Buyer’s guide to the top 6 policy management tools

Reviews of 6 policy, process, and procedure tools, the difference between them, and how to choose the right policy management tool for your organization.

March 1, 2022

Every organization faces liability issues and risks. These can result in lawsuits, fines, a damaged reputation, and more. Liability stems from three things, or more accurately, it stems from the absence of three things:

Policies, processes, and procedures.

In an era of increasing regulatory scrutiny, you need well-defined policies, processes, and procedures working in sync to mitigate risk and protect your organization from the unknown. The three pillars keep your employees accountable to ever-evolving industry standards and regulations and shape your organizational culture.

Policy, process, and procedure form a system for maintaining compliance. Each is important and helps create a unified whole; without one, your structure is rickety and prone to crashing. The trick is finding the best tool to give you control of all three.

If you can't easily create, store, update, distribute, and track your policies, then they are largely worthless. If employees can't easily search for and access important documents anytime, anywhere, then your system isn't serving its purpose.

That's where policy, process, and procedure tools come in. The best tools serve as a policy management system, connecting all three pillars.

Imagine compliance as a building. Policies, processes, and procedures are the three pillars holding it up. Your policy management system is the foundation, supporting the pillars and creating a living connection between them. The pillars can exist without the foundation, but they won't be as efficient or secure and, in the end, the building's structural integrity will be compromised.


Few organizations lack a foundation altogether, but many foundations are compromised. In other words, their policy management tool doesn't adequately support or maintain compliance. For example, paper-based systems (filing cabinets, binders, etc.) and mixed media systems that combine paper and digital (shared internal drives, Google Drive, email, etc.) are not as effective as a fully cloud-based system.

If you're currently using one of these ineffective systems, it's important to understand why they're ineffective and what you could be doing differently.

In this article, we'll cover six tools that can store, connect, and control your policies. But first, let's explore the differences between policy, process, and procedure.

Policy vs. process vs. procedure

Policy, process, and procedure are the trifecta for your policy management system. Together, they eliminate mistakes and provide a roadmap for day-to-day operations.

We've all heard and used these terms a lot and probably even use them interchangeably. But they're not all the same. So, what is the difference between policy, process, and procedure? We're glad you asked.


Policies are a set of guidelines that drive processes and procedures. They're the rules – the why – of the processes and procedures. They outline your organization's plan for tackling certain issues. Policies influence culture, communicate expectations, and guide operations. Here are some attributes of a strong policy:

  • Clear, concise, and simple language
  • Explains the rule, not how to implement the rule
  • Easily accessible by staff at all times
  • Represents a consistent, logical framework


Processes explain how to achieve a desired outcome, whether it's for a product or service. They fit within your organization's policies and explain how something works at a high level. Wondering what makes for a good process?

  • Clearly communicated company-wide
  • Can be modeled visually in a flowchart
  • Explains who is responsible for each step
  • Lists out what tasks need to be performed


Procedures explain a specific plan of action for carrying out a policy or process. Whereas policies and processes are generally higher level, procedures get into the details. They tell employees how to respond in certain situations. Attributes of a strong procedure include:

  • Clear, concise, and simple language
  • Addresses how/when to implement policy/process
  • Takes user insight into account
  • Requires ownership by users

If you're curious, learn more about the difference between policies and procedures.

Three pillars, working together

How do these three pillars work in unison?

Consider Antonio's, a fictional Italian restaurant, as an example. Antonio's policies define the guidelines of being a restaurant, rules, and regulations about things like food storage, restaurant hygiene, employee benefits, and time off.

Antonio's processes fall under these policies, explaining food delivery dates, menu options, head chef and line cook responsibilities (e.g., food prep, meats, pasta, salads), hostess duties, and how the tables are grouped by wait staff. These processes, though high level, help employees understand their responsibilities while providing a bird's-eye view of how their tasks impact the system as a whole. At Antonio's, this has empowered employees, creating a sense of ownership and accountability.

Antonio's also has procedures that detail their policies and process: how to request time off, how hosts assign tables, recipes, ingredients for meals, and how to clean the kitchen for closing.

For Antonio's, and for your organization as well, policies, processes, and procedures play an integral role in adhering to regulations and industry best practices.

