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An Overview Of Streamlining The Compliance Process

David Thompson, Chief Information & Technology Officer, American Express Global Business Travel

David Thompson is an award winning CIO/CTO and respected technology leader with a wealth of expertise driving continuous improvement, business transformation and innovation through technological advancement and end-to-end process enablement. In an interview with CIOReview, Thompson discusses how compliance organizations have to embrace new technologies and be able to retain focus on the changes needed in their operating model, technology, and their data.


American express global business travel has some client requirements based on the countries that we operate. In the travel industry—like in most other industries—striking a balance between the compliance and the cost for the operations and what we need to deliver to our clients is one of the ongoing challenges. So finding ways to handle compliance in a cost effective manner is of the challenges. In our industry we are seeing more and more consolidation of various travel companies and on the entities they are acquiring and finding ways to rapidly integrate that acquired entity. This applies to many industries that might be consolidating their high growth industries and acquiring new additional revenue. So building a complaint program and technology so that you can rapidly integrate and have an integration model for compliance is important. And as new regulations have started to come up, the bar has been raised significantly, and understanding how your data is used inside your corporation, how you can manage that data and then meet the compliance requirements of GDPR, is a tremendous amount of work. To accomplish that you have to have a good data mapping in your organization and better control over your data, and this is a challenge.


One of the things that I am seeing in the technological trends is additional sources of data or compliance and solutions that can help you manage compliance. There are many tools to take care of automated data mapping. Scanning your infrastructure for data assets and then providing data mapping have proven to be of great help. We are also seeing technologies specifically geared towards compliance checks, making sure you can meet requirements. Those technologies are also coming in the market with strong API technology so that we can plug-and-play capabilities in our infrastructure at various points where we need to check a transaction or traveler or ticketing process.


  As a CTO you have to set the tone to your team such that compliance is a top priority for the company   



Another factor is fraud prevention. We are seeing many new capabilities coming up in the market as to prevent fraud in our infrastructure and providing data sets around known fraudulent individuals that are perpetrating fraud monitoring that individual monitoring. So these products coming to market as we stitch them together into acompliance solution  helps us versus having to build them from scratch. So this industry is growing and the new capabilities are coming to bear. One thing we have to keep in mind is we're a large scale global company in some of the smaller firms that are coming to market and they have great ambitions. But at times I have to look for solutions that are enterprise class and scale because I can't attach to a service or use any API that can't handle our volumes or can't handle peak volumes when we have millions in transactions coming through our systems. And so it puts more burdens on my technical team to understand these compliance solutions that come to market ensuring they can scale that can meet our needs but also fit into our overall architecture roadmap.


One of our biggest investments is our digital presence with our clients. We've completely revamped how we interface with our clients with new digital portal, mobile applications, and omni-channel experience so that clients can reach us via telephone, chat, email etc. So we want our clients to have all of those channels available in a state of the art digital platform that is now available in the marketplace. We're seeing significant uptake by our clients and also are getting positive feedback on these new investments we've made.

For instance, our new online booking tool capability that allows our clients to do online booking on mobile application. With these new capabilities as our clients are on the go meeting with their 

clients they're able to use these technologies to keep the pace that they need to interface with us on travel changes extensions of their travel and communicating directly with our travel team whether on the road. When there's a disruption potentially in travel either based on a storm or whatever we have been deploying technologies that are proactive. We call it proactive traveler care where we're using technology to predict potential problems in the travelers’ journey. And if we see a disruption say in a carrier or a disruption in a region because of storms or some other disruptions, we reach out to our travelers through automation giving them options. And so, we are constantly trying to get ahead using technologies that we've deployed that are constantly monitoring the state of travel infrastructure and regions, interfacing with our clients electronically to give them options. And that's exciting for me to start to use technology to predict problems and then get ahead of it and interface with our clients.

In our industry big corporations spend a lot of money on travel and meetings and events so we help our clients with expense management. The tools that we use are in our data management platform are giving them insights into their program and giving them ways to adjust their travel program to optimize their spend so they can still meet their clients but then being in highly optimized state.

Also from a product perspective we've been building service oriented architecture and in doing that we have the ability to bring products online and offline for specific clients. Configure specifically for a client based on their means but also engaging third parties in that may need travel capabilities or some of our components. So we have an enterprise integration framework which allows us to connect to service providers, carriers, compliance entities and so that integration framework and our service oriented architecture is allowed us to be flexible but also nimble and responding to changes in our industry.

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