GRC Software … How Much Is Too Much?
How to know which governance, risk, and compliance software is right for you.
- What is GRC software?
- Choosing the right GRC software for you.
- How much is too much.
Governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) are inherently intertwined. In order to be in compliance with laws and regulations, a company must know the biggest areas of potential risk.
Efficient, well-structured management and governance enable an organization to take steps to mitigate those risks.
However, in many organizations, compliance and risk are managed at a departmental level.
This fragmented approach can result in wasteful redundancies and a lack of consistency across the organization as a whole. It also makes it harder for companies to get a full picture of overall operations and compliance.
Many organizations are turning to GRC software to help address these problems and better integrate GRC solutions across departments.
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What Is GRC Software?
The authors of the research paper A Frame of Reference for Research of Integrated Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) offer this definition of GRC:
An integrated, holistic approach to organisation-wide governance, risk and compliance ensuring that an organization acts ethically correct and in accordance with its risk appetite, internal policies and external regulations through the alignment of strategy, processes, technology and people, thereby improving efficiency and effectiveness.
GRC software makes a “holistic, integrated” approach possible by storing, streamlining, and automating GRC processes. With GRC software, companies no longer have to use separated systems and spreadsheets to track critical information.
Compliance teams can access all the information they need in one secure place.
Risk managers can analyze data to spot patterns and monitor risks. And employees can easily get the information they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.
What Does GRC Software Do?
GRC software serves many functions including:
In a 2012 survey by Deloitte, 63% of respondents said they had issues integrating risk analytics from multiple systems.
GRC software fixes this problem by housing all your organization’s data in one system. This helps you analyze risk factors, monitor activities, and track controls.
Laws and regulations are constantly changing. It can be hard for organizations to keep up.
The Deloitte survey found that 78% of respondents were extremely, very, or somewhat concerned about the ability of their GRC systems to adapt to changing requirements. Eighty-five percent of the companies interviewed said they would benefit from integrating technology use in GRC processes.
GRC software updates you about regulatory changes, alerts you when you need to update standards, and lets you easily conduct compliance assessments.
Some software tools even provide templates for financial reporting and let you directly track your policies to laws and accreditation standards to ensure compliance.
Preparing for audits can be extremely time consuming and stressful. You must track down documents, make sure they are up to date, and put them the proper format for auditors to assess.
GRC software solutions make this process easier.
You can set automated reminders about upcoming audits, create workflows to make sure tasks get done, and track key metrics. Most software also provides a centralized storage spot where auditors can access all the information they need in one place.
Good GRC software will streamline policy management, letting you create, send out, and track policies. It lets you collaborate on policy updates, view complete document history, and give employees easy access to the policies they need.
GRC software is a one-stop-shop for all essential documents. Manage vendor information, store employee records, track incidents, and more all in one place.
Storing all your data in one system lets you analyze data and get a full picture of your organization. Most software gives administrators full control over which users have access to what information.
It’s easy to see how GRC software could benefit your organization. But implementing this kind of software can be complicated.
It can seem overwhelming to gather all the data from different systems, coordinate between multiple departments, and get leaders and employees to buy-in to using a brand new system.
GRC solutions can also be expensive. And some GRC software may include features that aren’t necessary for your organization.
Compliance software is a worthwhile investment, but it’s essential that you choose a solution that fits your organization’s needs and budget.
Choosing the Right GRC Solution
There is no shortage of GRC software vendors to choose from.
GRC tools range from highly complex systems with numerous features and controls to simple solutions with a few standard features.
It can be problematic to choose a system too far on either end of the spectrum.
An overly complex GRC product may be difficult to use. It may provide many different data points and analysis, but that won’t do much good if no one understands the output.
GRC technology should simplify the compliance process, not give you too much complex data to sort through.
On the other hand, an overly simple tool may make it difficult to adapt to changing regulations. It may be hard to customize the solutions for the needs of your organization.
