ACL™ Re­vo­lu­tion in Frank­furt - in re­tro­spect

On February 24 ACL™ hosted an event in Frankfurt to offer insight into vision and strategy plus a look at concrete product innovations. ACL™ was represented by Sean Zuberbier, vice president of Global Sales & Services, together with Dan Zitting, vice president of Product Management & Design.

The event was very well attended, doubtlessly due in no small part to the changes that ACL™ products – and thus customers too – experienced in recent months. In his kick-off presentation Sean Zuberbier emphasized how ACL™ is working to unleash its vision of "a world where audit, risk and compliance professionals are an organization's most sought-after people ". Enormous alterations have gone across the board: 75% of staff are new or newly promoted, investment in research and development doubled to expand the portfolio with new products like ACL™ GRC, but core products like ACL™ Analytics and ACL™ Analytic Exchange too have maintained a high level of excellence. In 2011 Workpapers.com was acquired, a complete audit platform, and in 2013 the ACL™ Asia site was established, likewise an acquisition. These efforts are bearing fruit: A customer net promoter score of 46% (compared to an industry average of under 10%!) plus a support and subscription renewal rate of 95% attest that ACL™ is pursuing the right course.

ACL™ Revolution - Introduction

After the groundwork was laid for the topics to follow, Dan Zitting took the floor with a speech enlightened by many practical elements. He showed new visualization possibilities offered by ACL™, as well as the functionality that sets up on the ACL™ GRC platform. Personally what I found particularly exciting – in addition to the possibility of defining risks on a global level, planning projects or managing document versions for your work papers – was that human analytics will in future also play a role in ACL™. Integration of self-assessment approaches or financial review by questionnaires that can then be factored in data analyses show what possibilities the new software products, or new features of existing products, have to offer.

From the customer side too, we heard comments on the innovations. Marc Gittler of Deutsche Post told of his initial impressions of the new ACL™ AN version 11. For me, this presentation showed that both the "visionary" follow-on developments impact as well as improvements on a technical plane. In concrete terms we heard of the new possibilities of script development like the HASH() function, highly suitable for pseudonymization, and thus meeting demands for data privacy. We also heard praise for possibilities of applying regular expressions by REGEXFIND() and REGEXREPLACE(). Improved performance for large quantities of data, but also the new overall package like online ScriptHub with ready defined analysis, properly round off the product spectrum, reckons Gittler. He also came up directly with suggestions for improvement, such as the wish for more intelligent support in the instruction syntax in script, or being able to execute ACL™ apps by a runtime version without installing an ACL™ version.

The afternoon session hit off with an international guest, Jóhanna María Einarsdóttir, internal audit director of Promens, speaking of her successful story with ACL™ GRC. The possibility of having a GRC solution without overkill – technically and in terms of customizing – plus giving good usability generated much interest in the audience. Working ACL™ GRC on an iPad without needing to click into the Internet also came across well. Simple checking out of work papers enables you to take care of chores during a flight or hotel stopover, especially the intensive kind of audits that would otherwise pile up for when you get back to base.

One of my personal highlights was the concluding panel discussion, in which ACL™ users from a variety of sectors shared their best-practice approaches. Anke Giegandt, data analyst/ACDA at BSH Hausgeraete, Florian Niedermair, head of the loan division of Fidor Bank, and Marcel Polman, head of internal auditing at Festo were valuable contributions to the event. The session was moderated by my business manager colleague Martin Riedl. One of the things I learnt from this was the large degree of flexibility that ACL™ software gives me. It supports customers in entirely different sectors in matters of data analytics.

The panel discussion

The question reflected in the ACL™ vision, to what extent the participants in the discussion already became much sought-after people in their organization, illustrated how much value added is generated by including operative divisions and sharing analysis results with them, and that this stimulates the appetite for more. The immense quality enhancement was emphasized by starting an audit with ready generated results, especially if these results base on 100% of the data, and not just a small sampling.

Concluding, the "ACL™ revolution" was a well-made and coherent event, not just of a purely marketing nature but also giving participants proper insight into the way ACL™ is going. There was also an opportunity of discussing suggestions for improvement and technical challenges there and then with the senior leadership team. It was good to see ACL™ taking up direct contact with the users by such an event, but also how our customers can vitalize the strengths of the German ACL™ community by recounting their success and experience. For no small reason, seen globally, Germany is a major market for ACL™.


For any comments on that article, feel free to write us at info@dab-gmbh.de. To contact the author you can also use LinkedIn or XING (you may have to login first before you can access these links).

LinkedIn: http://de.linkedin.com/pub/stefan-wenig/54/1b8/b30

XING: https://www.xing.com/profile/Stefan_Wenig2?sc_o=mxb_p

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