The massive increase in the quantity, variation and velocity of information has drastically changed how regulated companies manage their compliance requirements. The new operational imperative is for organizations to “bake” governance, risk and compliance (GRC) into their day-to-day operations. The obvious advantage to this approach is risk mitigation. However, an even more compelling advantage is that the “processes” that make up GRC (auditing, records management, compliance and change management) can provide other business benefits.
According to Gartner, information assets gleaned from GRC methodologies provide, “enhanced insight and decision-making” capabilities. Paradoxically, companies are now able to ask new questions of their information they haven’t previously been able to ask, as well as being able to establish important trends in their business and identify suspect activities. Our recently published whitepaper, Content: The Driving Force Behind Governance, Risk and Compliance states that through GRC, organizations strive to improve operational excellence, organization, clarity, transparency, and accountability. While a GRC framework is always a good investment, it is more important than ever for organizations to understand that while the glass is half empty—it is also half full.
The 4 Processes of GRC
Enterprise Information Management (EIM) initiatives today are mainly revolving around business processes. The ability to comply with regulations is no longer a compelling enough business driver for new investments. EIM automates workflows and makes sure that procedures are approved by the right individuals. Most importantly, an effective EIM system drives daily quality processes and alerts key personnel about tasks that require attention. In a similar way, Gartner defines GRC as, “the automation of the management, measurement, remediation, and reporting of controls and risks against objectives, in accordance with rules, regulations, standards and policies.”
Most importantly EIM collects evidence that the documented processes are actually followed: employees have read the SOPs and have adhered to them in their daily work.
GRC processes are both numerous and extensive, extending from the activities of executive management, through risk management and reporting and including internal controls, auditing and security. Our whitepaper discusses the four processes that make up GRC: audit management, risk management, compliance and policy management and change management.
- Audit management – EIM can help streamline audits with the ability to quickly and efficiently produce evidence to verify if the right people are doing the right things at the right time. Holistically, audits are much more than collecting and examining documents, they are an all-inclusive approach to the company that involves asking questions about assets, systems, processes and results. It is this very methodology, which can unearth valuable data that very well could be a significant factor in future innovation, such as launching a new line of business.
- Risk management – While taking calculated risks is sometimes necessary for making strides in business, managing preventable risk is critical for business survival, let alone success. In a 2014 report, Forrester Research asserts that, “managing risk is the No. 1 driver for information management in the eyes of business leaders.” Risk management is a circular process that consists of six steps: identification, analyzation, prioritization, strategic planning and scheduling, tracking and reporting, controlling and learning — and all of these processes can be centrally managed with an EIM system. The risk-assessment process within the EIM system becomes the de facto administrator — managing status, approvals, next steps, version control, permissions and related content. Risk assessment reports and all related work are then easily and directly accessible to the authorized individuals and groups at any time without time-consuming searches.
- Compliance and Policy Management – One of the most important elements in achieving and proving compliance is in the supervision and use of standard operating procedures (SOPs). An EIM system dramatically simplifies and improves the process of SOP Management documenting the creation, maintenance, and adherence to SOPs. Employees who are required to read SOPs and confirm they’ve understood the material can do so directly from the system, which then records the events, tests results, and related digital signatures. A bonus benefit for organizations related to more effective SOP Management is the creation of internal controls that foster continuous improvement.
- Change Management – Organizations need to manage change using transparent and auditable processes. Relative to GRC, change is often encountered in the guise of a formal “change request.” EIM can govern “change requests” by treating them as “business objects” and associate all of the necessary related content and data. Beyond GRC, this ethos of “content in context” allows organizations to benefit from new “connections” between information objects and nurturing new ways to examine and build their business.
A Script for Long Term Success
Today’s business complexities demand new resources, new ideas and new innovative technology solutions such as EIM that can automate and integrate various programs and processes while still managing them under the umbrella of GRC. By leveraging an EIM system to administrate your GRC initiatives while also serving as a single source of truth for information management, organizations can both understand their risk profile and leverage it as a tool for innovation.
Interested in reading more? Download our free whitepaper: “Content: The Driving Force Behind Governance, Risk and Compliance”.