The first step to solving any problem is admitting that there is one. No matter how well an organization structures its governance, risk management, and compliance framework there will be issues that always slip through the cracks. Organizations must be aware of this and develop a holistic issue reporting and case management system with 360-degree awareness or issues and how they impact the organization risk and compliance profile.
Issue reporting and Case management in GRC
Our current dynamic business environment requires that the organization take a strategic approach to issue reporting and case management. Organizations require complete awareness of issues, incidents, investigations, and cases across business operations and processes. This is best approached through structured and accountable processes enabled through an integrated information and technology architecture for issue reporting and case management.
Issue reporting and case management are essential to any effective GRC strategy (governance, risk management, compliance). The goal of an effective issue reporting and case management framework is to understand that problems will occur no matter how robust the organization’s GRC framework is, be ready and capable to identify these issues, and then prioritize mitigation, and correction of any given issue. To do this effectively, organizations must accurately track and remediate issues across the organization. Once the loss is mitigated or corrected, the organization should use the information as lessons learned to improve the governance of the organization.
Issue reporting and case management can be broken down into four different processes that can greatly improve the organization’s risk mitigation capabilities. These processes include:
- Case planning. This is the administrative aspect of case management in which the organization plans and administers the array of issues, cases, investigations, workloads, and tasks. These processes require effective resource management and costs, as well as identifying how these resources, issues, and cases may change throughout the year.
- Reporting and intake. A critical aspect of issue reporting and case management is the reporting process itself. You must ensure that there are open avenues for reports to come in – these will likely be hotlines, web forms, management reports, etc. However, it is important to ensure that these reports are effectively processed to ensure that duplicates are eliminated as well as non-issues canceled. The key is focusing on critical issues to better allocate resources. The optimal way of doing this is to implement automation into the reporting process. This can be done through the implementation of a GRC technology architecture. Once reporting methods have been established effectively the organization can then begin focusing on the actual management of cases and issues.
- Investigation. Once an issue has been identified it will then enter the investigation phase. This phase is critical because it provides the organization with the information that is needed to best mitigate losses and determine preventative measures for future related issues. Investigators should see the case through to closure and to best expedite the process and its success. Organizations need to create structured templates and processes to better keep information and documents organized, better manage tasks, and provide the ability to notify management in the event of the issue escalating. The ability to keep everything up to date, have effective documentation, and establish accountability will greatly improve the organization’s capability of providing an adequate and defensible system of record. The more automated these processes become the more efficient and effectively investigators can work, thus resulting in better outcomes for any given case.
- Future planning. As previously mentioned, issues will arise throughout the lifespan of the organization. There will be compliance failures and risk exposures and organizations must accept that. With an effective and agile investigation process the organization has the information needed to better prevent the same issue from occurring twice. Once an issue has been identified and has gone through the proper investigation process it is now time to determine how that issue occurred in the first place and what steps need to be taken to prevent it from happening again. This maps issues and cases directly into policies and procedures to ensure improvement and engagement. It is pivotal that the organization determine if the relevant policies and procedures have areas of failure, or if there was an established policy in the first place, then determine how the policy or policies must be changed or communicated to prevent the same issue from occurring twice.
Much of what has been discussed above pertains to the processes and procedures that organizations should take to ensure that issue reporting and case management are done in an effective and efficient manner. However, many of these processes can be extremely difficult and time-consuming for any organization. It is critical that organizations consider the implementation of a software solution to greatly increase automation of issue reporting and case management processes and increase efficiency and agility. Technology enhances the management of incoming reports, assists with the processing of information, and improves the organization’s capability of managing cases.
Organizations that implement an issue reporting and case management software manage risk and compliance proactively, have an increased chance of protecting and sustaining business objectives, goals, and interests, and are also more resilient to emerging disruptions. They are now resilient and ready to overcome issues to sustain growth in contrast to organizations that manage risk and compliance within manual processes i.e., documents and spreadsheets.
It is essential for organizations to develop an integrated, agile, and collaborative issue reporting and case management program and framework that is found in VComply. VComply allow for issue reporting and case management to be integrated into other compliance, risk management and assessment activities coordinated across different departments and functions of the organization. This enables the organization to break down silos and make more informed business decisions.