Risk & Strategy
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The Diligent team
GRC trends and insights

Better together: How GRC tech integration delivers value-added efficiency

February 20, 2024
0 min read
An overhead view of three people sitting around a table in an office, discussing GRC tech integration

In an economy that seems to defy norms and forecasts, today’s businesses are under constant pressure to streamline and rationalize. But smart leaders know that slowing down isn’t an option.

In the first blog in this series, we detailed why vendor consolidation provides a proven strategy for achieving cost efficiencies while still accelerating growth. 

Here, we’ll focus on why governance, risk and compliance (GRC) systems present a prime target for cost-effective and value-added tech consolidation.

Reining in GRC tech proliferation

Unsurprisingly, most organizations have developed an assortment of individual solutions and specialty technologies to cover rapidly evolving and expanding GRC needs — from growing cyberthreats to emerging technologies to new regulations that seem to pop up on a daily basis.

This makes GRC technologies an ideal target for consolidation strategies. Looking at the number of tools and vendors in the typical GRC stack, it’s easy to find quick-win opportunities to eliminate redundancies and realize cost savings.

But vendor consolidation can do more than cut costs. GRC integration is a strategy that can also deliver key business outcomes.

“According to Forrester, on average Fortune 500 companies have six risk management platforms. And that’s after the last few years, where we’ve all been consolidating solutions and vendors. The biggest issue here is that with six solutions, you don’t communicate properly, and when you don’t communicate properly, it’s impossible to see the bigger picture.” — Renee Murphy, Distinguished Evangelist, Diligent

Enabling a comprehensive approach to risk management

Complexity is the enemy of risk management. To make a mechanical analogy: More moving pieces = more things that can break. From a security and risk standpoint, more connection points mean more potential points of failure. More “doors” where sensitive data can leak or bad actors can gain entry. And greater potential for blind spots and information gaps.

By adopting a comprehensive approach and using a single platform to manage all GRC activities, organizations can eliminate any blind spots that may otherwise conceal undetected risks.

This holistic view ensures effective information sharing across systems, tools and teams, leaving no room for information gaps. Furthermore, consolidating risk management data enables more robust analytics-driven risk management, as larger datasets yield more valuable insights.

Automating compliance adherence and visibility

In the typical enterprise today, different GRC stakeholders use disparate tools — and each tool has its own specific workflows. This again presents the opportunity for gaps in risk monitoring and inconsistencies in risk information.

Integrating GRC technologies allows an organization to move toward consistent workflows and standardization of data fields across all teams and GRC reporting activities. This standardization provides the foundation for creating a centralized, single source of truth for GRC activities. It also enables teams to more effectively leverage automation to pull together standardized data, eliminating manual, time-consuming data integration and data hygiene/assimilation processes.

Integrated, consistent workflows also enable an organization to implement regulatory adherence and compliance monitoring consistently from the top down, rather than on several disparate fronts — even leveraging automated compliance monitoring capabilities to further accelerate and streamline these functions.

This more standardized, centralized and automated model of compliance monitoring allows GRC teams to gain real-time visibility and provide on-demand compliance reporting and insights to key stakeholders and leadership.

Achieving continuous assurance and control validation

GRC leaders know the importance of proactive risk management. They’re already looking for earlier warning signs of emerging risks. But they need the ability to monitor, test and validate GRC controls to ensure they’refunctioning as intended.

This kind of continuous assurance process, by definition, cannot be ad hoc — and it’s challenging to execute across siloed systems.

IntegratingGRC systems provides the needed visibility and control to operationalize a continuous assurance methodology. GRC leaders can monitor and assess controls across all GRC functions, gaining real-time insights into the effectiveness of risk and compliance efforts to guide continuous refinement and improvement.

Safeguarding against spreadsheets’ inherent risks

GRC vendor consolidation also plays a crucial role in moving GRC activities off of spreadsheets, which are inherently risky and prone to data inaccuracies, duplication and loss. To make matters worse, spreadsheets are notoriously time-consuming and require substantial manual effort to update and maintain.

