What you need to do before implementing a compliance management system
Compliance management system implementations are becoming a common sight in the business world but there are a few prerequisites you need to think about if you too are thinking about an implementation. There are several reasons these systems are exploding in popularity. The technology has matured to the point where it is easy to use, it is highly effective and most importantly, it is also now easily affordable even for small to mid-sized organizations.
Every technology has a lifecycle; first we get the idea then a proof of concept, then solutions start trickling in, but they are too expensive for any company aside from a few mega-corporations, and then finally the technology’s cost falls to where every organization can use it. Compliance management systems and other GRC solutions are starting to reach the last stage of the cycle.
Making your organization ready for GRC
Governance, risk, and compliance is not simply a type of software that solves problems; it is a framework that redesigns the process by which compliance and risk are managed. It is possible to use GRC tools like any other software, but that severely limits their functionality and the ROI that your organization expects from acquiring a system. Here are a few steps you need to take before going for a compliance management system.
Know your needs
There are many different types and sizes of compliance management systems and your organization needs to make sure it gets a system which does what it needs. The systems available range from full-scale GRC solutions that handle much more than compliance, to specialized tools that have been made for a specified purpose within one industry.
The best way to do this is to sit down with the compliance department and ask them what their biggest struggles are and to sit down with other departments and ask them what they need from the compliance department. This will tell your organization everything about what the organization needs from the compliance management system. The number of users you have also matters a lot; there are systems which have been designed for thousands of users, and there are systems designed for small organizations. If you are in a small organization, getting a system built for thousands will be overkill and will result in a bad return on investment.
Focus on getting a demonstration and a trial
Once you know your needs, it is time to look for a compliance management system that serves your needs. The best way to select a solution is to get a live demonstration and a trial. Do not judge solutions by looking at their marketing materials – remember that the marketing department in most software organizations has no collaboration with the technology side, and snazzy marketing does not represent product quality.
Companies which are confident in their products will not try to wow you with videos, pictures, and presentations – they will want to impress you by showing you their product and letting you try it.
This also serves another need; it gives you an idea about the length of the implementation period for the compliance management system. If the company only offers a demo on a test server and does not use your data or business case in the demo, it may mean that the implementation period is considerable. This is why trials are the best solution – if a company is willing to offer you a trial period you can be assured that the solution can be implemented quickly and easily. If an organization is willing to implement the system for a free, no-commitment trial, it means that their product will begin serving your needs in just a few months, compared to some solutions which take months to implement.
Determine the scope of the implementation
One of the hardest decisions to make is determining the scope of the implementation. It is possible to implement a solution only for a few compliance officers, and it is also possible to give access to the whole organization. We would recommend going for a scalable solution – something which you can start small and grow if it is working right for your organization. This way your organization does not end up paying for more services than it needs, yet at the same time is not limited by the limited scope of the implementation either, since the system can be grown when needed.