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Introduction to ControlNet: Q&A with Paul Lowrie

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

What is ControlNet all about? Find out in the following Q&A article with Paul Lowrie, co-founder and CEO at ControlNet.

Who's behind ControlNet?

Back in 2014, ex-UBS colleagues with a background in Governance, Operations and IT, decided to combine efforts and develop a unique solution to a major operational problem they had all experienced. The process of managing controls in most organisations was heavily manual and managed on excel spreadsheets or paper-based checklists, with little visibility of the current status of risks and controls, a lack of supporting evidence and corresponding actions and a lack of accountability. This resulted in operational inefficiencies and increased risks of operational losses and regulatory scrutiny.

So, they created ControlNet – an integrated risk and control management system.

While the initial vision was to provide a system to manage and evidence Level 1 business-owned controls, they quickly realised that customers needed a solution to cover all 3 lines of defence. Thus, they’ve expanded their offering and added a dedicated risk module to the flagship ControlNet system.

What is ControlNet and who is it for?

ControlNet provides a risk management and control application. Our solution is flexible, allowing organisations to link their current risk management platforms with our controls module and providing complete visibility of business wide controls and checklists.

For businesses needing an all-encompassing solution, we offer implementation of a full risk management program, providing end-to-end management of risk and control covering all three lines of defence:

  • business,

  • operational risk and

  • audit.

Our clients range from large financial services organisations such as Royal Bank of Canada who have deployed our software globally, to smaller boutique firms using ControlNet to strengthen their control environment. While our initial clients were in the financial services industry, the solution is industry agnostic and can equally be deployed in any industry sector.

What do you feel are the benefits of working with ControlNet versus your competitors

ControlNet is a challenger to some of the larger players in the development of risk software. While the larger players have dominated the market, they are often using older, less flexible legacy technologies. At ControlNet we can be more agile in responding to our customers needs.

We pride ourselves on our ability to provide a stronger user experience, using customer feedback to address the concerns and needs of our clients regarding their existing solutions.

We put our customers first, with our primary focus on ensuring ControlNet addresses their requirements to reduce risk, increase business wide visibility and provide accountability for their control environments in a user friendly way.


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What would you say is unique about ControlNet?

Market research suggests that there are very few solutions able to provide control management at such a granular level. Most industry standard solutions focus on risks at an aggregated level, while the substantiation of the performance of the controls is often carried out on paper checklists or excel spreadsheets.

ControlNet is unique by providing this necessary level of detail, all in one system. Each control can be mapped against business hierarchies, key risks, internal and external policies and regulations and company products. Evidence can be uploaded to support the status of the control, comments can be added and actions can be raised and assigned. Alerting capability can be implemented and a dashboard provides users full visibility of the control environment, allowing better management of all controls and the presentation of risks.

What are the biggest challenges that the primary industry you are serving faces today? What do you see on the horizon?

The primary challenge we see in the financial services industry is the volume of controls being managed across many different locations and in many different ways. MI is often reactive, provided in an inconsistent way and usually 3 or 4 weeks after the month for which the data is collected. ControlNet allows organisations to manage controls consistently and proactively, providing a real-time view of the status of controls and corresponding actions.

The increased number of people working remotely, coupled with an increased requirement for the implementation of COVID-19 related checks and controls means the traditional methods of paper-based and excel checklists are no longer viable.

We are already seeing clients use ControlNet to automate responses by using AI technology and / or Bots. As this technology grows across industries we anticipate more automation of the control environment with even more proactive management of risk to mitigate error losses and risk events.


Still using paper-based checklists or excel spreadsheets to manage your internal risks and controls?

ControlNet helps you automate the process, and create an efficient, accountable and secure operational environment.



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