Regardless of the industry you may work in, all businesses have one thing in common: compliance. Compliance has been and will continue to be one of the most important considerations for businesses across the globe.
While the standard for which compliance is held has continued to increase over the years, so has the technology that is available to us. With the main development around automation, this is enabling organisations and businesses alike to alleviate the majority of stress and time that are associated with compliance.
Staying in control of compliance obligations requires powerful compliance management software. But what exactly is compliance management software, and why does your organisation need it?
What is Compliance Management Software?
In layman’s terms, compliance management software is a system that supports both the strategy and implementation of compliance, and tasks thereof, within your organisation.
The system (or more likely a suite of applications) aligns your organisation’s strategy and business objectives with that of compliance. Tracking important tasks, sending reminders, automating decision making and reporting the top-level information to those who are privy.
While compliance management software may seem finite in terms of the benefit within your business, managing your compliance effectively unlocks almost unlimited potential for your organisation.
What is Compliance Management?
Compliance management is simply the process of adhering to government guidelines specific to your industry. It is crucial to have a compliance management program in place to adhere to these guidelines, as failure can result in fines or loss of income.
These requirements can change over time so it’s important to have a proper compliance management program in place to mitigate risk and benefit your organisation.
What are the Benefits of Compliance Management Software?
In this guide we’re not only looking to convey what compliance management software is, but why it is important. With the increasingly long list of compliance requirements, being compliant is becoming near impossible without the help of dedicated software.
Without further ado, below are the benefits of using compliance management software, and what you could expect to struggle with if not.
Frees Up Time to Work on Higher-Value Activities Through Automation
The main benefit of using compliance management software is to free up time. While this may seem rather redundant, the majority of compliance tasks are repetitive, meaning one of two things (if not both):
- Your time could be freed up to concentrate on more important things
- Your compliance records are subject to human error which can be mitigated by using compliance software as it replaces manual actions with automated sequences
People make mistakes, emails get lost, we have bad days, it happens. But with something as important as compliance you cannot leave it to chance.
Similarly, using manual actions takes much longer – ultimately meaning reporting is delayed. All the grueling hours you may spend documenting tasks, training, due diligence, assessments, remediation etc. unfortunately cannot compete with the speed of sophisticated algorithms and their intuitive user interfaces.
Consider using dedicated software if you are slow to react to new changes, and if you’re looking to free up your time to concentrate on more high-level tasks.
Ensured Legal Compliance
This should go without saying but, the purpose of using compliance management software is to be, well, compliant. Compliance software enables teams to work harder, smarter, more efficiently, and in line with legal requirements.
The other benefit of implementing compliance management software is reporting. Even if you have a manual process that is efficient and timely, it cannot compete with the accuracy and timeliness of an automated solution.
Informed and Compliant Decision Making
In a modern age of data and automation, decisions are made much easier. Why, you may ask? Because of the reams of data available at your fingertips, to evidence certain hypotheses and to prove your compliance.
With intuitive features such as a user-friendly interface, comprehensive reporting, and so on, making decisions and being informed has never been easier – or more quantified!
Other benefits of compliance management software include:
- Improved confidence in your brand
- Enhanced communication and collaboration
What are the Different Types of Compliance Management Software?
Within the question, “what is compliance management software”, there are three different types to choose from.
All-purpose software is as the name implies, software that is catered to the majority. There are no specialist features to specific industries, the features are broad implementations.
Industry Specific Software
Industry-specific software, however, is designed and built with a specific industry in mind. These will have individual features that are reflective of their industry, whether in schools, healthcare, finance, IT etc.
These systems will aid organisations in adhering to industry-specific standards and regulations: TGA, FCA, APRA, EMA etc.
GRC (Governance, Risk and Compliance) Software
Governance risk compliance software is software that aligns compliance management, enterprise risk management and IT within a strategic framework to provide a whole host of benefits.
What Modules are Commonly Available Within Compliance Management Software?
To answer the question “what is compliance management software”, one of the most important aspects to cover is what features are available within these types of software systems.
Here are the modules that are most commonly available within compliance management software.
Asset management is a common feature within most compliance systems as assets are directly linked to compliance and regulations within most industries.
From taking control over both tangible and intangible assets, tagging assets with QR tags, dynamic reporting and so much more – asset management is an integral part of compliance software.
Task management, or alternatively, help desk ticketing is another core feature of compliance software systems. Enabling you to take a firm grasp of your workflow, task management and help provide a better level of support both internally and externally.
Policy management is a prominent feature of a compliance management system, enabling your organisation to store, review, update and distribute policy documents.
Not to mention often having additional features such as acknowledgment and testing.
Training management is also a prime feature of compliance management software. Equipping organisations with the means to manage a single central record (SCR) of staff training and certification.
Internal communication is a common feature within most compliance management software systems. Helping organisations to improve communication and engagement, all the while helping build a stronger company culture.
With features such as personalised communication, data collection and internal microsites, communicating about compliance has never been easier.
Now to the main event, compliance management. Providing your organisation the ability to manage all compliance tasks under one roof, from scheduling and inspection, to additional features such as incident reporting and first aid administration is a benefit that shouldn’t be overlooked.
A dedicated compliance management software will prove to be your company’s best asset in making sure compliance is not overlooked, compliance auditing is seamless, and no important documents are lost.
