Blog | December 10, 2020 4 MINS

Why Policy Management Systems Aren’t What You Think They Are

Policy management systems have been a key Human Resource and Legal resource for years now. But the overall programs have yet to scale and integrate into broader business strategies for many organizations. Having an integrated policy management program is a foundational element to your governance, risk, and compliance strategy. With the right policy management systems in place, organizations can set the appropriate guidelines to educate stakeholders on best practices to reduce risk throughout the business, in addition to establishing a tone for corporate culture, and an ongoing reference for appropriate code-of-conduct.  

 Given that your corporate policies provide a central reference for essential risk management initiatives, your policy management systems need to be as dynamic as your ever-changing business. Often businesses treat policy management as an ad hoc function rather than a key component of an integrated GRC.   

Register for the webinar: 10 Steps to Reinforce Compliance Through Policy Management on January 7th 

Problems with Static Policy Management Systems  

Any organization’s policy management strategy has unique needs for development, distribution, and ongoing monitoring of policiesThis objective requires significant coordination across the business, But often policy management systems are not designed or integrated in a collaborative fashion. When policy management systems are left to static systems and relegated to use by  siloed functionsengaging with the rest of your business becomes a real challenge. The lack of having an integrated policy management system often results in limited visibility and access across the business.  

Static policy management system characteristics: 

  • Policies managed in flat document repositories and file shares 
  • Policies without structured lifecycle management 
  • Policies that do not trace events where exceptions were made or incidents occurred 
  • Policies that fail to cross-reference standards, rules, or regulations 

Problems as a result of static, ad-hoc, and siloed processes: 

  • Reactive and inefficient training programs 
  • Policies that do not adhere to a consistent style 
  • Rogue and out of date policies 

How To Implement an Integrated System

Facilitating collaboration is one of the great benefits that integrated policy management systems offer. A key reason to have policies is to reduce your risk exposure – whether this is an internally identified risk or the risk of non-compliance with external mandates. Having all the right people in sync within your policy development process is one the areas that can benefit from cross-team collaboration. Enhancing collaboration, visibility, and access can help you get ahead of the risk that could be dangerous to your business. 

Policies need to be treated like a living breathing document that evolves as the business grows and the risk landscape shifts  Integrated policy management systems enables mapping policies directly to other GRC processes, such as compliance and audit. Mapping these functions together creates symbiosis within GRC processes by having your policies guide risk and compliance and by giving you tangible metrics on policy performance.   

This link provides a two-way mirror into policy adoption. From the policy, we can examine how well this activity is being performed, how this control is implemented, and how effective is it? From a risk and compliance perspective, we can look at instances where risk has recently increased or where the control is ineffective and review the policy. We can evaluate whether the policy covers the scope of what we are trying to mitigate and if the language clear with a practical application?  

Register for the webinar: 10 Steps to Reinforce Compliance Through Policy Management on January 7th 

An integrated policy management system is essential to ensuring that your business can simplify and streamline collaboration across stakeholders. To support a complete policy management lifecycle, you need the ability to monitor policies in context to your business activities and risk exposure. Integrating your policy management system into your entire organization empowers you to efficiently measure policy performance, collaborate, and access policies.  

Further reading on policy development:  

Next steps on supporting your policy development:  

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