Boards & Governance
Phil Lim Image
Phil Lim
Director, Product Management

Using AI to elevate governance, risk and compliance

June 20, 2024
0 min read
Professional ready to use AI to elevate her GRC function and encourage good governance.

Governance, risk and compliance (GRC) has reached a tipping point.

Workloads can no longer keep up with risks, rules, requirements and responsibilities that are growing by the day. The need to analyze vast amounts of data, across multiple systems, has exceeded the capabilities of spreadsheets and traditional tools. And GRC leaders who are unable to turn complex data into smart decisions, at the speed of change, risk falling behind.

Here's where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in.

In previous thought leadership pieces, we’ve talked about the importance of governing AI in your organization: responding to evolving regulations, setting policies for what’s allowed (and what’s not), knowing the right questions to ask and more. Now here’s an exploration of what AI can do for governance — specifically how it can transform a GRC professional’s daily work.Think time-saving automation, lightning-fast analysis and real-time intelligence.

Intrigued? Read on to learn more, including questions to ask for smart implementation.

Wrangle risk more easily

Enterprise risk management today is a never-ending series of questions. What’s the cybersecurity posture across your supply chain? How do your GHG emissions and climate activities compare against your peers? Are any potential employee health and safety issues arising across the organization’s facilities and operations?

In today’s fast-changing business landscape, manual processes across disconnected data sources are no longer enough for finding the answers. By the time your team spots a red flag, it may have already evolved into a full-fledged problem, putting your organization’s resilience in jeopardy.

Now imagine analyzing dozens of risk categories, from customer privacy to business ethics, in a fraction of the time, so you can clearly see the priorities and triage your actions accordingly. That’s the power pre-trained AI models bring to the “R” in GRC.

Accelerate compliance, without sacrificing accuracy

As mandates in areas like cybersecurity and climate risk constantly evolve, new frameworks like the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive add to the compliance to-do list. As regulatory bodies work toward standardization, the overlap across all of these requirements grows as well, increasing the odds of duplication, redundancy, bottlenecks and errors.

Trying to keep up with it all by hand is a Sisyphean task, or like digging your way out of quicksand.

Here’s where AI comes in. With AI-powered GRC applications, compliance teams can swiftly identify and prioritize new developments and changes — beyond the capability of any mere human, in fact. This empowers your organization to keep its policies and controls ahead of change.

Make complex decision-making simpler, faster and more effective

Finally, AI-powered applications and governance platforms bring speed and clarity to GRC oversight.

Think about all of the materials board members and GRC leaders digest in their decision-making roles. What are the key takeaways from a committee report? What should directors know and do next? How does this all relate to outside research, or board decisions from previous years?

AI sifts through the data at super-human speeds, bringing the most relevant data to surface, AI also vastly accelerates the time-consuming task of building board books, customizing executive summaries and putting together committee presentations. This frees up leaders for what they do best: work together to make smart decisions.

Key questions for protecting your data, operations and reputation

As you’re well aware, artificial intelligence is a complex, constantly evolving technology. With any AI tool you employ, caution is key, and responsible use is a must. Here are some questions you’ll want to ask to help ensure both.

How is the AI data trained?

AI models use data to get smarter. During this training process, will the information you upload into the platform or application be shared or mixed with data from other organizations? How a vendor answers this question has big implications for data privacy and protection.

Is AI-generated content clearly labeled as such?

Being able to distinguish AI-generated content from original content is critical to safeguarding intellectual property and maintaining stakeholder trust.

Where and how do humans factor into the process?

Even as AI takes time-consuming manual work off your team’s hands, you’ll want to remain in control at key points.

Additionally, as you prepare to expand your capabilities with AI, consider that you’ll likely need to stay ahead of evolving AI regulations such as the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Act. Doing so will require:

  • Maintaining an inventory of the AI-powered systems your organization uses
  • Performing a risk assessment over those AI systems to classify each as minimal, limited, high or unacceptable risk 
  • Depending on the classification, implementing appropriate controls for mitigating the risks; some of these controls include activities like ensuring appropriate labeling of AI-generated content, applying guardrails, accounting for bias and so on
  • Documenting, providing evidence, and in some cases disclosing the above

As AI continues to factor into more and more of our daily lives, including the GRC processes that keep our organizations secure and our leaders fully informed, it’s critical that forward-thinking leaders know how to oversee these developments. Register for Diligent's AI Ethics certification to learn more about sustainable, trustworthy AI adoption. And download our guide to good governance essentials to take the appropriate next steps.

Learn more about Diligent AI. 


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