Even if you have the three pillars in place, you still need a strong foundation to support and connect them. Now, it's time to explore some tools that will help you manage and control your policies, processes, and procedures.


6 policy management software tools: A review

Now that we understand the difference between policy, process, and procedure, let's review several policy management systems so you can build your compliance on a strong foundation.

There are many tools on the market and some are expensive (in terms of time as well as money), so be sure to do your homework. Regardless of which one you choose, the right solution should ultimately save you time and money.

Generally speaking, the tools listed below fall into three categories: policy management, document management, and content providers. We'll talk through the differences later in this article, but for now, let's explore the tools (in no particular order).

1. Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is a system for document storage and management. As a platform, SharePoint is super customizable, meaning if you have the expertise and time, it can be tailored to meet your organization's needs.

Key Features
As part of Microsoft Office, SharePoint integrates with the entire Office suite, so you can easily use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It lets you manage document security, track changes in a limited capacity, and go paperless. SharePoint offers:

  • Centralized storage
  • Microsoft Office integration
  • Collaboration and sharing
  • Document security
  • Scalable and customizable
  • Mobile functionality

Potential Drawbacks
SharePoint has limited out-of-the-box functionality. Most organizations can't simply buy the platform and start using it. SharePoint takes significant setup and will require help from a developer, if not an entire IT team, to customize the platform for your needs. Even if you have an in-house developer, getting the most out of SharePoint (and maintaining it) often takes a developer experienced with SharePoint specifically. So, regardless of Sharepoint's price, the cost of ownership is also high.

Oftentimes, SharePoint is built “good enough” upfront but quickly becomes outdated. Why? Because updates and improvements require IT tickets, which are often delayed in lieu of other IT requests deemed more critical.

Lastly, the platform has limited search functionality, making it difficult to quickly access policies.

Final Review
Unless you have a proficient SharePoint developer or IT department with efficient processes, SharePoint probably won't be the best fit for your organization. For many companies, SharePoint requires staff training, and the more customized it is, the more training required. From a cost and time perspective, it's not cheap if you have more than a few employees.

Get a direct comparison between SharePoint Online and PowerDMS, or read up on why you should buy vs. build.

2. ConvergePoint

ConvergePoint is a compliance management solution built on top of SharePoint. Each of their products extends SharePoint functionality, one being policy management. They serve mid- to large-sized companies with 100+ employees, so it's not an ideal solution if you only have a small agency or healthcare operation.

Key Features
ConvergePoint's policy management solution fills some of the gaps in SharePoint, letting you create, review, approve, distribute, and track policies. The solution comes with three modules: Policy Creation, Policy Library (Distribution), and Policy Acknowledgement. ConvergePoint includes:

  • Centralized storage
  • Custom workflows
  • Version control
  • Role-based access
  • Search and reports
  • Microsoft integration
  • Expiration notifications
  • Real-time dashboards

Potential Drawbacks
ConvergePoint is only useful if your organization is already using or interested in using Microsoft SharePoint. They cater to larger businesses (which is only a drawback if you have a small organization).

Final Review
If you're already using SharePoint, ConvergePoint may be the right solution for you. But do your research and explore alternatives before going all-in on SharePoint. Instead of making an inefficient system more functional with ConvergePoint, you may consider a different platform altogether.

3. Box

Box is a cloud-based document management tool built for small to midsize businesses (SMBs). Their user interface (UI) is clean, simple, and clear, making the system easier to use. Box integrates with Adobe, Slack, G Suite, Office 365, Salesforce, and many more applications.

Key Features
Box for Business extends functionality beyond cloud storage and file-sharing by adding features for synchronization and collaboration. Here are some additional features for your document management and security needs:

  • Centralized storage
  • Automated workflows
  • Unlimited storage (for most plans)
  • Unlimited users (for most plans)
  • File-sharing & collaboration
  • Version history
  • App integrations
  • Security controls

Potential Drawbacks
Box does document management well. Although there may be some workarounds since it wasn't built for managing accreditation or audits. Neither was it built for managing and tracking employee training. Box's mobile app allows for file-sharing and policy access but is somewhat limited beyond that.