There are several different aspects to consider when choosing a GRC software for your organization. Here are a few questions to ask:
What are your specific GRC needs?
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to GRC. Targeted solutions that cater to the needs of your organization will be more cost efficient and easier to maintain.
Before you invest in GRC software, gather some of the key stakeholders to discuss system requirements. This will ensure that you select a software tool that meets the needs of key users. It will also increase buy-in and make implementation easier.
Consider what specific problems your organization is facing. What kind of features and functionality are most important to your company?
If you’re in a highly regulated industry, make sure the software lets you easily track compliance with the essential laws and standards for your industry.
For example, large corporations may want a software that simplifies financial reporting in compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Healthcare organizations will want software that streamlines HIPAA compliance.
Make sure to investigate all the aspects of what you’re getting. It won’t help to get a system that mainly caters to a function you don’t need or doesn’t include an essential function.
For example, if your main issue is keeping policies and procedures up to date, you wouldn’t want to get a GRC software that stores your policies, but makes it hard to update them.
Or, if you’re always missing deadlines for audits, you’d want to make sure the software includes automated alerts and reminders.
How quickly do you need a solution in place?
Some GRC software can take a long time to implement. Many enterprise-level systems take months, if not years, to get fully up and running.
In the meantime, your essential documents and data may be even more scattered. Mistakes or updates can fall through the gaps as you’re transferring systems.
A more targeted GRC solution such as PowerDMS may not have all the frills, but it can get up and running much faster.
PowerDMS can be implemented in around 90 days, letting you quickly move on to improving your GRC content instead of focusing on the software itself.
What resources are needed for implementation?
In order to successfully implement GRC software, you need to be able to migrate your organization’s existing data into the new system. Look for a GRC software that easily integrates with your organization’s existing technology and processes.
If you have to download all new software systems, and bring in lots of outside help in order to adopt a software, implementation will take much longer. And it may be more difficult to use the software over the long run.
PowerDMS lets you easily upload existing files in formats like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, videos, and images. It’s simple to use, and it works with your existing technology capabilities.
You won’t have to call on IT experts in order to implement features. And it automatically updates to improve the system without requiring any technical work on your end.
How easy is the software to use?
A GRC software’s ease of use is a major part of getting buy-in from all members of your organization.
Employees need to be able to easily find the information they need. Administrators and compliance managers need to be able to routinely add and update policies.
If the software is overly confusing or complex, your staff may simply default to their old methods of document and compliance management.
Look for a software that is intuitive and easy to use. And also make sure the GRC software vendor offers comprehensive customer service and assistance in case you do have any trouble.
With PowerDMS, employees simply use an online portal to log in and access the policies and information they need.
PowerDMS's cloud storage system is simple and secure. Administrators have full control over who can access and edit documents. They can easily create new documents, workflows, quizzes, and more.
What is your budget?
GRC software can be expensive. Between software, hardware, and implementation, a GRC solution can cost your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Of course, the costs of ineffective governance, risk management, and compliance can be far more costly. But it can still be difficult to convince company leaders to make such a significant investment.
Plus, long, complex implementation may bring unforeseen expenses such as extra IT training, support, additional software, and updates.
In some cases, you may even have to hire additional IT professionals to help implement and maintain the system.
PowerDMS is easy to implement and use. You won’t need to hire additional IT personnel just to manage the software.
Compliance professionals can manage PowerDMS themselves. This can save your organization up to $100,000 in tech labor costs.
How Much Is Too Much?
GRC software can vastly improve and streamline your governance, risk management, and compliance processes.
However, GRC software can be complicated and costly. Software is supposed to simplify processes.
You shouldn’t have to spend years of your staff’s time and large chunks of your operating budget to implement and maintain your GRC software.
With PowerDMS, you can create, collaborate, and disseminate policies and procedures all from one secure online location.
You can easily track compliance, conduct audits, collect electronic signatures, and even conduct testing and training.
Don’t pay extra for complex features that you don’t need. Get PowerDMS and streamline your GRC processes today.