Could regulatory compliance be an IT competency?

Even if you feel that we have far too many regulations, there’s something to the idea that compliance should be done well

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Some people object to any and all forms of regulation. Back in February 1996, Grateful Deadlyricist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation John Perry Barlow published “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” in which he advocated self-regulating the Internet via individualized adherence to the golden rule of reciprocity (treat others as you would like to be treated).

Other people clamor for more regulation. They might be supporters of the USA Freedom Act who want to rein in the government’s collection and analysis of purportedly private communications, or they might be people who worry that the prone-to-excess financial sector will once again crater the economy.

Most people, though, view regulation as a necessary evil that adds cost, slows things down and reduces innovation. They concede the need for some regulation, but in general they think we already have too many rules.

In the business world, there are very few people who embrace, much less celebrate, regulation. My fraternity brother at Dartmouth, Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric and at one time the head of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, is worried that regulations are hurting the American economy.In GE’s annual letter to shareholders, Immelt has written that “the number of ‘major regulations’ — regulations with more than $100 million in impact — has exploded in the last few years.”

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