The PCMag review of Box found navigation to be on the slower side with limited online editing functionality. External users are limited to read-only permissions, and you can't edit documents directly in Box. Instead, you have to edit them on your desktop or in Microsoft Word Online.

Final Review
If you're looking for a broad, cloud-based system for document management, then Box may be right for your organization. They have four reasonably-priced plans for businesses, so you can find the one that's right for your budgetary and document needs. But if you need a platform built to manage and connect policies, training, and accreditation, you may consider looking elsewhere.

Learn more about Box and other document management systems here.


PMAM is a Human Capital Management system helping organizations develop their workforce through three primary solutions: Knowledge Integration, Policy Management, and Performance Appraisal. Their platform has functionality for both accrediting bodies and individual organizations preparing for accreditation.

Key Features
Since they outsource their software development overseas, PMAM makes frequent updates to their product. It's also one of the more affordable policy management options available, offering:

  • Centralized storage
  • Workflow management
  • Accreditation and audit
  • Version control
  • Version comparison
  • Revision and approval process
  • Testing functionality
  • Training management

Potential Drawbacks
Outsourcing has its pros and cons. While outsourcing dev allows for a more affordable product and frequent updates, PMAM's software is less user-friendly as a result. PMAM outsources its training resources overseas as well, resulting in grammatical mistakes and less consistent quality customer support. If your training resources aren't professionally crafted by subject matter experts and you're not receiving reliable support, it can be difficult to onboard and troubleshoot problems down the line.

Final Review
It comes down to your organization's needs and priorities. If price is a key deciding factor and your non-negotiables don't include ease of use, quality training resources, and customer support, then PMAM may be the right choice.

5. PolicyTech by NAVEX Global

NAVEX Global is a compliance and risk management solution serving private sector businesses. While NAVEX has many products, ranging from Ethics & Compliance Training to Third Party Risk Management, let's focus on PolicyTech, their cloud-based policy management solution.

Key Features
PolicyTech provides centralized storage for policy management. Companies across various industries use PolicyTech to manage their GRC-related documents and mitigate risk. It also offers:

  • Centralized storage
  • Workflow automation
  • Access control
  • Audit-ready reporting
  • Policy violations reporting
  • Acknowledgment tracking
  • Microsoft integration
  • Mobile functionality

Potential Drawbacks
PolicyTech is considered by some to be cumbersome and difficult to use. For example, there's no way to compare document revisions while updating them. With PolicyTech, you're unable to map a single document to multiple standards, and there's no list/display for which documents are attached to each standard.

PolicyTech doesn't let you move files from one folder to another, so you have to recreate them in another folder. Although you can assign pre-existing roles within the system (writers, reviewers, approvers), you can't customize admin rights.

Furthermore, only one person can own a file, making it difficult to delegate work if the file owner is on sick leave, vacation, or swamped with other tasks. As a large, global company with 1,150+ employees and 14,000+ customers, you may not receive the same consistent level of support you'd receive elsewhere, especially as an SMB, which makes system maintenance challenging.

Final Review
PolicyTech was designed for corporations. So, if you're looking for GRC software for your enterprise, PolicyTech might be the right solution. But if you need more dynamic and flexible policy and accreditation management that's easy to use – especially if you're in the public sector – you should look elsewhere. On the fence? NAVEX offers a 14-day free trial, so you can explore the software for yourself.

Explore this direct comparison between PolicyTech and PowerDMS.


6. PowerDMS

PowerDMS is a policy management software that creates a living connection between your policies, training, and accreditation. Forged in the public safety sector, PowerDMS now serves 4,000+ public and private sector organizations worldwide with secure, cloud-based policy solutions.

PowerDMS is known for its industry-leading customer service. With a U.S.-based customer success team and a 97% customer satisfaction rating, we work with you to solve your toughest compliance challenges in a timely manner.

Key Features
PowerDMS allows for policy creation, version control, distribution, attestation tracking, and more. This data is grouped with each respective policy to create a library of living documents. Built with policy managers in mind, it lets you customize admin rights, easily move files between folders, and much more.

