The Friday Interview: Martin Murphy, HP

9 Feb 2007

This week’s interviewee is Martin Murphy (pictured), general manager of HP in Ireland.

How much are Irish companies spending on compliance and regulation?

One in 10 companies is now spending 70pc of its budget on compliance. More than 40pc are spending one third of their IT budget on Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and Basel II compliance.

In 2006, Gartner reckons that 10-15pc of the overall IT budget of businesses was spent on compliance compared with 5pc in 2004.

How would you describe the Irish business world’s approach to compliance?

The Irish business world’s approach to compliance is currently unsustainable. It tends to be process driven rather than results driven. As a result, companies are finding dealing with compliance to be time consuming and cumbersome.

Is there a divide between small companies and large companies on the issue?

Yes. Large corporate companies in Ireland are investing heavily in compliance but companies further down the line in terms of scale see compliance as a burden rather than something that actually can add value.

How can Irish companies overcome the burden of compliance?

At present senior management in companies’ understanding of the role IT can play in compliance remains limited. Any company operating in Ireland with revenues exceeding ?25m will have compliance.

It’s not just for the big guys in corporate life; it impacts on small and medium-sized firms as well, especially if they are aiming at a global market.

What’s your advice to managers struggling with a compliance dilemma?

There is no point spending money just to be compliant. That means it becomes an overhead.

Compliance should actually be engineered to deliver cost savings for your business as well. A good strategy should be driven by the board and the CEO down the chain.

How many small and medium-sized firms see compliance as relevant?

The recent report of the Government-backed Small Business Forum found that 23pc of small and medium-sized firms in Ireland saw compliance as significant.

There was a fear factor caused by the lack of clarity of what compliance means and many saw it as something just for the big guys of business, which is not the case.

Could being compliant make the difference between winning new business or losing it?

Certainly. Most companies are now working in an international environment, seeking to expand markets and horizons. Compliance with international regulations is vital.

By John Kennedy

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