April 4, 2018

Here’s what you need to know about Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)

What does GRC stand for?
The governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) platform outlines the software systems which enable, often publicly listed, organizations to integrate and manage operations subject to regulation. This allows organizations to pursue a systematic, organized approach to managing GRC-related strategy and implementation.
What is a GRC platform?
Key features of a GRC platform include the data being stored in a single location, moving away from ‘silos’, to monitor and enforce rules, regulations, and procedures. When successfully installed, GRC software enables organizations to manage risk, reduce costs, and minimize complexity for managers.
Implementations usually have to coordinate data capture from multiple departments, including business, IT, security, compliance, and auditing. Data analytics, and dashboards aid in combining the information from all these departments to showcase the most relevant data and extract the meaning out of the numbers to positively influence the decision-making process.
This is especially useful when these tools allow administrators to identify risk exposures, measure progress towards quarterly goals, or quickly pull together an information audit.
Supporting the pursuit of good governance, which is defined as effective, ethical management of an organization at the executive level, is setting measurable objectives. This can be achieved by collecting the right data to analyze and reassessing existing risk management procedures.
Why use a GRC Platform?
Each organization may have different reasons for implementing a GRC Platform, yet the common reasons why this helps in your risk management:
1. Centralize Your Program In One Place
Risk is a company-wide issue and it’s important to have a pro-active process, in a single location that involves all areas in your business.
2. Identify Problems Before They Can Happen
Using risk registers and reporting, you can analyze the riskiest areas of your business instantly and mitigate against them before they happen.
3. Integrate Risk Management Frameworks Against All Processes & Controls
With a highly customizable solution, you can incorporate ISO Frameworks (as well as industry-specific best practices) into your regular decision making to of course reduce risk and improve performance.
4. Take Action

When a risk or compliance issue is identified, assign actions to remedy the risk, monitor progress, and elevate the issue throughout the organization with workflow.

Which stakeholders would the GRC apply to?
Each software platform is designed with the end-users in mind, which in this case would include the following stakeholders:
  • Business executives that need to identify and manage risk
  • Finance managers assigned to meet regulatory compliance requirements
  • Legal counsels grappling with discovery and records retention
  • IT directors managing software installations related to GRC projects across an organization
Data retention and risk management procedures mandated by global, national, and regional acts and bodies have all put the pressure on administrators to coordinate organization-wide tracking and compliance measures. Consequently, the GRC software category has quickly become a highly contested space between industry players.
Further research
Another study, Worldwide Governance, Risk, and Compliance Software Forecast, 2017-2021, by the International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates for the governance, risk, and compliance software market for 2015-2021.
Increased interest around managing reputation risks, data privacy concerns, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance suggest that the GRC software market continues to have significant growth opportunities among new industries.
This statement by Angela Gelnaw, senior research analyst for Legal Risk and Compliance Solutions, describes the anticipated future and value in GRC technology, and the areas expected to be predominantly focused on:
“Successful GRC vendors are developing more intuitive and configurable platforms, providing expanded integration and content options, and focusing on user engagement through automated reporting, alerting, and mobile accessibility.”
GRC for the future
GRC has slowly developed over the past 15 years, heeding the consumer’s voice, the business’s reputation, and ethical conduct only when scandal manifests. But the rate of social and technological change is too high for risk to be managed retroactively anymore.
In order to comply with the changing climate in which risk abounds, GRC solutions must account for the consumer. How can this be achieved?
In the Forrester report, some recommendations are made for better enterprise risk management, which we agree will lead to a new and better approach to GRC:
1. Work with marketing peers to understand your customers’ expectations. Consumers are speaking out, and it’s always been the job of marketers to listen. This means that your organization’s marketing department is one of the best resources for the board and risk managers to determine what matters to their customers, and therefore what potential risks could relate to future business conduct.
2. Create transparency for your business before your customers create it for you. Once again, consumers are talkative, and they have the means to expose any and all wrongdoings before you can even bat an eyelash. Companies are better off building a culture of responsibility into every area of their business and being vocal about it.

3. Add reputational risk to all risk assessments so you can work proactively to mitigate any risks that pose a threat to your company’s hard-earned reputation. Again, the reputational risk doesn’t exist in any one silo. Take an enterprise risk management approach to ensure reputational risk is being managed across silos.

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