Governance, risk, and compliance, or GRC, is a systematic framework that helps you align your business goals, manage and mitigate risks, establish governance in your work process and stay on top of your compliance. But implementing a GRC program across an enterprise-level organization with uniformity is no easy job. That’s where a GRC tool comes in handy. An intuitive GRC tool can help in optimal decision-making, encourage team collaboration, eliminate fragmentation and establish a solid GRC program across your organization. If you’re ready to implement a GRC tool or still toying with the idea, this article will help you with all the necessary resources!
A GRC tool can help you streamline compliance processes and enable you to establish a strong governance, risk, and compliance management framework across the organization. A GRC tool is usually a cloud-based solution and helps you peek at your organization’s risk profile, analyze the gaps for corrective action plans, and monitor compliance platform and governance. It also helps introduce automation for various processes to increase efficiency, reduce complexity, and eliminate the risks of paying huge penalties for nonadherence to guidelines.
A GRC platform serves as a single source of truth for your organization, where you can get status updates, view action plans, and have visibility on the audit trail. It encourages a unified workspace where you collaborate with your teams. A GRC tool also offers flexibility — it’s easy to use, and the intuitive workflows align with your business processes.
The Governance Institute of Australia 2020 Risk Management Survey mentioned that in their survey, 393 respondents considered regulatory and legislative changes to be one of the top five risks for them in the next five years. Some of these risks are associated with damage to brand reputation, regulatory and legislative changes, and cybercrime.
Regulatory and legislative changes and staff conduct were reported to be the most efficiently managed risk issues. As a result, talent management, disruption/inadequate innovation, environmental risks, and economic shock pose the most significant risk.
The survey ultimately showed a substantial value for governance and risk professionals. Efforts are being made to focus on risk management and the tools and strategies used. If you are anticipating such risks for your organization and if you are still using spreadsheets for managing compliance programs, risk assessment, compliant audits, tracking incidents, and establishing a healthy government program in your organization, then an effective GRC tool like VComply can help you launch your GRC program under 30 minutes!
There are several benefits of having an intuitive GRC tool in your organization. However, the top benefits include:
Now that you are ready to implement your first GRC tool let’s understand how you should implement it.
If you already have a GRC framework, we strongly recommend you revisit your GRC frameworks and identify the gaps. See how much you can fill those gaps with technology. Review your governance, risk, and compliance programs across the organization and see how you can streamline them. Understanding your GRC framework can help you pick the right GRC tool and redefine your GRC program.
To ensure your GRC program is running perfectly, choose the right GRC tool. While cloud-based GRC tools are most popular now, there are tons of cloud-based GRC tools. Asking your GRC tool vendor the right questions can help you make an informed decision. Pick a solution that has good functionality, is easy to use, offers all the features you need, is easy to implement, and has competitive pricing. Know the top 10 GRC tools.
Once you have determined the GRC tool you want to implement, work on a detailed implementation plan. This usually includes a project manager appointed by the tool vendor who works with you to understand the business policies and processes that are in place and identifies the existing gaps. Based on your requirements, the project manager will suggest the plan that will be best suited for your business needs. A demo and a project timeline usually follow this.
Once your plan is ready, it’s time for the actual implementation. If you’re going for a cloud-based automated GRC tool like VComply, your implementation can be completed within 30 minutes. Implementation will include management of policy documents, IT risk management, compliance management, operational risk management, and setting the company-wide governance plan. But remember, implementation alone will not help in the acceptance of the tool. Once the tool is implemented, spread awareness among the employees, offer training, and conduct workshops for better adoption. However, implementing a GRC program is not a one-time activity. Your GRC program needs to be tracked and monitored to ensure it is followed closely and adhered to by all the departments. Externally, you must ensure your GRC program is updated based on the policy updates and changes in the regulatory requirements.
While each business is unique, you must do thorough research and communicate the facts to the decision-makers while presenting a business case for GRC. Here’s a step-by-step instruction to help you get started.
To begin your business case, look into your existing system. Create an outline of the existing system – what it involves, how the workflow looks like, who all are involved etc. Next, identify the gaps and present them in your business case. Emphasis on the consequences that can happen or have happened in the past due to the gaps. Were there any examples of tangible outcomes? Highlight them in your note.
Consider the costs involved in your present GRC program versus the cost for the proposed GRC platform. Instead of taking a siloed approach, look into it as an overall cost across the organization. Some of the costs to take into account are:
Irrespective of what GRC tool you are proposing, your business case should highlight the current solution and its key problems, how it impacts the business, and how the newly proposed solution can help you improve the scenario. Before this, know the difference between GRC and IRM.
The three main components of a GRC platform are governance, risk, and compliance. Governance: The Governance module integration enables you to ensure that all the administrative support measures are in place that is in sync with your GRC strategy and overall business goals.
Risk: The Risk module of the GRC tool identifies risks and gaps and addresses them promptly to mitigate the risk impact.
Compliance: The Compliance module ensures that the company follows all the compliance guidelines.
Cost: Even if it sounds cliche, you need to consider and compare costs for the GRC tool. Ideally, the tool you choose should be able to provide maximum benefits and protection for the best cost. A good way to go about it is to calculate the total cost of ownership and then calculate its return on investment.
