Choosing the best GRC Software [Guide]

Ask any enterprise executive if sales are processed manually or accounts added up by hand, and you’ll be probably get a sideways glance. Automation is considered critical in almost every area of business,such as transaction processing, sales, accounting, and logistics.
However, if you ask the same executive about automating audits and remediation with governance, risk and compliance software, a much different response is likely coming your way. Many executives still use Excel spreadsheets, or have tried to use software tools but their team couldn’t understand the output. Other times, you may just hear an uncomfortable, “We’re working on it.”
It’s understandable – it’s hard to know what the best GRC software for your organization is when you’re used to document-centric processes. Many compliance departments spend so much time and energy struggling to keep up with auditor demands, that revamping their process seems overwhelming. However, as with most business processes, the ROI on GRC automation massively outweighs the costs.


GRC Software keeps you safe and compliant

Governance, Risk and Compliance is a phrase that encompasses an incredibly broad range of processes, controls and oversight functions within an organization. However, GRC software refers specifically to auditory security and compliance within your ERP landscape. GRC software grew up as a concept within SAP Security but it refers to programs that manage, report and remediate risks in other landscapes as well.

The programs at the center of SAP GRC – Access and Process Control are designed to prevent fraud and mistakes by controlling how much access members have, and monitoring business processes for compliance. Regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley require Segregation of Duties (SoD) and other controls to prevent fraud. For example, a worker who can create a vendor shouldn’t be able to pay a vendor, because they could use that combination of roles to fraudulently funnel money out of the organization.

Organizations that don’t use SAP GRC use a document-centric process; they comb through transaction records for irregularity, and attempt to build remediation plans and update security models based on that data. This is incredibly time consuming. It can take months before a transaction is reviewed internally, and months more for the auditor to complete their own review. Additionally, transactions are often “sampled” meaning that only a small fraction are reviewed.

Without adequate security and compliance monitoring, vulnerabilities or outright fraud are rarely spotted quickly, and in many cases, completely slip through the cracks. Document-centric GRC also makes change control and remediation very difficult, often resulting in overly complicated and inefficient security models. This leads to a vicious circle, where organizations struggle through unsuccessful audit after unsuccessful audit until they’re completely overwhelmed.

The best GRC software can give organizations a new start. Herculean document reviews are replaced by continuous, real-time reporting. Libraries full of role definitions are turned into simple, automated rules. Change control is likewise automated, and documentation is linked straight to controls, drastically simplifying remediation.

For the compliance department, the changes are night and day. No one has to review thousands of pages of transaction logs – the system just spits out a report. Audits are completed quickly, and remediation plans can be implemented directly using the controls.

The best GRC software can make future audits even easier. The software continuously monitors the system, allowing speedy remediation of any security and compliance issues that pop up, long before they attract an auditor’s attention.


Choosing the best GRC Software starts with Functional Requirements

As you’d expect, GRC software has three main functions – governance, risk management and regulatory compliance. Governance functions align business processes with organizational business objectives. GRC software should use procedure and process management controls to support business policies.

Controls need to be supported by visibility and reporting functions that are also configured for stakeholder roles. This is one place where a lot of governance, risk and compliance software falls short. Instead of having high-level overviews for executives and technical insights for remediation staff, they bombard all stakeholders with the same output — usually laid out in an idiosyncratic, vendor specific format that’s very difficult to comprehend.

The best GRC software will be designed so that end users can understand what they’re looking at immediately. With tools like SAP Fiori bringing commercial-grade interfaces to business processes, there’s no reason to demand anything less from SAP GRC.

Risk management is facilitated by governance reporting and controls. One of the best GRC software benefits is the ability to automate risk detection and remediation, rather than forcing organizations to wait for auditors to do it. GRC software should alert staff to risks in real-time, provide the reporting to drill down to the cause, and furnish controls to quickly fix the issue.

Because of the close relationship between risk mitigation and compliance, those two functions need to be closely integrated at a software level. User-defined controls alone aren’t enough. In the best GRC software, those controls will be linked to compliance libraries and remediation programs. Look for features that simplify regulatory compliance — for example by allowing you to correlate similar laws across differing regimes to create a consistent, unified GRC program across your organization.

The Best Will Integrate With Your Software

GRC software is tasked with overseeing compliance throughout your ERP landscape, which means it needs to interface with your enterprise applications and provide a standardized framework for analysis, reporting and controls. This enables automation, simplifies workflow and makes it much easier to ensure consistency across the organization.

However, just connecting the pieces isn’t enough. Many GRC programs that do well on functional traits fail to adequately streamline workflow. Tasks like compliance reports still waste time and effort, as compliance teams email reviews and reminders, collect signatures and so on. This makes responding to risks slower and more difficult, and it increases the risk of missed steps or errors along the way.

The Best GRC Software Companies are Customer-Focused

The complexity of GRC software means that you can’t look at the product in isolation. If a vendor offers a program with minimal support, look for a different vendor — one who is ready to give your team the support it needs for a successful implementation. Unless they’re ready to help you completely revamp your regulatory compliance program, they’re not ready to provide the software.

Because the reality is, most manual GRC programs are a mess. There’s a good chance that your compliance department is like a cluttered garage, packed with confusing reports, failed remediation programs and excessively complex security models. Before you can streamline and automate it, you need to clear out the clutter — and that requires a partner, not just a vendor.