What should financial firms be looking for in a modern GRC platform?

Most financial firms are using some form of tool or platform to manage crucial processes relating to risk management and compliance – having consigned outdated spreadsheet-based processes to the past. However, GRC platforms come in a variety of formats and offer different levels of functionality and configurability. Many financial firms are stuck on older legacy GRC platforms with custom implementations leaving them lacking the latest functionality and integrations available in modern GRC platforms. This reliance on outdated tools leaves firms unable to scale and mature their GRC programmes.

In this blog we delve into some of the exciting functionality available in the latest cloud-based GRC platforms that is supporting financial firms to meet their complex and often mandatory GRC requirements. 

What makes modern GRC platforms different from their legacy counter parts?

Here are just a few of the reasons why modern cloud-based GRC platforms outshine their legacy counterparts…

Automated Updates – Modern cloud-based SaaS platforms are constantly receiving patches and updates ensuring the latest functionality is always available to the end users.

Easily Accessible – These platforms are available online – meaning they can be accessed from anywhere – making it easy for teams in different locations to collaborate.

Highly Configurable – Legacy bespoke GRC implementations often required work from the vendor to make changes to fields, dropdowns, workflows, and reporting formats. However, the latest modern platforms offer a whole host of best-practice templates, forms, workflows, and reports – straight out-of-the-box. These can easily be configured and customised by the client themselves – cutting out time and costly implementation fees.

Cost Effective – These platforms offer subscription-based models – reducing upfront costs and bespoke configuration fees.

Enhanced Security – Cloud providers typically offer a high level of security compared to localised solutions – offering data encryption, compliance with industry standards, and backups & data recovery options.

What core functionality should I look for in a GRC platform?

GRC platforms offer a whole range of different functionality to manage governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) so it is important for an organisation to scope out their requirements to ensure they select a platform that will meet their needs – both now and in the future.

Here are some key features to look out for – as you begin to compare platforms:

Unlimited Risk Registers & Types – Many modern organisations are made up of various departments and even subsidiary companies making it hard to get a consolidated view of risk at both a department level and across the entire enterprise. Be sure to look for platforms that offer unlimited risk registers, risk categories, and risk types. This gives individual teams & departments the option to have their own risk areas and create their own risk assessment forms & controls based on their specific needs. Using this structured approach, management can view risk at a department level, group entity level, and across the entire enterprise. This makes it easier to understand the most critical risks and set controls & allocate budget to mitigate them. When you are structuring your risk framework, remember to consider structure entities, business services, sister organisations, partners & affiliates, locations, and risk areas. Breaking down risk by area and type provides confidence to the EMT and can drive decisions around mergers & acquisitions and support strategic decision making.

Fully Mapped Control Library – Every risk that is deemed serious enough to be on the risk register should be backed up with sufficient controls to mitigate it. Look for a GRC platform that enables you to map risks to multiple controls and vice versa to enable you to easily monitor, risks, controls, and control effectiveness.

API Integrations – Risk related data is everywhere, and these days most companies want to integrate their GRC platform with other company systems and data sources like spreadsheets to pull in relevant data to monitor risk levels. Therefore, firms should look for cloud-based platforms with APIs that can pull relevant data into and out of the platform – ensuring a single source of truth.

Permissions Hierarchy – In a GRC platform you don’t necessarily want all staff to see EVERYTHING! A front-line staff member whose responsibility it is to complete a regular risk assessment or perform a control check doesn’t need to see the entire risk register. Similarly, a department or regional lead may not need to see risk data outside of their areas. So, choose a platform that enables you to implement a complex permissions hierarchy that can be tailored based on role, responsibilities, location, or department. Taking this approach will ensure all staff have their own dashboard with their specific actions, tasks, and key metrics.

Simple to Configure – Choose a platform that offers best-practice templates, forms, and reports that are highly configurable. This will enable you to amend fields, dropdowns, reports, and workflows to suit any individual needs – without costly, time-consuming professional services fees. 

Compliance Templates – If compliance is a top priority, look for a platform that offers best practice workflows to manage specific regulations – out-of-the-box. Regulations like GDPR, NIST, PCI DSS, and ISO 27001 are widely used and many GRC platforms offer templated workflows that your organisation can use to become compliant with a whole host of regulations.

Regulatory Horizon Scanning – For firms looking to manage compliance requirements, look for platforms that offer integrations with third-party regulatory content providers. This enables you to receive notifications of upcoming regulatory changes and prepare in advance. Regulatory updates are converted into plain English with actionable insights which can be easily linked to the relevant business processes and owners, providing a complete end-to-end regulatory change workflow.

Alignment of Risk with Enterprise Performance & Strategic Objectives – Modern organisations realise that aligning risk with both enterprise performance and strategic objectives is the best way to ensure long-term success. This enables firms to take risks that will contribute to achieving their strategy and improve enterprise performance and avoid risk that will likely have a negative impact on these areas. Choose a GRC platform where you can map out your strategic goals & objectives and break them down into smaller projects, actions, and tasks – and allocate them out across the business for completion. This will enable leaders to track performance and ongoing progression.

Multiple Reporting Outputs – As you scope out a platform it is important to consider what reports and data you will want to extract from the platform. Look for platform that offer multiple reporting outputs including static reports, live dashboards, bow tie analysis, heatmaps, Power BI drillable reports and even executive level dashboards that can be viewed by board members and external stakeholders that don’t use the GRC platform but still need access to live data.

Mobile App – Many ‘risk related’ tasks like ‘risk assessments’ and ‘control checks’ will be performed by frontline staff outside of the risk team. Therefore, looking for a platform that can be accessed online or offers a mobile app should be a priority for companies who need to collect risk data from employees in the field.

Scalability – Choose a platform that can scale and mature as your organisation grows and expands. You might not need all of the functionality the GRC platform can offer right away, but you might in the future, choose a platform that offers multiple use cases across risk, compliance, governance, audit, strategic planning, ESG, project management, operational resilience, incident management, and health & safety, this gives you the option to add more functionality as and when you need it without implementing multiple platforms that don’t integrate well.

Modern GRC platforms are user friendly and intuitive to use and offer a fast user experience with sub second click times and zero buffering. They bring a wealth of automation and integrations – cutting out laborious admin tasks – leaving risk teams with more time to analyse data and make meaningful changes.

A great way to compare GRC platforms is to reference the Forrester WaveTM Governance, Risk & Compliance platforms Q4 2023 report. The experts at Forrester have compared the top 15 GRC platforms currently in the market and ranked them based on their functionality, market share, and customer reviews. Access the report here.

If you are considering upgrading to a more modern GRC platform that will enable you to scale and mature your GRC programme and streamline and automate laborious admin processes, request a demo of the Camms platform today.

Daniel Kandola

Vice President, EMEA

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