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4 ways Integrated Risk Management (IRM) dramatically improves compliance and audits

3 minute read

No matter what industry you’re in, many of your core operations are driven by compliance requirements and subject to routine audits. From finance to legal to regulatory, compliance-related obligations often take up huge chunks of your attention and resources. To meet these compliance mandates, your organization has likely developed articulated risk management programs that provide comprehensive governance and controls.

But compliance is not a static target for any organization. Indeed, compliance mandates have increased and diversified exponentially over the past few decades. Most organizations have responded to this ever-increasing complexity by simply adding and layering on more compliance and risk management programs over time. These piecemeal solutions tend to be siloed—both from one another and from other parts of the organization. Over time, they often become outdated, inefficient, and incapable of generating the real-time, integrated insights that modern businesses desperately need.

To modernize governance and compliance programs, organizations are increasingly embracing Integrated Risk Management (IRM). IRM is a governance mindset that calls on businesses to integrate and embed all risk management activities in the fabric of the organization, so risk management obligations don’t become a siloed, piecemeal activity mired in bureaucracy and inefficiency. IRM unifies governance, risk, compliance, and audit initiatives under a single umbrella, then draws upon them collectively to provide a level of insight that is greater than the sum of its parts. Compliance and auditing in particular are much more streamlined and efficient with IRM than with legacy risk management solutions. Let’s explore four key ways that IRM dramatically improves compliance and audits:

 

IRM will reduce your administrative overhead.

Compliance and audit activities in most organizations consist of a disproportionately large amount of paperwork. From static spreadsheets to emails to manually compiled reports, this administrative overhead is burdensome, unwieldy, and prone to human error. IRM challenges the notion that businesses need all of this paperwork to manage compliance.

Instead, IRM gives a business a chance to step back and prioritize compliance-related activities through the lens of risk to the organization. Instead of constantly reacting to the latest compliance requirements, the business looks to integrate and streamline all of its compliance requirements, which dramatically reduces the amount of administrative overhead. One municipality that implemented ServiceNow’s IRM solution reduced the number of risk management-related questions it required its vendors to fill out from 300 questions to just 125, which cut the time to complete the form by two-thirds and enabled the municipality to automate scoring of the responses.

 

IRM will make it much easier and faster to prepare compliance reports.

When most organizations want to review and report on their governance policies and controls, they end up spending copious amounts of time just trying to figure out what policies, controls, and compliance activities the company already has in place. They go down rabbit holes reviewing a wide range of policy documents, controls, and asset inventories—and they do this repeatedly for every compliance report. They never achieve any efficiencies or economies of scale.

IRM dramatically streamlines this laborious process by helping businesses visually map out and manage all of these relationships. For example, when a global company in the professional services industry implemented ServiceNow’s IRM solution, the company quickly mapped 93 authority documents for 63 policies representing 1,348 controls across the organization; this one-time investment permanently enabled the company to run any query across regulatory requirements in a matter of minutes—instead of spending weeks or months to do this task manually.

 

IRM will help you get more value out of routine compliance and audit activities.

In many organizations, compliance and audit activities are a routine, laborious exercise in bureaucracy. Although these activities are necessary and provide some insights, there is typically little thought or strategy that go into making them streamlined or maximally impactful. As a result, businesses glean only a fraction of the insights they could from their compliance and audit activities.

When you invest in a modern IRM platform like ServiceNow’s IRM solution, you gain access to interactive dashboards that do much of the heavy lifting for you in generating reports and analyzing policies and controls. You’re not only able to move much faster, but also to generate more complete, more relevant insights.

 

IRM will monitor for risks between compliance and audit activities.

Organizations routinely use insights from their compliance and audit activities to make key operational and strategic decisions. What this means is that much of their decision-making is based on static snapshots in time, even though risks to an organization can crop up at any time.

An IRM platform like ServiceNow’s enables organizations to stop relying on these static snapshots, and instead embrace real-time monitoring. ServiceNow’s IRM dashboards include interactive indicators and thresholds to help ensure an organization can detect deficiencies with governance and controls between formal assessments.

IRM has the potential to revolutionize the utility and value of compliance and audit activities to an organization. When a business invests in IRM, it becomes poised to reduce administrative overhead, streamline preparation of compliance reports, extract more value from routine compliance and audit activities, and to engage in real-time risk monitoring.

Our implementation approach to IRM emphasizes prescriptive, incremental deployments that minimize risk and deliver wins early and often. To learn more about how Crossfuze can help you leverage IRM to transform your organization’s relationship with compliance and audit activities, please reach out to us at LetsTalk@crossfuze.com.

 

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