GRCential’s risk professionals have helped multiple clients across a wide variety of industries transform their Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) programs from either non-existent or ad-hoc in nature to fully managed, measured and further optimized. Helping organizations mature from disorganized processes to a state of defined processes that are followed and automated is a transformative event in the lifecycle of an organization and has many benefits, including reduced costs, lowered risks, and improved performance.
As we’ve traveled this path a few times, we’ve seen some recurring themes that others can use as guideposts on their journey to GRC maturity. Here are eight techniques we’ve identified as critical to a successful GRC transformation.
1. Define Governance.
Senior leadership and executive management should be fully engaged in identifying and formally communicating risk roles and responsibilities. A formal hierarchy of personnel responsible for risk, with enhanced job descriptions, should be a part of the GRC program. This will clarify and highlight the persons responsible for assessing and addressing risk at the organization, and perhaps most importantly, will outline the authority structure for how risk related decisions will be made. Once roles are assigned, leadership should work to identify new and changing risk factors, the impact those risks have on business strategy, how risk is assessed and the overall GRC plan.
2. Keep it Constant.
Risk analysis and assessment activities should be continuous and a regular part of decision making. Risks are ever changing, and risk assessment should be both continuous to keep up with the changing risk landscape, and should be as efficient as possible to maximize coverage. Leadership should be highly familiar with the their eGRC software solution and able to regularly update and enhance their risk data. The change management and policy making lifecycles are two low-effort, high-impact assessment areas to include risk steps that will raise executive awareness of GRC on a fairly constant basis.
3. Coordinate GRC Strategy with Business Strategy.
Due to quickly changing technologies and increased competition in the marketplace, today’s business environment requires frequent changes to business strategy to ensure achievement of goals. GRC should always align with, and be driven by, business strategy. To remain relevant, swift changes within the GRC function and eGRC capabilities must be made to keep up with agile business strategies.
4. Recognize Internal Culture.
Bold, strong leaders drive an organization’s culture and process change. Because of this, it is imperative to consider the personnel responsible for the “tone at the top”, and their influence on the entire organization. Transforming an eGRC program from reactive to proactive – ad-hoc to optimized – is a significant shift in organizational behavior. A positive attitude by leadership toward the eGRC changes will enhance the culture of the entire organization.
5. Manage Expectations.
Transforming GRC is not an instantaneous process. True and effective transformation takes time. To raise the visibility of the GRC program, it is important to provide clear communication of eGRC product roll-out timelines and regular status reports. GRC implementation project leadership often focuses on getting some “quick wins”, which certainly are important. For the momentum to be sustainable, however, setting realistic and measurable goals will allow the program managers to address any identified deficiencies before they become an issue and will set the program up for success from the start.
6. GRC is a Business Process.
Run the GRC program and the eGRC solution as any other business unit and treat the users as customers. A priority of an optimized GRC program is to provide the organization with a valuable service. In order to do that, customers should be able to request services they want and provide feedback on their level of satisfaction.
7. Go All In!
Transforming the GRC program from ad-hoc to optimized takes commitment, however there is great reward. It’s unfortunate how many GRC programs suffer from leadership turnover and untimely changes of direction. Make bold, tough decisions and stress the importance of leaders and staff embracing the change and committing to the challenge.
8. Positive Marketing.
Communicate successes throughout the GRC transformation. Benchmark the “before” and “after” results. Speak highly and communicate often the progress being made to the enterprise leaders and the eGRC users.
A GRC program and eGRC platform in the optimizing state of maturity can transform an organization. The professionals at GRCential have 25+ combined years of experience providing valuable GRC services and helping organizations like yours achieve the benefits of a mature GRC program.