While PowerDMS was built for policy management, it can be used for a variety of content (subpoenas, BOLO's, memos, directives, maps, etc.). Each of the features listed below is supported via online training courses, called PowerDMS University, and training boot camps. With PowerDMS, you get: 

  • Centralized storage
  • Automated workflows
  • Acknowledgment tracking
  • Real-time notifications
  • Version control
  • Access control
  • Powerful search
  • Side-by-side comparison
  • Integrations (Microsoft Office, Adobe)
  • Mobile functionality

Potential Drawbacks
PowerDMS is not a content provider, but we do have content partners we can connect you with, as well as a tool for subscribing to relevant policy content from publishers.

Final Review
Between our easy-to-use policy, training, and accreditation management system, along with industry-leading customer support, PowerDMS is a strong option. Schedule a free demo to learn more.

Best policy management system for your industry

Governmental agencies and municipalities

As a leader in your city's or state's government, you know keeping your policies updated to keep up with increasingly frequent changes to regulatory and legal requirements is an ongoing challenge. But it's essential for compliance and for maintaining accreditation and protecting your city from potential lawsuits.

Here are four software solutions that deal with policy, process, and procedure management strictly for the governmental sector, including cities, states, and their related agencies like law enforcement, fire, and EMS. (A few of these were mentioned in the sections above, so simply scroll up for more details on PMAM, PolicyTech, and PowerDMS.)

  • PMAM is a cloud-based service, which means your content is accessible any time, anywhere. It has mobile accessibility, version control, and signature tracking. This shows that relevant employees have reviewed new and updated policies, which can help reduce liability for potential lawsuits.
  • Zavanta focuses on municipal customers at the federal, state, and local levels. It helps users to create policies through an “authoring wizard.” It's focused on standardizing operations and helping governments meet compliance standards. Zavanta also helps standardize policies and emphasizes creating policies that are tailor-made to regulatory agencies' standards.
  • PolicyTech offers version control, which means you can review, approve, and reject documents as needed, adding comments as you go. It also sends out automated email notifications about specific policies to be reviewed before they're published and disseminated.
  • PowerDMS creates a living connection between policy, training, and accreditation to save you time, money, and stress. Originally designed as a law enforcement and public safety tool, PowerDMS was built for policy administrators, accreditation managers, HR directors, and training managers. It's made to solve policy management problems and to simplify compliance by bringing policies, training, and accreditation onto a single platform that automates many of your processes.


Healthcare policies, procedures, and processes not only save lives – they also protect your organization from liability and lawsuits. They show evidence that you have the necessary policies and procedures in place. They also guide your daily operations and give your employees a framework for their daily work. Here are some of the best policy management solutions in healthcare:

  • PolicyStat is a cloud-based platform that collects all policies in one place so they're accessible to all users. It streamlines the workflow of policy creation, review, and approval, thanks in part to an editing tool that lets users edit documents without downloading them.
  • PolicyMedical lets healthcare facilities automate processes while maintaining compliance and preparing for accreditation. Its iAttest feature allows admins to check whether employees have reviewed and signed off on policies. This solution is a more expensive, more robust version of PolicyStat.
  • MCN Healthcare is particularly adept at navigating the accreditation process. It’s easy to understand and requires little IT help to implement. It also has an add-on feature with a comprehensive policy library that includes 18,000 customizable documents based on professional standards of the CDC, OSHA, and other leaders in the healthcare industry. And it offers real-time tracking and reporting of policies, robust search, and automated policy workflow.
  • HealthStream Policy Manager is built specifically for hospitals and medical care providers. It allows users to publish, access, and manage policies and procedures. It has a customizable document management workflow, shared review and approval, version control, auditing, and staff attestation.
  • PowerDMS is a policy and compliance management platform, empowering healthcare organizations with everyday survey readiness. It creates a living connection between policy, training, and accreditation to save you time, money, and stress in the survey process. PowerDMS serves more than 4,000 private and public sector organizations worldwide, including many hospitals and healthcare facilities.

Best practices for purchasing a policy management solution

You know why you need policy management software. You know it helps your agency or healthcare facility avoid expensive lawsuits and fines. And you know that it helps your organization run more efficiently and avoids potential problems – and it can save tens of thousands of dollars in printing costs. 

Now that you know all that, what do you need to do in order to actually buy your policy management solution?

