The world of business and regulation today is fast-paced and complex. No matter where an organization is based, the office of its General Counsel is facing increasing regulation and much more responsibility.
The General Counsel themselves are also facing a more complex role. Once the person who was there to fulfill legal duties, such as developing and managing contracts, entity formation, due diligence and so on, the General Counsel is now being called upon to play a greater risk management role, as well as taking a strategic view of the corporate structure.
All of this means the process of entity management is no longer a straightforward matter. As part of the modern governance process, entity management must be performed in a reliable and robust way. Those making strategic decisions about business growth and operations will need access to up-to-date data insights based on the information gathered during the entity management process, and so entity management itself must be driven by strategic objectives.
Any issues in the entity management process — and any failure to define strategic objectives for that entity management — can lead the General Counsel and their team into risk territory. Entity information touches on operational, financial and strategic risk, and even a slight corruption in entity data can have a knock-on impact on how an organization deals with the unforeseen, with market fluctuations and with how it thinks about the bigger picture and its own future.
Data Insights Feed Strategic Objectives
But outside of the risk profile, entity information and entity management play a larger role in how the organization sees itself. Data insights built on entity information help inform overall business strategy, acting as a record of where the company has been and indicating where it might go next.
Those working in entity management have a unique view of the organization’s global obligations, which puts them in a special position to work more strategically — but also means that the entity management process itself must be defined by strategic objectives.
The legal department must consider what data the Board of Directors needs to make their own strategic decisions, as well as what information those under the Board need to be able to perform their day-to-day duties. The General Counsel and the company secretary have become long-term guardians for the business, and as keepers of the corporate record, they must not get bogged down in the daily grind of entity management, instead keeping a firm eye on the data insights that are needed to feed strategic objectives both for the legal department and for the wider company.
The data insights gleaned from strategic entity management information enable fast decisions, supporting quick and decisive action while competitors are fumbling around trying to locate the data they need — essential in a competitive M&A process. They can highlight growth opportunities through the use of visualizations like entity diagramming, and can drive data analysis to help deliver a competitive edge.
Without defining how entity information will be used within the business, though, those in charge of its day-to-day management may miss important details or misunderstand how the information is being used. This is why having strategic objectives in mind for entity management — for how the information will be used within the business, to keep all eyes on the prize — is essential to modern governance.
3 Things to Consider When Buying an Entity Management Platform
While there is now plenty of technology out there to help streamline entity management — from the humble Excel spreadsheet up to fully fledged entity management platforms — not all entity management is created equal. General counsel and legal operations teams must find a provider that understands the challenges they are facing, and that consults with customers to best overcome those challenges through harnessing technology.
When weighing buying a new entity management platform, make sure you ask the provider the following questions.
Who trusts the entity management platform?
As the adage goes, we’re all judged on the company we keep, and entity management platforms are no different. Ask the provider what their client base looks like. Is it trusted by big brands? Is the client base diverse enough to show that the system is flexible? While a niche client base may show that the provider is an expert in your sector, does that give you the flexibility you’ll need as you grow?
How does it integrate with other systems?
Modern governance can be driven by a patchwork of multiple systems and platforms, all of which need to be able to talk to each other to share entity information and essential corporate data. How does the entity management platform you are considering work with other platforms? Or does it offer a complete end-to-end solution as a robust, secure, everything-you-need solution?
Is the provider transparently investing in future development?
Modern governance is always changing — regulations are in flux, the global political environment is not stable, and businesses are trying to find their way in a market that must start to think more carefully about its impact on future generations. In such a market, you need an entity management platform that is both flexible but also future-focused — a provider that is investing in the platform and thinking about what General Counsel will need not just tomorrow, but the next day as well. Something that’s perfect now may quickly become out of date, and as this is a big investment, you need to feel sure the provider is thinking as strategically as you are.
Diligent, a modern governance company, is investing more than any other player in the business to develop solutions to address today’s challenges. Diligent designed the Governance Cloud with the processes of Boards of Directors, executives, general counsel and corporate secretaries in mind — that desire to have a comprehensive array of software tools that are cohesive and connected to fully meet the needs of today’s organizations.
And when you choose an entity management platform that is part of an end-to-end system, it enables much more strategic thinking about entities. Diligent’s entity management software elevates mere entity management to entity governance, with entity data integrating seamlessly with board operations. Organizations can easily and efficiently file the necessary forms electronically to maintain compliance across the board, but also create entity diagrams to enable strategic decisions from quick visualizations.
Modern governance is about delivering the right information to the right people at the right time in the right format; entity management must be built on strategic objectives that both help the organization stay compliant but also help it grow. Get in touch and schedule a demo to see how Diligent’s modern governance software can support your organization to grow strategically.