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Corruption and KPIs – a fresh challenge?

This last week I was invited by James Farrar to visit Transparency International along with Stephanie Rabbe, James Governor and Thomas Otter. James and I were introduced to provide independent views in the place of open content for organisations like TI. It was a great day and I have posted some of the highlights on my personal weblog. For those that don’t know, TI is one of the world’s leading NGOs tackling corruption. It is highly influential at government level, perhaps less so in business. There, I mentioned that:

SAP’s involvement? There are no standard business processes for managing issues around corruption. Working alongside NGOs like TI provides SAP with the necessary insights to do something about that and deliver to some of the world’s most important companies. Regardless of the commercial considerations, that has the potential to be win-win-win for everyone.

It strikes me there is a terrific opportunity for software vendors like SAP to both invent and become the de facto business process standards setters for tackling issues like corruption, bribery, money laundering and the like. These are unquestionably tough areas but think about the collaborations that might work. Government>financial services>industry verticals. The possibilities to not only reach but see action among some of the world’s most important organizations is truly mind boggling. 

Of course there are huge inherent risks and the potential for endless discussion that leads nowhere. That’s why I suggested to TI that they think of say three issues that a representative of issues requiring attention but whichare relatively easy to ‘chew upon.’

Thomas was of the view that creating documentation around a number of the issues discussed would not be aq big ask but I am more concerned about the control processes. Corporate CSR statements are full of intent and policy but where is the action? How might you discover for example if a supplier is exploiting child laboour or an oil company is paying kick backs to corrupt officials? What tools and mechansims could be put in place to surface the risks? What would the KPIs look like and how might they be both defined and constructed? I don’t have immediate answers but I see the challenge as worthwhile, fascinating and of long term commercial value.

I hope TI takes up the challenge of becoming more open. It has little to lose and everything to gain. SAP for its part could do a lot of good while developing highly differentiated and valuable tools for its customers.

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  • You raise some very thought provoking ideas here around conceivable collaboration models (Finance/Public Sector industries for example). I would hope that our public sector ecosystem which includes Special Interest Groups (SIGs) in the Americas User Groups (ASUG) also consider becoming active in defining KPIs in this area.  For structure and guidance, there might be some models of indicators on the GRI site that would serve as a good start point for consideration.  Having input from the wider community would be helpful as well.  I wonder if creating scenarios, with the help of TI, much like what Dick Hirsch and Owen Pettiford have created in the BPX Community project would be helpful in simulating the cross industry conversations.  Hopefully we can get Frauke to help us enage with industry specific subject experts as well.
    Was sorry to have missed this meeting (on acccount of Bangalore).  I heard it was fascinating.
    • Yes – it was a terrific day in many respects and one that gives me plenty to think about.

      This is very much the start of a process that I feel TI has to lead. They are in the ‘learning’ phase about what it means to be more open than they already are.

      There are numerous challenges on both sides, some of which I have alluded to in a more general piece at ZDN. See: