What is policy management software, and how does it help?

Policy Management Software is a tool for hosting, distributing, and tracking crucial policy and procedure content, helping increase trust and efficiency.

December 29, 2020

Article highlights

A robust and comprehensive set of policies and procedures lay the foundation for any business and plays a crucial role in organizational success.

Together, policies and procedures guide your organization and reduce your company’s liability risks. They promote consistency throughout your business – both for employees and for customers – and establish internal and external expectations.

The problem? The ever-changing laws, regulations, and compliance best practices can make it incredibly difficult to keep your policies up to date.

More importantly, failing to do so means failing to keep employees aware of and following the most up-to-date information. This does the opposite of what your policies were designed to do.

When employees do their jobs based on out-of-date information, your company faces an increased risk of non-compliance, which can lead to lawsuits, fines, penalties, scandals, injuries, and more.

What is policy management software?

With the challenges of keeping policies up to current, accessible, and trackable, you might be looking for a more modern solution.

The easy answer? Leverage technology to automate and simplify the policy management process.

You might be wondering what is policy management software?

Policy management software is a tool for hosting, managing, distributing, and tracking crucial policy and procedure content to help organizations increase trust and efficiency.

A policy management solution can help you create policies, review and approve them, make them available to staff, and track that employees have received copies for liability mitigation.

Still have questions? You're not alone. Discover the top five FAQs that many others had while researching policy management software, and the answers.

How does policy management software benefit your organization?

If you’d like to ditch your disjointed or cumbersome policy management system in favor of a robust, modern tech solution, it would help to know how policy management software would benefit your company. In a nutshell, it can save you and your company time, effort, and money.

Your exact ROI will be different for each solution. But it's important to consider all factors, such as value on investment (VOI), when making your decision. For example, can you put a price tag on the money you'll save on potential lawsuits, damage to reputation, more efficient processes, employee accountability, etc.? 

The right solution should be able to pay for itself within a matter of years and protect your organization, staff, and community. Learn more about the ROI and VOI of policy management software

Central location for all your policies and procedures

When employees need the right information at the right time, it can be difficult to find the most up-to-date policy information.

Printed manuals get out of date quickly, sometimes making the information obsolete by the time employees need it. Emails are searchable, but only if employees have saved the most recent copy. If they haven’t, they’re accessing outdated policies they find in older emails. And shared folders do typically give access to the correct policies, but it might not be clear which specific policy is in question. Plus, they are often difficult to access when not on the local network.

So, even if you are using some level of technology for your policy management system, it is easy to see how things can slip through the cracks with these methods.

However, by utilizing a policy management software, you can store all of your policies in a secure, central location – creating a single source of truth.

This means employees always know where to go to find the right information, saving them time and frustration hunting down manuals or searching through emails. They can quickly search for and find the information they need, and it’s accessible from any internet-enabled device, including mobile phones.

They don’t need to be at their desk to access the information, which is important when they are out in the field and need to get their hands on key content right away.

The better policy management solutions store more than just policies and procedures. They store a variety of file types including JPGs and PNGs for images, MP3 or MP4 for audio, and MP4 and MOV for video. Learn more about the types of content you can manage with policy software.


Improve policy communication

If employees never here about policies until a problem pops up, you aren’t doing enough to communicate the value and importance of these documents. A policy management software allows you to send an automated notification every time a policy has been changed and when it’s time for an annual review.

The software will automatically notify employees when an important company compliance event is occurring (such as an audit or accreditation review). All of this automation ensures employees know the most current information without you needing to remember to notify everyone.

By improving communication, it increases the value and importance of policies for employees. They better understand how policies relate to their jobs, why these policies matter, and what has changed from previous versions. All of this leads to better compliance throughout the organization.

Easy policy collaboration

Policies typically run across multiple people’s desks before they get implemented. Subject matter experts, department heads, executives, general counsel, and more – many people need to work together to create policies and procedures and change them as needed.

Doing this via email or even online word processors can make this collaborative process difficult. It is often unclear who has made what change, what concerns others have, and exactly who signed off on which change and when. There are just too many moving pieces in the policy creation (and modification) process to rely on such a disjointed approach.

To no one’s surprise, this method creates unnecessary delays in the process and easily increases the likelihood that a few steps will be missed or forgotten altogether.

