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Navigating the GRC Software Market: Compliance Policy Management Systems

Navigating the GRC Software Market: Compliance Policy Management Systems

Managing organizational Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) is no simple, or low-budget, task. But the use of modern, next-generation, tools and specialist software can remove many of the administrative overheads, and provide additional value to business operations too.

As with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), GRC isn’t something you can buy (it’s something you do), and Compliance and Risk Management tech industries are burgeoning. 

On offer in this growing software ecosystem is a wide range of platforms and tools (mostly SaaS) available to help organizations of all sizes and GRC maturity deliver their GRC (and ESG) programs effectively. 

In fact, there are so many solutions out there, that it can be hard to navigate all the myriad different options and understand how they all come together. Especially as depending on the industry you’re in and your organization’s strategic objectives, some areas will naturally be more important and high priority than others. 

So, here to help you understand the market a little bit more is a quick rundown of how it all fits together – and why a policy management system should always be among your highest priorities.

What is GRC Software?

GRC software is any digital tool or platform that helps an organization to administrate, deliver, and/or report on corporate governance, risk management and compliance practices and performance.

Among the solutions currently on offer, you can get buy tools that help with everything from writing, distributing, and reporting on compliance with policy and procedures; to maintaining detailed audit trails, performance tracking, and providing centralized data that GRC program effectiveness can be measured against.

GRC Software Market Segments

According to GRC 20/20’s 2023 GRC Market Overview, we are currently in the 6th generation of GRC, and with it the need for organizations to consider deploying software at an enterprise scale in a number of key areas, namely:

  • Strategy, Performance & Objective Management
  • Risk & Resilience Management
  • Compliance, Ethics & Obligation Management
  • Policy & Training Management
  • Internal Control Management, Monitoring & Automation
  • Issue Reporting & Case Management
  • ESG Management & Reporting
  • Audit Management, Analytics & Assurance

There are also further segments that focus on the governance, risk management and compliance of specific domains and/or departments, such as IT, Third Party, and Health & Safety GRC.

The top-level segmentation of the GRC market from GRC 20/20 Research, LLC. The broad horizontal bars are solution areas that organizations should consider as enterprise in scope (across departments/functions), while the smaller rectangles are domain/department-specific functions.

Source: GRC 20/20 Research LLC

Policy Management is a crucial component of Corporate Compliance Programs

Policies are the foundations of an effective ESG programThe same can be said of effective GRC programs.

So it stands to reason that one of the most important systems for an organization to have in place is a robust policy management system.

Got ESG? Show Me Your Policies - Webinar Recap

Establishing a culture of compliance

If you’re wondering how to design an effective compliance program, the US Department of Justice’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Program guidelines (updated in March 2023) are well worth a read, providing a great blueprint for what organizations should be looking to achieve (as a minimum) when it comes to their compliance programs. 

Of particular interest is the guidance around Policies and Procedures, which states:

“Any well-designed compliance program entails policies and procedures that give both content and effect to ethical norms and that address and aim to reduce risks identified by the company as part of its risk assessment process…

As a corollary, prosecutors should also assess whether the company has established policies and procedures that incorporate the culture of compliance into its day-to-day operations.”

Let’s not forget that every policy or procedure document is, in its very essence, a risk management document.

When you consider that one of the biggest GRC challenges organizations face is mitigating the risks associated with employees not following internal policies and procedures, it’s easy to understand risk management success is heavily reliant on the success of its compliance training and communication strategy. 

The importance of training and communication

Beyond having the obvious practice of having all the necessary policies and procedures in place, one of the most effective ways an organization can mitigate risk is to ensure that its workforce (and third-party associates) are aware of – and up to date with – those guidelines.

In fact, the effective compliance program guidelines mentioned above, it specifically calls out the need for “appropriately tailored training and communications”:

Excerpt from Section C from the US Department of Justice

Source: US Department of Justice – Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (Updated March 2023)

However, as the purchase and ownership of GRC software usually falls under the remit of Compliance, Risk, IT or Operations Managers, it’s not entirely surprising that the possibility – and potential – of implementing an integrated policy management, training and communication system is often overlooked.

This is especially so as the majority of policy management solutions on the market focus on resolving the policy management side of things, with HR/L&D Managers sourcing their own training and engagement solutions in the form of a Learning Management System (LMS) and/or Learning Experience Platform (LXP).

However, as one of the main challenges faced by Compliance Managers and their HR counterparts is increasing engagement with compliance training, an integrated solution offers a number of benefits.

What to look for in an enterprise-scale Policy Management System

A surprisingly high number of organizations rely on SharePoint for policy management, but whereas this might work as a temporary solution, it simply doesn’t have the capabilities that you need to handle what are often hundreds – if not hundreds of thousands! – of policy and procedure documents.

So, what key features should you look for when sourcing a policy management system?

Some of the key features to look out for in a Policy Management System that are especially useful when it comes to enterprise-scale GRC are:

  • Automation capabilities
  • Workflow management
  • Policy document management 
  • Contextual personalization 
  • Reporting tools 
  • Defensible audit trails 
  • Integration capabilities

Together, these capabilities help organizations to manage and communicate policies more efficiently and effectively, reducing the risk of compliance violations and other policy-related issues, whilst at the same time helping to improve employee performance.

Ekko: Compliance Policy Management, at every scale, everywhere

Unifying intelligent document management with hyper-personalized training and communication tools which also offer additional features to empower and engage employees, as well as continuous monitoring of policy attestation and performance management makes Ekko an increasingly popular platform choice among organizations with large numbers of front-line, deskless, and field-based workforces in sectors such as Healthcare, Energy/Utilities, and Manufacturing.

One of Ekko’s standout features is an AI-powered conversational knowledge bot that helps employees access key policy and procedure information anytime, any place, anywhere. 

Location-based notifications ensure relevant documentation is surfaced for review (and attestation), creating a digital audit trail and updating individual compliance and training records in real-time.

Interested in finding out more? Book a demo today

Andie Coupland

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