The documents, policies, and records a business keeps are vital to managing its risk and compliance strategy. These are an excellent way to establish operational boundaries and communicate them to employees. This is especially critical if a business is attempting to avoid or at the very least mitigate exposure to a potential threat.

Additionally, policies and procedures are critical for enhancing management controls. Enhancing controls and establishing a mechanism for enforcing them is a critical component of managing a successful mitigation strategy. Businesses gain increased confidence in their ability to comply with standards and regulations when robust controls are in place. Additionally, it means that pertinent risk data will be collected, maintained, and evaluated in a reliable manner.

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Finally, proactive policy and procedure development have a direct impact on the organization’s ability to identify processes that require additional compliance training and provide to employees. Policies and procedures assist in introducing new rules and standards to employees and defining the procedures they must follow to comply. Policy management unites the entire organization around a single objective: risk reduction and compliance management.

The Impact of Automation on Document and Policy Management

Risk, compliance, regulatory changes, and other such domains use documents, policies, and controls as their foundation. Automation document and policy management thus has a beneficial effect on the overall risk, compliance, and RCM processes and actions within the organization. Here is how automation can help manage various aspects related to documents and policies.

Creation and Approval Workflow

Manual

Manual policy management introduces numerous opportunities for a policy to fall between the cracks before it is fully implemented. One person approves it, another leaves it unopened in their inbox, and someone else rejects it – and there is no system in place to ensure that progress is made at all. Eventually, the policy is forgotten, and there is never a resolution.

Even after the approval workflow is complete, there may be issues. Without the use of templates to standardize content, there is no guarantee that a policy will be written in the correct format. At its best, an incorrectly documented policy will cause confusion among those attempting to implement it. At worst, the policy may confuse people to the point where it impairs their job performance, or they choose to ignore it entirely.

Automated

When the approval process is streamlined, it is difficult to miss a policy that is awaiting review; people understand where to look for new revisions, when they should approve them, and how they should provide feedback. The approval process runs efficiently when policies are managed automatically.

Additionally, automation establishes the foundation for a more consistent set of policies. Guidelines can only be followed if employees know where to find them, which policy management software ensures they do. When all relevant stakeholders have access to the appropriate templates, policymakers save time by not having to spend hours formatting documents, and employees become familiar with the layout, making policies far more understandable.

Renewal and Management

Manual

Documents and policies need to be periodically assessed and updated. Manual policy management places the entire responsibility for renewal squarely on the shoulders of individuals. It is the employee’s responsibility to remember when a policy needs to be renewed, and there is no system in place to remind them. This means that out-of-date policies go unnoticed, creating the potential for disaster; guidelines that oppose government regulations, employees accidentally violating new regulations and rules, and much more. Having multiple ways and strategies in place to resolve the same issue can be disastrous.

Proactive policy & procedure development has a direct impact on the organization's ability to identify processes that require additional compliance training. Click To Tweet

Automated

By automating policy management, these issues are virtually eliminated. When the time comes to renew your policy, policy management software can notify those in charge, keeping your policy management on track and preventing anything from accidentally being ignored. Additionally, a modern policy library eliminates the need for employees to frantically search for the correct documents; active files are clearly delineated and easily accessible from a single central location.

Storage and Accessibility

Manual

Keeping track of policies is difficult without the assistance of automation. Locating a document without a system for managing them can take an inordinate amount of time, especially if the document is several years old. Even if the employee can find the right policy, they must ensure that it is current and editable. This may not be an issue at a new company but navigating the maze of policies becomes exponentially more difficult as businesses grow and policies and documents accumulate.

Automated

The task of document and policy organization is largely eliminated with automation. Policies are maintained in a centralized location that is accessible to anyone who may require them. Finding the appropriate policy is as simple as conducting a quick search, and the most recent version is readily apparent. Dates for review are stored in the system, and when it is time to revisit a policy, all relevant reviewers will receive an alert.

Regulatory Change Management Software

A strong organizational system is extremely beneficial, particularly if the business is ever audited. While frantically searching for the appropriate document is acceptable in normal circumstances, when dealing with the government, you will want to ensure your success by ensuring all your ducks are in a row beforehand.

Interested in seeing how your organization can improve the way it creates, manages, and distributes policies and documents? Get in touch with our experts for a demonstration of Predict360’s document and policy management capabilities.