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Three Clear Takeaways from CLEAR 2017

Regulatory Agencies Are Grappling With Rapid Change

Jim MacLaggan's avatar

By: Jim MacLaggan

September 22, 2017 | RegulatoryEvents

CLEAR 2017

One hazard of attending the same industry events year after year is they can start to seem a lot alike. Not the  Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation’s (CLEAR's) Annual Education Conference. With a British Executive Director, Adam Parfitt, and board members from Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, and the U.S., CLEAR is more international and diverse than ever. And with more than 600 attendees in Denver this year, the annual conference is approaching “convention” proportions.

This year, I returned home with three “clear” takeaways:

1. Rapid Change Requires Strong Leadership

When things are going smoothly, being a good manager is enough. When times are changing, and rapidly, you need to be a good leader. Today’s regulatory executives need to be good leaders.

Regulatory agencies must meet rising expectations and uniquely reconcile competing interests from all sides. Applicants want their licenses, now. Complainants want justice, now. Legislatures and industries want either more or less regulation, now. Customers, millennials in particular, want to be able to tap their mobile device to get whatever they want, now.

It’s easy for executives to meet behind closed doors and make decisions. However, it’s important for leaders to consider the cultural and generational differences that inform how people process change, which sometimes means getting out of the way, and letting the doers and customers be part of the conversation. 

2. Yesterday's Options May Not Apply

One of the most popular panels at CLEAR this year used real-life news stories and court cases to look at trends regarding complaints, investigations, and hearings. Maybe it was the baseball theme (they even threw boxes of Cracker Jack from the podium), but the turnout was so large that the session was held in the keynote ballroom. Over 200 people poured in to see who, in nine “innings,” would hit a home run or strike out based on their decisions in various cases. Despite the fun, the message was clear: regulators’ options are surprisingly different today from what they were only a few years ago.

3. Move Forward or Fall Behind

When it comes to IT modernization, agency decision-makers know they should upgrade to newer systems with better security, interoperability, and flexibility, but are reluctant to do so. After years of customizing legacy software to meet their needs, agencies fear losing all that effort and “comfort” in migration.

That’s where leadership comes in. Most people don’t like change, especially when it involves learning something new. But executives must communicate that doing nothing means falling behind. Especially for umbrella agencies, moving to an enterprise platform makes good business sense. Common regulatory processes (and related non-core processes) can be managed much more efficiently on the back end, while the varied needs of individual customers, activities, and roles can be tailored on the front end. Additionally, being able to modify applications without relying on the vendor to change the source code means you're always up to date.

Keep the Conversation Going

Today’s regulatory agencies need strong leaders who recognize that changing norms require new approaches. Staying active in CLEAR year-round will help you keep pace with change. Upgrading your regulatory software to a flexible platform will help ensure that you don’t fall behind.

For more than two decades across 49 states, MicroPact has been deploying software to meet every regulatory challenge. To discuss the specific challenges your agency is facing, reach out and contact me.

About the Author

Jim leads the MicroPact Regulatory Enforcement & Licensing portfolio. He drives strategic direction and fosters business development opportunities, leveraging over 15 years leadership experience working with public sector agencies to identify the right COTS case management solutions for them.

Tyler Technologies is the largest and most established provider of integrated software and technology services focused on the public sector

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