Get buy-in from leadership

Buying your policy management solution means getting buy-in from senior leadership since you're launching a whole new way of doing things. It means you're not only committing to having policies, processes, and procedures, but also that you're going to update them regularly. You'll need to establish a policy review committee with your executives' blessing. And once they're on board, you'll be able to find the policy management solution that fits everything your organization needs.

Audit your policy process

To identify the solution that's best for your organization, you need to know your current condition. Do you have a robust policy management process in place or are you still using the traditional paper-and-binder method? If you don't know where you are, you won't know where you can go. So, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your current policy management system (paper, digital, mixed)?
  • What are its benefits and shortcomings?
  • Do you have an automated policy creation process?
  • Are you able to manage a policy from creation to archive?
  • Are your policies stored in a centralized place? 

List your non-negotiables

To find the best policy management solutions, you need to know your non-negotiables – the features and capabilities you absolutely cannot forgo. Compare your must-have features to the pros and cons we've discussed. 

These are the things that you absolutely must have in your policy management software. In this day and age, you need to have mobile capabilities and the ability to access your policy information on any phone, tablet, or laptop computer.

You need a cloud-based solution so those devices can access the information from anywhere.

You need signature tracking so you can see whether people have reviewed and read your new policy updates and then signed off as having read them.

We listed some potential non-negotiables down below, but in the meantime, just know that these are the things your organization absolutely must have, and there's no amount of negotiating from a sub-par software provider that will get you to forgo those.

Work with your policy compliance team and your top leadership and figure out what those non-negotiables should be for your organization.

Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions is an important step in the process of determining what policy management tool is best for your organization. You don't want to be surprised when you put time and money into a system just to realize it doesn't have all the capabilities you need or that they come at an extra cost you didn't know about. Here are a few questions to ask your policy management solution provider:

  • How much money will the software save us?
  • Do you have policy and procedure templates or samples?
  • Do you have access to third-party content for training and policies?
  • Do you have accreditation standards manuals available?
  • What security precautions do you take on your end?
  • Can I build my own reports?
  • What kind of dashboards do you have available?
  • Do you have a mobile app and what functionality does it provide?

How to choose your policy management tool

Now that we've reviewed a variety of policy management tools, how do you choose the right one? There's a lot to think about. We discussed both policy and document management systems, but what are the differences and which one do you need?

Between onboarding and upfront costs, choosing the wrong software is expensive. So, what's the “wrong” software? It's the one that doesn't check every box on your list of non-negotiables, creating gaps in your compliance. These cracks could lead to wasted time due to software inefficiencies, and they could lead to fines, lawsuits, and a damaged reputation due to a lack of employee accountability.

Even the most affordable solution becomes more expensive over the long term if it doesn't meet your organization's needs. That's why thoroughly researching your options pays dividends.

Start by creating your list of non-negotiables. Compare your criteria to the feature list and drawbacks from the reviews above, then eliminate options that don't meet the criteria. While the reviews in this article provide many unique insights, they are not comprehensive, so make sure to supplement your research with other reviews and articles. Once you have a shortlist of options, sign up for demos and free trials.

Here are 15 common criteria that may (or may not) be non-negotiables for your organization:

  • Cost-effective: delivers a quick return on your investment
  • Central storage: a single source of truth for all your policies
  • Easy to use: an intuitive UI that a variety of users can easily use
  • Customer support: access to a friendly, knowledgeable support team 24/7
  • Training: quality resources and support for onboarding and maintenance
  • Access control: powerful search and control over user permissions
  • Acknowledgment: tracking who has received and signed policies
  • Testing: customizable tests to verify employee comprehension
  • Workflows: advanced workflows to collaborate across your organization
  • Smart editing: side-by-side comparison highlighting policy changes
  • Version control: a single version of each policy and archiving functionality
  • Tracking: the ability to track policies across their entire lifecycle
  • Security: protection from internal and external security threats
  • Mobile: ability to access and interact with policies from any device
  • Integration: intuitive integration with your favorite programs

This and more is possible with the right policy management software. But be careful and do your research, because not all platforms are created equal. In fact, very few do everything mentioned above while maintaining ease of use.

PowerDMS is the exception. As the gold standard for policy management, PowerDMS does everything listed in the section above and more.

Sign up for a demo today to learn how PowerDMS can revolutionize policy management at your organization.

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