Rules and Regulations

Helping businesses understand evolving compliance issues and regulatory practices

Employers have numerous responsibilities, from protecting the health and safety of employees in the workplace and providing environmentally friendly surroundings, to preventing discrimination or harassment and managing internal accounting and financial procedures. To help understand the evolving nature of compliance issues and regulatory practices, businesses have been turning to MetricStream, a privately held enterprise software company based in Redwood Shores, California.

MetricStream offers industry-specific solutions to critical business factors such as governance, risk, compliance, and quality management. “Compliance is becoming a much bigger topic with higher visibility within corporations because the risks of noncompliance have increased dramatically,” says CEO Shellye Archambeau. “Companies need to ensure that they are in compliance, [and] that their people understand what compliance means.”

A highly visible world means that mistakes that lead to noncompliance aren’t just transparent–they can also become costly. If industry-wide regulatory bodies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are, in fact, changing rules or updating mandating practices, industry experts say it’s up to the business community to understand how those rules change the nature of bringing products to the marketplace arena.

MetricStream’s revenue grew by 70% in 2007 due in part to an active market as well as the company’s unique approach to providing solutions, Archambeau says. Instead of a patchwork process where businesses would have to use multiple point solutions to cover all the necessary compliance elements, MetricStream integrates its software solutions to provide multi-regulatory support. On the MetricStream Website (www.metricstream.com), there are a range of products to help companies close the gap between understanding current compliance issues and regulations to actual implementation of solutions within their respective organizations and industries.

A MetricStream Web portal that was launched in 2006 is ComplianceOnline.com, which targets compliance professionals. “We were providing solutions to our customers in the marketplace,” Archambeau says, “but the question we weren’t answering was: What do I need to comply with, and what are the best practices? How are things changing?…It wasn’t that easy to find that stuff out.”

If a company was unsure of the latest compliance and regulatory standards, then it would have an extremely hard time locating a concrete solution. “We launched ComplianceOnline.com as a portal that basically aggregated information around the world of compliance,” Archambeau says. “Now compliance professionals had one place to go and [ask,] “What are the regulatory agencies and bodies saying, what are the best practices, what are the best views, what are the different interpretations?’”

In addition to providing compliance focused news and resources, the portal also features scheduled, interactive Webinars that compliance executives can attend without leaving their office space, which effectively cuts costs and increases efficiency. The portal enables MetricStream to become a one-stop shop for compliance content, training, and software-based solutions.

This past March on the Website for example, compliance officers could sign up for the “Ethics and Compliance in Government Contracting” or “Introduction to Internal Auditing” classes. Users are able to browse through the regulatory categories of the Website’s online store for additional materials for purchase. The site also

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