6 steps to take on your GRC implementation journey

Jay Reid
6 steps to take on your GRC implementation journey

No two businesses are 100% alike, and no two governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solutions will be identical. How can you be sure you are selecting the right GRC technology to support your business needs? The implementation of new technologies can be a stressful journey. It is important to take the right steps along the way to make sure you understand how to reach your desired destination.

Here are six recommendations that will help you appropriately get the most out of your GRC platform, improve risk management, and maximize the return on your investment in a new GRC platform.

Determine the total value gained by using a centralized GRC platform

1. Determine the total value gained by using a centralized GRC platform

Perform an internal assessment to determine the true value to the organization of centralizing your GRC programs. A review of all existing GRC-related functions and processes needs to be completed to determine what processes will continue to bring value to your organization when a centralized program is implemented. This analysis will help you identify areas where duplicative data is being managed, redundant technologies can be removed, and master inventories of critical data repositories are stored. 

This also is a prime chance to identify the “crown jewels” of your business, which can be anything from the key products and services you offer to your current assets and future profitability prospects, to help you prioritize and focus on the most important areas.

2. Identify operational gaps to prioritize the areas you need to improve

Once you have collected the pertinent data and information about existing GRC processes, you can assess the maturity of each process, evaluate the quality of the data, and locate operational gaps. As you are completing this assessment, you should look for:

  • Missing data 
  • Duplicate processes
  • Duplicate data
  • Manual steps that can be removed or automated
  • Workflows to assist heavily manual areas such as communications, emails, approvals, and reporting

3. Get your team on board with an effectively communicated plan

This step frequently is either ignored or neglected, even though it might be the most important. You should strive to give departments the ability to communicate and report consistently while still allowing them to operate independently. In order to do that, user acceptance is key. The process of building acceptance starts by gathering key leadership positions and making sure they are aligned in relation to your GRC implementation plan and budget. This will establish a top-down focus for the program.

The rest of your team might feel uncomfortable about deviating from the systems and procedures that have been in place for the past five, 10, or 15 years. But a deliberate marketing campaign that outlines the new strategy will help properly inform and prepare your team. You also can provide continual updates to keep both current and future employees on the same page and make sure no one is caught off guard by updates or changes. You might encounter multiple leaders who want to be first in line, but your strategy should help prioritize the proper timing.

Build a strong foundation to support your GRC program

4. Build a strong foundation to support your GRC program

A solid foundation is essential to ensure your GRC program can withstand the test of time. Many organizations will not establish foundational components, which can cause challenges and turmoil later in the project. 

From a GRC perspective, the foundational components are a policy inventory, regulations, risk framework, controls framework, vendor and engagement inventory, and a standardized issues management program. If the key foundational processes are established, then future workflows will more easily align with the business, so the right decision-makers are informed and involved. As a result, reporting also will be standardized.

5. Deploy a standardized GRC implementation across the board

When you implement your GRC strategy, some processes, like issues management, will be used by multiple teams. You should standardize your global processes and rating and scoring criteria across the organization. GRC tools might have the flexibility to allow members of your business to implement unique components to their program, but your GRC committee should be setting a baseline for those areas that drive decisions and reporting.

6. Let the GRC framework evolve and grow after it’s implemented

Completing the initial GRC project is only the beginning when it comes to helping you realize your company’s full potential. The work doesn’t end when a new system is up and running, because your GRC platform will continue to evolve and mature with your organization. Through the duration of your initial GRC implementation, you should create a backlog of ideas and enhancements that your team would like to implement in future phases. Each team should budget for annual enhancements to their individual programs. Regulations change. Business decisions change. Vendors change. And your products and services might expand as a result. These changes can affect your GRC strategy, and it’s vital for you to remain proactive, both internally and externally.

Contact us

By making better decisions during your GRC implementation, you can enjoy success and create long-lasting value. Crowe uses the ServiceNow® platform to deliver a powerful GRC solution. Learn how our experience and expertise can help you successfully implement consistent and reliable GRC tools or schedule a demo.
Jay Reid
Jay Reid
Principal, Consulting