Policy management systems give you tools to automate the review and approval processes through repeatable, consistent workflows.

Not only can you can track all of the changes, but you can also leave comments, get notifications when something is waiting for your review, and get accurate approval confirmation before proceeding to the next step. Best of all, these steps can be reused over and over again, so you always know the right people have seen and signed off on the changes before they go live.

This approach guarantees you never miss a step.

Document control and security

Not every employee needs to see every policy. In fact, in some highly regulated industries, not every employee is legally allowed to see every policy or document from a company.

For instance, you wouldn’t want to give a lower-level employee access to upper-management-level documents that they can modify or delete. That document-level security is difficult with most shared drives or cloud-hosting platforms, which are designed to make everything available to everyone.

With a policy management software, document control and security are baked right into the solution. You can control not only who can access each document but also what level of access they have, such as viewing, editing, approving, or even removing the document from the system.

Policy management software is built to reduce your liability. To do so, you need robust security options that you control and that you can be sure to give the right access to the right employees every time.

Tracking compliance

A crucial element of risk management lies in your ability to track who has seen and signed a policy.

Too often, companies rely on manual methods such as paper sign-off sheets, spreadsheets, or even email read receipts – none of which are enough to hold employees accountable.

A policy management solution allows you to easily track every step of this process. You will know when employees got notified of a policy or change, when they opened the document, and when they electronically signed the policy.

This gives you the security of being able to prove you did everything you could to inform the employee of the policy. And you can also prove that employees acknowledged the company’s expectations on their end

By using policy management software, it greatly reduces the liability for you if and when a policy violation occurs in the future.

Robust version controls

In some cases, you not only need to prove that an employee signed a policy, but you need to prove the specific wording of the policy at the time they signed it.

If you work in an industry where information constantly changes, this can be difficult prove. But not with a policy management software. The robust version control will allow you to pull up the exact version that an employee signed to prove the wording on that specific date.

Obviously, this helps for compliance tracking. But it also helps to know that policy management software makes only the most current version available to employees. This means you won’t need to keep hidden folders or other workarounds.

Instead, the previous revisions live inside the policy management software but remain protected from public consumption until you need them

Paperless processes

The environmental and financial costs of using paper continues to make businesses rethink their printing needs. The cost of printing and storing paper continues to rise, causing many companies to transition their traditionally printed documents to digital format.

Some experts estimate each employee uses 10,000 sheets of paper every year. This adds up to approximately $800 per employee per year. In a time when companies need to watch the bottom line, this high cost might offer an opportunity to save money.

Plus, the environmental impact will make you wince.

Experts estimate that the typical employee uses roughly 1.2 trees worth of paper each year. This adds up to approximately 10,000 pieces of paper each year, with much of it ending up in the landfill. Factor in the pollution costs in manufacturing and transporting paper and the toxic chemicals from discarded ink cartridges that can leach into the soil and water and you get the picture.

By moving your policies to a policy management software, you can save all of the paper, toner, and storage costs associated with paper policy manuals. Plus, you can join the growing ranks of organizations of all sizes taking a more sustainably responsible business approach.

At PowerDMS, we know that our average customer reduces the number of printed pages by approximately 325,000 sheets of paper, which equals about $9,775 per customer in savings.

Not to mention, that is more than 100,000 trees that PowerDMS users have saved using our software, which is great for all of us.

Maintain essential operations

Cloud-based policy management software like PowerDMS helps you maintain essential operations when disaster strikes.

Natural disasters (fire, flooding, tornado, etc.), cyberattacks, and pandemics can put a stop to business operations.

How is your organization distributing and tracking important updates with a remote workforce in the middle of a pandemic? How does it communicate job-critical information to officers in the field, or doctors on the go, when the network is compromised due to a malware attack? How do you prove compliance or hold employees accountable to policies when paper documents are ruined in a natural disaster?

Learn how the City of Durham and Durham PD used PowerDMS to maintain key operations during a malware attack and pandemic.

powerdms-assets-photos-450-it (1)

How to get started

Related Article

Footer CTA Image

Download your copy of the report

Download The Future of Policy & Compliance Management report.

How does your organization compare? Get your copy today.

Download the Report

Schedule a Consultation!

Everything you need to train, equip, and protect your public safety employees in a single system – from the moment they’re hired until they retire. Schedule a consultation to learn how PowerDMS can benefit you.