Anti-Money Laundering Act, this act was created in 1970 and requires every company to cooperate with the US government in the aim of detecting money laundering. Thanks to the BSA-AML act, we all need to provide data under request. Since this regulation has been in the market for more than 50 years, you might be familiar with it. If not, you should know it emphasizes the importance of keeping your data storage. What else do you need to do? This act requires companies to delegate compliance responsibilities to an individual and also create a training program for appropriate personnel regarding compliance standards. 
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Signed into law in 2002 to strengthen financial regulations. In the beginning, businesses didn’t take it well, but eventually, it contributed to counteract the effect of the economic crisis in 2008. This act raised the standards given for audit reports, but this is something we all can expect with a new act. What is new? SOX also gave legal protection to whistleblowers to testify in court about any illegal practices they are aware of without any retaliation. Be sure to train your employees to identify any practice that infringes on compliance in your business. You have a good opportunity to make them allies.

Consumers in the centre of compliance

As consumers are becoming more important, they are also protected by compliance regulations that companies need to follow. Data privacy and accessibility are just one of the areas you need to nurture. 

  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): Requires financial institutions to explain to customers their information-sharing practices and to safeguard consumer information. To ensure the correct execution of this, companies must establish a security program that protects consumers’ nonpublic personal information (NPI). NPI includes name, address, income, Social Security number, account numbers, payment history, loan or deposit balances, credit or debit card purchases, court records, and consumer reports.
  • Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act: FACTA, signed into law in 2003, enforces consumer power by enhancing procedures to ensure the accuracy of their credit records. With FACTA, consumers have the right to ask for a credit report each year. This act also provides resources to prevent crimes such as identity theft. 

Data is important for compliance purposes. As we recommended to one of our financial customers: If you are using Salesforce, integrate your system and take advantage of all the resources you have (Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics, Einstein AI, and more). You will build close relationships with your customers while meeting your compliance standards. Also, don’t forget your employees. Make sure your chat software makes them more efficient while keeping your data safe. 

Tok 30 day trial Financial Compliance
Financial Compliance

Don’t let possible solutions force you to solve the wrong problem

If you’re like many organizations, you’re so focused on finding or building the right “solution” that you probably aren’t solving the right problem. You may be thinking, “but you specialize in building custom solutions for the Salesforce Platform, why would you say something like that?” The truth is, we prefer partnering with companies to solve the right problems. Partnering with an organization to build a solution, without having determined what needs and problems must be addressed, guarantees that no matter how amazing the product we deliver is, it won’t be successful because it doesn’t make our partners successful. Our business analysts spend significant time helping our clients, but if a client comes to us already too far down the path of trying to “find the right solution,” the last thing they want to hear is “you’re chasing the wrong problem.”

Understand the Need

You can avoid solving the wrong problem by making sure you know the underlying needs. Understanding customer needs can be challenging, we get it. If it was easy, many more companies would be on the list of “innovators” that are changing markets around the world. Even Strategyn, a company that focuses on innovation strategy, says that 95% of companies can’t agree on what a customer ‘need’ is. Strategyn has found that almost all companies don’t have an agreement on what a “need” is. It’s not that these companies disagree on what the customer needs are, they don’t agree on what a customer need is. Whether your customers are internal (you’re building apps for your fellow employees) or external (you’re going to revolutionize the world with your new app), start by ensuring you have an agreement within your organization on how you’re going to define customer needs. 

The process you use to get to the heart of those needs can vary. Some organizations, like Salesforce, use an established approach to innovation that they share publicly (see Innovate the Salesforce Way.) You could take “jobs to be done” perspective or use traditional approaches like market research, gap analysis, SWOT analysis, etc.  Also, you could review existing information available to you, like feedback from customers or employees, financial trends, emerging themes, etc. You could even start by looking at your high-level business objectives and asking yourself a few key questions:

  • What is the potential threat or opportunity?
  • Which stakeholders within the organization should be consulted?
  • What’s the desired outcome?
  • Who benefits?

The key here is to ensure you uncover the challenge or opportunity, that way you avoid solving the wrong problem. You’re still too early in the process to start thinking about solutions. If you’ve already started, stop yourself. Coming up with ideas might be fun, but applying solutions now only limits you.

Identify the Problem

If your organization is like many we’ve seen, the business needs you’ve identified could lead to a large number of potential projects.  At this point you need to identify which problem you’re going to address. Get more than one perspective on it and dig deep. You don’t want to limit your view based on your own biases and you want to be sure you’re addressing the root cause of the problem. Putting considerable time and energy into your work to address only a symptom of the larger problem doesn’t give you the relief you need, and likely won’t help your career.

Ask yourself a few questions about the problem you’ve identified:

  • What makes this problem significant?
  • Who is impacted?
  • Have others tried to solve this problem before?

Make sure you understand your customer (or those impacted by the problem). This will better position you to solve it and avoid the wrong problem. There are many approaches to gathering customer requirements. Salesforce calls their process Innovation Customer Discovery. It includes embodying, shadowing, and interviewing to create customer archetypes. Then they create a futurecast to create a compelling argument or case for change. You could also take a more traditional approach like this advice from the Project Management Institute blog, with facilitated sessions or one-on-one discussions with stakeholders. If your organization is more agile, you could focus on capturing user stories. Take the approach most appropriate for your organization, but be sure you dig as deeply as possible.

“Get in the customer mindset and ‘wear their shoes’ to fully understand their needs. Take the time to familiarize yourself with processes and once you accomplish that, then start focusing on the solution.” 

Analia G., Business Analyst

It’s in your best interest to spend more time on this part of the process than you probably expect. Clearly defining the problem you want to tackle saves time and energy further along in your work. But again, don’t think about the problem in terms of potential solutions yet.

Scope The Challenge

Every project comes with some level of uncertainty and ambiguity, which has the potential to derail your project. It’s time to take all the work you’ve done so far to understand the needs, the problem, and the customer, and to create more structure to ensure your project’s success.

  • Write everything down: Make sure you’ve written down the need, problem, and customer requirements, and what success looks like. Keep track of any assumptions you’ve made in this process.
  • Define success: Determine what success looks like. The more clearly you can quantify success, the better. It helps you establish how any potential solutions will be measured
  • Identify your stakeholders: Now that you have a better understanding of what you need to solve, pull together your dream team. Bring in people with different backgrounds and experiences, it will help you find new and creative ways to solve the problem.
  • Know your limits: Think about the solution from an internal and an external perspective. What do you have control over? For example, if your challenge is with how customers engage with your sales team. You have far more control over your sales team and their tools and processes than you ever will with the behavior of any specific customer. Focus on the things you can control and keep track of any assumptions you make.

Now that you have a better foundation to work from, it’s time to focus on brainstorming possible ways to solve the problem. Maybe you’ll find you can get the most out of a process change. Like buying new software, or custom developing your own app. Use the materials you’ve created to give yourself a benchmark for measuring all possible solutions. You’ll always have to balance time, money, and scope. At least now you have the right tools to make good choices. Let us know what you decide.

Our team has worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.