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7 Questions to Ask Before Selecting your GRC Solution

Haim Halpern
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This content is brought to you by Datricks whose technology helps CFOs, internal auditors and procurement teams automatically understand and gain full visibility into their internal processes, including related anomalies, suspicious activity and deviation from best practices.

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Governance, Risk management, and Compliance (GRC) technology operates across an organization and includes different functionalities that together help identify risk and guarantee regulatory compliance. GRC tech solutions enable organizations to run smoothly on many levels by replacing elaborate and often clumsy manual procedures with automated tools. GRC technology has become quite popular in recent years, especially following growing amounts of strict regulation and market demands. As compliance became more and more demanding, organizations needed a solid solution to monitor it across departments.  

According to Gartner,  GRC tech solutions can be roughly categorized in the following manner:

  • Finance and Audit focused solutions – Including workflow and internal audit management, as well as documentation and reporting
  • IT focused solutions – helping align information technology procedures with the organization’s business goals
  • Enterprise Risk focused solutions – helping assess and manage risk and compliance levels. 

Regardless of the category you’re interested in, choosing a GRC solution is a difficult task, as it will impact many workflows and outcomes across your organization. To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a list of 7 questions you should be asking before selecting your GRC technology. Here goes..

Question #1: What is the visibility level offered by the GRC system?

You cannot improve what you cannot see. Visibility is the key to everything here, because it will determine just how deep into procedures and bottlenecks you’ll be able to dive. We like to think of visibility as something that’s being built in layers. The first, more basic but also critical layer allows you to view and understand exactly how your internal processes currently work. The second layer will detect suspicious activity and alert you when anomalies and deviations take place. The ability to study your processes and understand what should and shouldn’t occur is as fundamental as it gets, serving as the basis for creating solid investigation and mitigation capabilities. 

Question #2: What is the solution’s time-to-value?

We’ve been taught that manual GRC procedures take a long time. They include a thorough due-diligence process that basically studies every component of the organization and compares it to common industry knowledge and benchmarks, among many other things. In fact, the ironic reality is that some of these procedures take so long that they become almost irrelevant by the time they’re completed. This is not the case for GRC technology. Far from it. Your expectations will not be the least bit unrealistic if you asked that the solution will be up and running, providing actionable real-time alerts and insights within a matter of days.  

Question #3: Is the solution user-friendly?

In the case of GRC technology, usability equals visibility, because you are meant to be operating the system independently and without having to turn to dedicated experts for help in set up or continuous operation. The UX/UI of the system must be intuitive and clear, and you should be provided with both training materials and around-the-clock support. Otherwise, you might end up with an incredibly smart system that you simply cannot use. 

Question #4: How easy is the onboarding and implementation process?

While this may be considered part of the system’s overall usability level, we felt that it deserves its own question. You need to fully understand the implementation process; who would be involved on your team and on the provider’s end; how long it should take for you to be able to operate everything on your own, and more. When calculating the cost of the system, you should also take into consideration the time and staff involved in setting everything up. If the company’s CFO is involved, for instance, this may greatly influence other company needs. Onboarding procedures should be added to your overall time-to-value calculations in order to paint a clear picture and enable an informed decision. 

Question #5: What is the technology-consulting mix? 

Today, there are different types of available GRC technologies, and the level of human involvement each one requires varies from heavy to almost non-existent. Do your research to find out if the system you consider onboarding is fully automated or requires that dedicated consultants stay involved in defining, customizing and operating the system, continuously scoping information or analyzing insights. Learn what percentage of the work is done automatically by the technology itself without any human touch. This will shed light on time and cost evaluations, as well as inform you on the risk of human error and bias. When asking this question, keep in mind that a fully automated system absolutely exists (Datricks offers one) and don’t let anyone convince you that human involvement is mandatory. 

Question #6: What features does the GRC solution include? 

The right features and functionalities are what separates good systems from great. There are a few specific features worth focusing on when selecting a GRC solution: 

  • Visibility features: Did we talk enough about visibility already? Dashboards, reports, and analytic tools, oh my! An audit-ready approach is reflected in these features and you want to make sure that the information they feature is accessible and clear. Otherwise, the effectiveness of the entire process should be questioned. Use a demo account and ask to see sample reports, so you can closely examine them before making a decision. Focus on issues such as financial statement preparation, segregation of duties (SOD), and more.  
  • Scalability: Organizations that need a strong GRC solution are often relatively large and complex, which means that scaling is not only possible but inevitable. Make sure your system of choice can handle the pressure you currently have as well as your growth plans. Focus on multiple data sources, the overall data volume, and your organizational structure. The more automated the system is, the more likely it is to easily face any challenge.
  • Explainability: It’s not enough for the system to alert you when something’s wrong, you need to receive root cause explanations and mitigation recommendations as well. Find out how the system intends to complete the cycle and contribute to real time problem solving. 
  • Risk scoring: A lot can happen in a single second, especially when large and complex organizations are in question. Your selected system should be able to prioritize risks and you need to fully understand how this scoring mechanism is done. Learn which risk scoring method is used by the system and make sure that it fits your agenda and can be customized for your specific needs.   

Question #7: How well does the GRC system communicate with other solutions?

This is an important question whenever you decide to introduce a new technology solution, because it will determine the level of necessary adjustments in order for all existing and new solutions to communicate and work together in perfect synergy. This includes easily implementing changes, extracting information, managing interdependencies, and more. Whether you work with SAP, Oracle or Microsoft Dynamics 365. Investigate the integration and communication level for each one of your existing solutions, as well as industry-leading ones you may choose to work with in the future. 

How does Datricks stack up?

When creating Datricks, we asked ourselves the above questions and more. We wanted to make sure that the solution we build is intuitive, accessible, and 100% automated. Today, we help finance and internal audit and control departments map, understand and gain full visibility into their internal processes, fully relying on technology, making cumbersome, long consulting projects a thing of the past. This means that internal risks and compliance issues are identified in real time and can be dealt with siwftly  This includes anomalies, suspicious activity, deviation from best practices, loss recovery and more. We invite you to learn more about our solution here.  

Summary

There are so many elements to choosing the best GRC solution for your organization, and many more questions must come to mind. This is a process that absolutely depends on your specific business conduct and needs, so naturally any additional queries that are relevant to you should be added. Don’t forget to also address the more obvious questions like: different business models, vendor reputation, case studies and customer recommendations. 

Much like the issues they’re meant to deal with, GRC solutions are to be taken seriously and choosing the right one requires an audit of its own, which unfortunately isn’t automated just yet. Choose wisely!

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