“Atos Consulting UK-survey reveals: regulatory programmes to deliver business benefit”

London, 12 July 2005

Businesses are succeeding at driving extra benefit from regulatory commitment Companies are set to derive business benefit from their regulatory programme according to a survey by Atos Consulting, the consultancy arm of Atos Origin, a leading IT services company. Contrary to reports that companies were increasingly looking at short term regulatory solutions in the face of a growing compliance burden, 43.2% of respondents to the Atos Consulting survey said that they would “definitely” derive business benefit from regulatory programmes, whilst a further 54.1% of respondents stated that they would “possibly” see business benefit from their compliance activities.

Whilst companies responses indicated that they were succeeding at driving business benefit from regulatory programmes, it showed a worrying lack of convergence even between programmes with wide ranging similarities. The survey identified a lack of integration between various compliance workstreams with less than 25% of respondents were able to identify relationship between their Sarbanes Oxley and their Operational Risk programmes, programmes from which a lot of benefit from synergies are possible.

“Compliance has undoubtedly become an area of increased focus over the last five years and it seems that businesses are finally realising that it is essential to drive business benefit from their investment in these areas,” said Paul Beach, Partner at Atos Consulting. “Whilst this is encouraging, the lack of convergence between programmes supports our experience that many companies run their compliance programmes in silos. This is mainly because companies rush to meet the deadlines without spending adequate time in identifying synergies other than the most obvious ones. Very few companies have a clear view of the total cost of compliance. Further significant business benefits are therefore left on the table.”

Additional information was also revealed on Sarbanes Oxley with 45.9% of respondents stating that, despite the change of attestation date, they were expecting to deliver on target to their original plan, with 5.4% confirming that they have moved plans forward and 18.9% stating that they were in the process of re-planning. This indicated that companies were missing out on the opportunity presented by the change in date – companies in Europe now have an extra year to comply – to ensure that their programmes will deliver long term benefit and are not just short term fixes.

“It is important to be ahead of the game to avoid last minute crunch. We however also see a risk in (companies) focussing on the initial deadlines and spending less energy on looking at compliance as Business as Usual. We recommend that companies spend more time upfront taking a more long-term view of compliance and embedding it in (the Business as Usual)”, commented Beach.

In addition, the survey revealed some interesting insights into how regulatory programmes were run with just under half of respondents (48.7%) stating that their company's compliance function was run by an independent compliance division. This demonstrates how important compliance has become within major corporations. Of those companies without an independent compliance department, 5.1% stated that the compliance function was run by the audit department, 17.9% said that it was run by risk management and 17.9% said that it was run by another, non compliance specific department.

The survey results were compiled from the responses of over 60 compliance officers or their equivalents at FTSE 250 companies in the UK.

About Atos Origin
Atos Origin is an international information technology services company. Its business is turning client vision into results through the application of consulting, systems integration and managed operations. The company's annual revenues are more than EUR 5 billion and it employs over 46,000 people in 40 countries. Atos Origin is the Worldwide Information Technology Partner for the Olympic Games and has a client base of international blue-chip companies across all sectors. Atos Origin is quoted on the Paris Eurolist Market and trades as Atos Origin, AtosEuronext, Atos Worldline and Atos Consulting.

Atos Consulting, the global consulting practice of Atos Origin, is a leading provider of business, process and technology consulting services. With more than 2,500 staff globally, it focuses on delivering proven, pragmatic solutions to the telecom, manufacturing, financial services and public sectors.

For further information, please contact:
Caroline Crouch
Atos Origin
Tel: +44 20 7830 4233
Email: caroline.crouch@atosorigin.com