By consolidating GRC activities onto a centralized platform, organizations can ensure that data is up-to-date, accurate and easily accessible to everyone who needs is, from day-to-day GRC practitioners all the way up to the board of directors. This eliminates the risks associated with relying on outdated or erroneous information, while also ensuring greater accuracy and efficiency.

And, when you’re dealing with complex GRC frameworks and regulations, a consolidated view of GRC activities in one location — not scattered across multiple spreadsheets — provides a clear, comprehensive picture of your organization's risk and compliance health.

This enables decision-makers to easily understand and interpret data, which leads to more informed decision-making and more effective governance that can’t be obtained otherwise.

Surfacing better insights for functional leaders

Integrating GRC systems goes a long way to eliminate gaps and provide a full picture across all GRC activities. But functional GRC leaders have more on their plates than ever — and they need to act fast, with confidence. They don’t have time to wade through raw centralized data. Moreover, the complexity of that integrated data makes the actionable insights difficult to fully grasp without the help of analytics.

In this context, uniting GRC systems can be thought of as enriching the fuel source for analytics-enhanced, data-driven decision-making. Organizations can apply sophisticated analytics tools, as well as AI and machine learning, to a complete, accurate and rich pool of GRC data.

Giving analytics engines better fuel helps to surface the insights that matter most — showing functional leaders where they should focus resources and helping them make strategic decisions on remediation and other actions that align with business objectives.

Empowering better board and executive decision-making

It’s not just functional GRC leaders looking for faster, better insights on risk and governance. Boards and business executives know they need to bring GRC considerations into every business decision. But they’re already overwhelmed with data and typically are not GRC experts — which means these insights need to be clear, intuitive and actionable.

As we’ve touched on throughout the points above, integrating GRC systems and centralizing visibility levels up to a more holistic view of governance. This holistic view gives boards and executives a single source of truth on GRC activities and metrics.

More importantly, functional GRC leaders can create better, more complete and intuitive reports. They can draw on AI-powered, analytics-fueled insights to create board-ready presentations and communications that highlight the “what?” and prescribe the “what now?”

This integrated GRC reporting gives leadership a more comprehensive, more reliable, more up-to-date understanding of the organization's performance, risk and compliance posture. This insight empowers leadership to make confident business decisions to drive growth while mitigating risk.

Driving operational efficiencies

The benefits we’ve explored here represent common goals for nearly every organization today. But underpinningall of these goals is the reality that most organizations are actively looking at how they can achieve more on these fronts while spending less.

Bringing together GRC systems under a single platform presents an ideal “more with less” opportunity in that the streamlining, simplification and consolidation of operations is the driving force behind each of the benefits above. In other words, operational efficiency is the main feature of this strategy — not a convenient fringe benefit.

The streamlined workflows, standardized processes and seamless coordination between stakeholders that power functional benefits like better risk management and smarter decision-making also deliver significant cost savings. Organizations will cut OpEx by eliminating redundant technologies — and they’ll realize labor efficiencies by minimizing duplication of efforts and automating heavy-handed manual processes.

Those meaningful savings can keep an organization in the black during a lean time. Moreover, they also offer forward-thinking leaders a pool of resources that can be re-allocated to key growth strategies. This re-applied efficiency is how the most successful companies manage to drive business value and build competitive advantage at a time when peers are slowing down.

What does a unified GRC platform look like?

The case for GRC consolidation is clear. But how can organizations execute on this strategy?

The Diligent One Platform is designed to make GRC management easier than ever, with all of your critical data in one place — so you can not only get a comprehensive view of your GRC practices, but also say goodbye to the hassles of juggling multiple point solutions and myriad spreadsheets.

Read the final blog in this series to see how enterprises can use the Diligent OnePlatform to save time and money while gaining broader visibility and better, faster insights for confident decision-making.


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