What Features are Commonly Available within Compliance Management Software?
To further answer the question “what is compliance management software?”, it’s important to look at not only the modules available but the specific features within those modules.
Here are the features most commonly available within compliance management software.
Microsites are essentially mini branded websites, able to host all your important documents for both internal and external access. Just like a normal website, a microsite can be found by entering the unique URL proving to be a helpful resource for organisations.
Intuitive User Interface
It goes without saying that the amount of information presented within compliance software requires it to be intuitive. The integration between other modules and softwares, the clean and simple-to-use interface, the accessibility of information all lead to a good user experience.
The ability to export and import data when working with a mass of sensitive data is priceless. The majority of compliance systems have the ability to both export and import data in file types such as CSV.
This is less of a feature and more of an ‘add-on’ service. Some compliance software organisations will throw in a compliance auditing service to help onboard you to the platform, and work through your data.
Compliance systems must be capable of producing both top-level reports for upper management, as well as personalised reports based on specific data elements. This is a feature that can make or break your experience with a certain software system.
Mobile App Access
The ability to access your compliance software system on the go is something that most organisations can benefit from. Whether on-site, or simply just out of the office, the option to pick up your mobile and log on is an invaluable one.
Not only should documents be stored, but also organised. Document storage and organisation enable your organisation to group policies and relevant documents into user-defined categories, as well as implement keyword tags to aid document searching.
It’s one thing to assign a task, but it’s another to make sure it is completed. The majority of compliance management softwares will come with task notifications to nudge assignees on the progress and completion of a task.
For the sake of employee engagement, communication and transparency are crucial. This is where data collection comes in, with the help of digital forms. Seamlessly create online surveys and forms (fully configurable), where you can then distribute, and then subsequently analyse that data.
Preloaded Editable Tasks
One of the most intuitive features of compliance software is preloaded tasks – covering all areas of operational compliance. Helping you to understand compliance requirements and tasks from the word go.
Schedule periodic or recurring tasks in a calendar, delegate responsibility, and check progress. Making forward planning and auditing that much easier.
Documents can get lost, amended, or even deleted by accident. Full version control functionality ensures any changes are tracked, and if changes are made you can restore the original version if needed.
Efficient compliance platforms provide a systematic approach to handling risk management, through monitoring and analysing possible risks within your industry.
Helping to streamline processes and understand the start and end of projects with workflows and task management.
Who Should Consider Compliance Management Software?
The decision to invest in compliance management software, for some can be simple, while for others it may be more complex.
Here are the most common reasons why organisations should consider compliance management software.
Those Lacking Internal Expertise
This will be the main reason why an organisation would adopt a compliance management software, being that you may not have the internal expertise to manage compliance requirements without dedicated software.
An internal resource such as compliance software can be an invaluable asset to manage and mitigate risk, and improve engagement and communication, when internal measures are not available.
Those With High Operational Complexity
This is for businesses that, a.) have a complex business model or infrastructure, or b.) have recently undergone an internal change within the organisation.
Compliance management software will help to standardise procedures and help smoothen what could be a complicated transition.
Those With Larger Numbers of Business Associates
A business associate is a vendor or subcontractor who also has access to PHI (protected health information). Having a large number of business associates can make aspects such as compliance monitoring more difficult.
Meaning the implementation of such software could help understand and mitigate the level of risk, visualise and plug gaps in processes and overall improve organisational efficiency.
What Should Your Organisation Consider Before Investing in Compliance Management Software?
Now we have discussed what compliance management software is, how it works and the benefits thereof. Now it’s time to think about what you should consider before adopting such software.
Here are the main aspects your organisation should consider before adopting compliance management software.
Does your organisation adhere to any unconventional policies, regulations, or frameworks? It’s worth documenting all of the requirements you would need your compliance software to cover, so you can cross-reference this against your list of possible solutions.
Do you need your software to integrate with existing systems within your organisation? Whether you’re wanting to integrate with a CRM, HRM, or any other systems, this is something you will want to enquire about this with potential providers.
Some software systems cater to specific industries and provide a more specific solution. Examples of this can be financial, healthcare, and school software systems – which may offer what would be additional on other platforms as standard.
Does your organisation have a complex hierarchy? Do you need your prospective software to understand the nature of your business, the silos within, and how those silos communicate with each other?
How Much Does Compliance Management Software Cost?
The cost of compliance management software can be costed two ways, either at a fixed monthly rate based on different plans or bespoke to your individual needs.
To find out the exact cost of your software, it’s worth enquiring directly.
Should You Have an Off-The-Shelf Solution or Bespoke Compliance Management Software?
There are arguments for and against both off-the-shelf solutions and bespoke software. It is very much dependent on your organisation’s exact requirements.
Bespoke solutions obviously have a much larger upfront cost but are tailored to your exact needs and can be further developed for additional features.
An off-the-shelf solution has a much lower upfront cost but is less tailored to your needs (unless it is an industry-specific solution).
The decision is ultimately yours and should be based on numerous factors such as budget, organisational structure, requirements, and much more.
Getting Started With Compliance Management Software
Compliance Pod Education is a compliance management software specifically designed for and by schools.
If you’d like to learn more about our software, you can either book a demo, or contact us directly for a no-obligation quote.