An industry-specific GRC solution can give you the clarity you need to handle complexity

6 benefits of using an industry specific GRC solution

Navigating the governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) landscape can be an intimidating process. Thousands of statutes, rules, regulations, and frameworks can affect your company’s compliance posture. These compliance obligations vary from company to company based on the industry you serve, the products you make, and the clients you work with.

For example, manufacturing organizations must comply with regulations set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations while also managing standards such as those from the International Organization for Standardization and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, as well as Control Objectives for Information Technologies. For the financial services market, examples include anti-money laundering rules and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The healthcare and life sciences industries are governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, and the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, to name a few.

Failure to establish standards and implement the proper controls into your organization can result in substantial fines and penalties and might even have a negative impact on your customers.

Many GRC solutions are not designed for a particular industry and provide only the technical infrastructure to support your GRC program. These GRC solutions do not align to your industry’s unique needs. Concurrently, many implementation partners are GRC platform specialists but don’t understand your business. As a result, your organization can end up with configurations that might be technically sound but fail to meet the compliance requirements of your particular industry or business. The deep industry specialization of Crowe coupled with ServiceNow’s industry-focused strategy can help businesses avoid the pitfalls that many other organizations are stuck trying to escape.

By taking the time to think strategically about the proper pathway to manage your compliance program, you might enjoy these six benefits that come with a GRC solution tailored for your industry.

1. Building the right framework makes compliance smarter and more consistent. 

1. Building the right framework makes compliance smarter and more consistent

It’s one thing to follow the right rules, laws, and regulations to avoid a fine or penalty after an audit. It is quite another to make sure that your control framework has been properly woven into each business process to mitigate risk, protect your business, and support your customers. Historically, many organizations would try to achieve regulatory compliance across multiple platforms with multiple tools, and many tasks frequently were performed manually and were mostly inefficient.

Comprehensive GRC tools, such as those offered by ServiceNow’s GRC suite, allow you to:

  • Consolidate rules and regulations in ServiceNow’s authority documents repository
  • Document and maintain a master inventory of control objectives, each mapped to the regulations, allowing for simple compliance reporting per regulation
  • Map control objectives to company policies, standards, and standard operating procedures and verify that those who must follow the policies are aware of the controls required
  • Operationalize the compliance framework by targeting areas of the organization and assigning applicable controls
  • Quickly assess control operations and centralize supporting evidence collection while using issue management functionality for gap resolution

Compliance teams can share thought leadership and expertise that can be woven throughout the business by defining the standards, frameworks, metrics, and regulations that must be adhered to.

2. Eliminating information silos will level out the playing field.

2. Eliminating information silos will level out the playing field

Everyone might not have a clear vision and understanding of how existing rules and regulations affect an entire organization and, more important, daily operations. If teams are working independently, then consistent communication is difficult to maintain. A centralized GRC tool can support the prototypical three lines of defense model for risk management (risk owners or managers, risk control and compliance, and internal audit) and help get everyone on the same page when it comes to evaluating and updating information.

A consistent communication plan also assists with sharing detailed and complex information that might not be commonly known or well documented throughout the company. With a centralized compliance framework, you can implement controls that follow a standard model, assign clear ownership, document procedures for monitoring controls, and safeguard knowledge. That way you can consistently analyze the appropriate processes without sacrificing productivity or remaining dependent on one individual.

3. Closing operational gaps will offer visibility into everything.

3. Closing operational gaps will offer visibility into everything

Your organization shouldn’t dedicate a tremendous number of resources to defining and maintaining your compliance programs – policies, control objectives, standards, and procedures – only to then turn to traditional, manual methods of executing controls across your company. The right GRC capabilities effectively manage the complexities of operationalizing your compliance framework and give visibility and consistency to the organization’s entire compliance landscape. This allows leaders to quickly identify the areas that need to be addressed.

Failure to recognize compliance gaps can leave your business exposed. Gaps might result from inconsistent taxonomies, manual information sharing, duplicate or conflicting data, and the use of nonautomated tools. With a standardized framework, compliance and risk can effectively be tracked or reported in a consistent manner across your business.

4. Gain clarity into the impact of regulatory changes.

4. Gain clarity into the impact of regulatory changes

As new regulations, rules, and laws are put into place, or existing regulations are modified, how do those changes affect your organization?

An effective GRC solution should ease the burden of regulatory change management to enable you to quickly identify the effect a change has on your organization and communicate with the stakeholders that will feel the impact. Regulatory change management removes frustrations that can make it hard to continually mature your organization’s compliance levels by making the flow of compliance changes simple and routine.

5.  Automating workflows provides an opportunity to supercharge efficiency.

5. Automating workflows provides an opportunity to supercharge efficiency

The actual process of implementing a compliance program in a GRC technology platform can be clunky and cumbersome. A one-size-fits-all approach does not always align across industries. A clear, industry-focused strategy supports consistency in your design, implementation, and communication. The right GRC solution will drive adoption and ease the technology angst often felt in transitioning to new technologies.

A properly executed compliance program using ServiceNow’s workflow capabilities can implement continuous monitoring, with alerts and reports to track controls. You must routinely attest to controls. ServiceNow software will automate this entire process and verify that no control is left behind.

6. Moving at your own pace makes implementation easy and cost-effective. 

6. Moving at your own pace makes implementation easy and cost-effective

By taking the time to appropriately think through the entire GRC strategy from start to finish, you will enjoy a swifter implementation process because you have developed the appropriate road map to success. A compliance program should be aligned with other core GRC solutions such as policy, risk management, vendor risk, and business continuity. Centralizing all GRC processes can help with a reduction in the platform cost, allowing processes to be fully integrated directly within ServiceNow software and reduce the time and training costs to manage and maintain multiple tools. Streamlining implementation includes reviewing and analyzing processes so that disparate systems can be integrated seamlessly with one another to allow you to set priorities to hit key business objectives.

Upgraded GRC solutions have the additional bonus of providing an opportunity to replace legacy technologies that might be outdated or too costly to maintain or upgrade. Historically, some companies have tried to save money by taking a more customized approach to corporate compliance, which involved do-it-yourself models that were inefficient and ended up costing more in the long run. Customizing GRC software takes time and resources. Rather than simply trying to get something done to meet compliance, choosing a more centralized GRC solution will allow you to address specific challenges that are unique to your business.

An industry-specific GRC solution provides a window into the risk you are taking.

It delivers a complete picture of the risks a business is taking on a day-to-day basis and allows for future expansion and updates. Once the proper tools and processes are in place, you can have the peace of mind that you are meeting your risk and compliance requirements in a reliable and consistent manner.

Contact us

Crowe has created integrated GRC solutions that use the ServiceNow platform to speed up configuration and help improve GRC processes. Whether or not you are using ServiceNow software for your GRC functions already, the Crowe team of GRC specialists and integrated risk management professionals can help you take advantage of all the possibilities available from ServiceNow.
Jay Reid
Jay Reid
Principal, Consulting