Product scope: While threats and vulnerabilities are constantly changing, the regulatory landscape is changing too. So, pick a GRC tool that can cater to an extended scope in the future. Additionally, if you have growth plans and foray into new markets in the coming days, your GRC tool should be able to support it. So you must thoroughly examine the product scope to ensure a long-term view of the product. Ask your GRC vendor about the product roadmap, and they envision the growth of the tool for the future.
Interface: Considering your entire company population will use the GRC platform, choose a tool with an easy-to-use interface with simple drag-and-drop features. The interface should be easy to integrate with the enterprise’s existing application. For example, integration of the GRC tool with a configuration management database or an identity management system. This interface integration feature will help simplify the analysis, remediation, and easy reporting.
Support: When you think about support, think about updates, maintenance, customization, etc., that your GRC tool should be able to offer support with. For example, your GRC tool should support customization as needed in your organization. This can be fixing bugs or incorporating new features. Imagine your organization needs to adhere to Payment Card Industry regulations; your GRC vendor should be able to update the tool with the new versions of the regulation whenever it gets released.
Reputation: Look for GRC tool vendors already been in the industry for some time and have earned reputations. Look at third-party review sites to understand the reviews they gather from other clients. For example, VComply has a rating of 4.6/5 on G2. This is what one of the happy customers says: “VComply has proven to be a very effective tool to track compliance activities. It provides a way to automate your compliance program and assign tasks to individuals, along with reminders and the ability to upload supporting documentation. The customer service is the best I’ve experienced from a software company. They continue to evolve the software and regularly roll out updates and new features.” — Tanya P, Director of Compliance, Security and Strategic Projects.
Partnerships: Your GRC tool vendor is not just a one-time supplier but should be entering into a strategic partnership with you and collaborating with you throughout your GRC journey.
Security: GRC platforms have much critical information stored, and any data breach can threaten the organization. From exploiting vulnerabilities, and damage to brand reputation to financial losses and legal liabilities can be huge for organizations. So pick a GRC tool that has a strong security system in place. Role-based access rights and data encryption are features you should look for in a GRC tool.
Scalability: Your organization is growing, as is the complexity of information and data. Invest in a GRC platform that is easy to integrate with your growing business. For example, if you foray into a new market or add a new line of business, you can extend the GRC tool for the new programs and need not invest in another GRC tool!
Workflow: It needs to have a good workflow engine to get the most out of your GRC platform. Since a large team of employees will use the tool across departments, the tool needs to have a workflow system to manage and distribute work and keep track of it. So ensure you invest in a GRC tool that has developed a good workflow system.
Document management: GRC platforms need to manage a lot of critical and sensitive documentation. Along with policies, procedures, and standards, the GRC tool also is the storehouse for internal control documents, standards, and procedures. So choose a GRC tool that has a strong document management system.
Usability: No matter how intuitive your GRC tool is, no one in the team will use it if it’s too complex. Since employees will use the tool at different levels across the organization, you must ensure that everyone is comfortable using it. The good idea is to let your key team members evaluate the tool. Let them evaluate the tool on the following parameters – ease of learning, ease of remembering, satisfaction, understandability, and task efficiency.
Customization: Every organization is unique, and so are its GRC requirements. A GRC platform should be able to cater to the complete needs of the organization. So choose a GRC tool that has complete customization capability.
Checklist for general consideration
Checklist for functional consideration
Implementing a strong GRC program is no longer good but a must-have for companies globally. While risk and compliance professionals are strong advocators of implementing a GRC platform, the decision-makers need to weigh the return on investment of implementing a GRC system in the organization. To determine the ROI of implementing a GRC program in your organization, you need to consider both the qualitative and quantitative benefits of having a GRC tool. Here is a quick guide on determining tangible and intangible benefits, including a quantifiable ROI.
Some of the tangible benefits of having a GRC program are savings through operational efficiencies, staff costs, and long-term savings by IT cost reductions ( saying no to legacy tools). However, quantifying these benefits can be difficult. However, you may attempt to do so by
Take into consideration the future costs and benefits While calculating the ROI, consider the future costs and benefits as well. For example, what will be the implementation costs for the GRC program? Think of the licensing, internal project, and associated implementation costs. Document the future activities that you will mostly be performing for each GRC-enabled use case. This includes identifying all the participants involved in future procedures and the overall activities that will be performed. Also, you need to include the annual maintenance costs, infrastructure costs, support costs, etc. Calculate the total effort and spending you will be incurred for all future activities.
Calculating ROI: Once you analyze your current and future state, it’s time to calculate the expected differential in both the fixed and variable costs. Using the expected differential estimates, you may establish different metrics for key GRC activities.
Metrics to consider: A few of the metrics that you may want to consider are-
A successful GRC transformation depends on the six components throughout the GRC lifecycle. So you need to consider the individual ROI. The six stages include
Remember, a strong business case is not enough. You also need to calculate the ROI of implementing a GRC tool to help the executive team to make an informed decision. Need help in implementing your first GRC tool? Try VComply that’s used by most Agile teams out there! The tool is simple, engaging, and available on Cloud. Simplify your GRC needs with this one integrated tool. Book a live demo today.
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