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Disruptive Technology

We are constantly being told that new technologies are going to disrupt business as we know it. We have been told that block chain technology is going to fundamentally change how we account for and conduct transactions. We have been told that artificial intelligence and machine learning are going to drastically reduce our workforce. The list of what we are being told about the next new thing is growing each day! How do we stay ahead of this and not let it run us over?

Your friends at YHB are facing these issues as well. We are not only thinking about the technologies that could impact our work but what technologies impact our clients. When our clients begin rolling out automated controls that include machine learning, how do we audit that? What technologies can we use to make our clients’ experience better? 

Here are 5 steps to consider as you look at new technologies:

  1. Understand: Put together a group of your most ‘change ready’ people to meet and evaluate new technology or processes. YHB has an Innovation Committee to help us be an innovative leader in our industry. We are working to make good decisions about new ways of doing things. Work towards building a culture of innovation and acceptance of change.
  2. Plan: Thoroughly evaluate an interesting technology and be honest about your capabilities to implement. In order to implement robotic-type technologies consistent processes must be in place so look at what you do and see if it is repeatable and consistent across the company. Make sure that someone plays the ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and truly challenge new approaches. It is best to consider the negative during the planning stages.
  3. Test: Find a solution and roll it out in a small way first. If you can, run it parallel to the current process or in a Sandbox. You may consider a certain department or one process to automate or introduce a new technology.
  4. Implement: If it works in a small way, roll it out in a bigger way! Get people excited about the new technology. People resist change until they see a positive impact of the change.
  5. Evaluate: This isn’t really the last step… You need to be evaluating at every step of the process. Don’t be afraid of saying, “this didn’t work as well as we thought”. Remember what Thomas Edison said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!

One other thing to consider: There are going to be people that are fundamentally impacted by any new process or technology. Don’t ignore their input! First, they know how it is supposed to work. Second, you will most likely fail if they set their mind to it. And lastly, it may be considered a threat to their job. Engage them early in the process and make sure they understand how it will impact them and get their buy-in and cooperation.

Change is coming! It always has been and always will be. There is a lot of really great new technologies that we just can’t ignore so don’t let the train pass by! Get a ticket and get on board!


curtis-thompsonThroughout his time at YHB Curtis has provided IT audit and consulting to clients, even while holding the position of the firm’s IT director for several years. Now, as head of the YHB Risk Advisory Services Team, Curtis focuses on assisting organizations in a variety of industries with internal audits and IT-related audit and consulting services. Also, he frequently speaks and gives presentations on SOX compliance, internal controls, and data security.