But it has also been fascinating to hear how regulatory compliance has become a catalyst for positive change in business processes and governance, and how some companies are finding business value that goes beyond simply keeping the regulators happy and their CEOs out of jail. At Regions Financial, the CIO has created business information officers, who are assigned to specific business units to assist in collaborative business and IT planning. A BIO works directly with the company's compliance officer to ensure that deadlines are met and that the right systems are place.
Even though the CIO's sign-off isn't a requirement of Sarbox (yet), there's no denying the benefits of such a collaborative relationship and the power IT plays in these challenging regulatory times. Says Simon Lorne, vice chairman and chief legal officer at Millennium Partners and former general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission, "You are more empowered in your organization than you have ever been."