In the modern climate, having a manual policy and procedure system can seem very much out of date when you have the ability to implement a technological, more modern solution. However, a surprising number of businesses are still relying on somewhat unreliable and fragmented systems to manage their policies and compliance. As more and more technology becomes available and with the advancement of the economic world, there are an increasing amount of policies that a business must implement and adhere to. Also, ensuring compliance throughout an organization has become even harder with the onset of a global pandemic and a larger amount of employees now having to work from home. As such, Policy Management Software could not only save your business time and money, but can help protect your business against risk, litigation and fines for non-compliance. This is vitally important for the reputation and therefore success of your business.
In this article, we hope to outline how some of the more specific features of Policy Management Software can be of benefit to your business.
What is Policy Management Software?
Firstly, it is important to know what Policy Management Software actually is and the purpose of the technology. Policy Management Software provides a consistent and robust automated process for management of corporate policies, exceptions, regulations and the compliance needed for them. It can offer a centralized platform for creating policies, standards and control procedures, whilst allowing you to communicate policies and procedures across your business or organisation to help ensure compliance by tracking acceptance, assessing comprehension and by managing any exceptions. This can simplify the policy management process, especially with ever changing regulations, and can keep you up-to-date in the fast paced economic market.
Features of Policy Management Software
You may be thinking that you already have management in place for all your policies and procedures. You may even have a large enough organisation for you to have your own compliance team to manage and deal with any issues and monitor all of the current processes and procedures. So why would you want to pay to implement a new system? Below we list the features that are usually included with Policy Management software as standard, and could be of most benefit to your business.
Due to the expansion of technology and the increased use of websites, file shares and collaboration software, many companies have all their documents and data stored across different sites, departments and even locations. This means there is no collective understanding or enforcement of policies. By offering a central repository, you can store all policy procedures and the associated data and documents in an easily accessible single storage location. Policy management software can use metadata for searching through documents to help employees find the correct information far more easily than if they had to search through various files and locations. Even more so if members of staff physically have to look through a pile of folders or cabinets. Having all the up-to-date policies and procedures available online with an advanced search functionality reduces the risk of human error and gives constant access to precise information to the employees now working from home due to the global pandemic.
Communication & Visibility
As any compliance officer knows, trying to keep track of ever changing regulations and the unique challenges a policy management procedure can create on a regular basis, is a complex and stressful process. Trying to communicate and implement new policies and procedures across an entire organization can prove a monumental task when done manually. By automating this process by using Management Software, you can use the event triggers and notification tool to send a notification out to every employee concerned when a policy or procedure has been changed or is up for review.
Having better communication with your employees and making them easily accessible online by allowing company-wide access, enables a greater uptake and compliance with policies by increasing the value and importance employees put on policy and procedure.
However, there will be times when there will be sensitive data involved in certain policies and procedures, and in certain industries, legal requirements regarding documents. The control access interface in Policy Management Software allows you to configure and control who sees what information and data, so you can restrict access as and when you need to. This helps protect both employees and your business and reduces your liability.
Auditing, Tracking & Reporting
As part of Policy Management Software, you can use a control interface to find out who has not been adhering to company policy and manage user and policy exceptions with complete oversight of your company.
Every action made in Policy Management System is fully tracked in the audit logs, along with a time stamp and the user’s information. By auditing and tracking every step of a policy or procedural change, you can hold employees accountable for their actions and gives your company some security against non-compliance.
The incident capture and reporting suite ensures all incidents of non-compliance are stored and automatically assigned for investigation, whilst analysis tools included in within the software can assist with legal protection. This helps you manage issues quickly and with the least amount of disruption to the running of the business.
Another useful feature of a Policy Management system is the ability to have a complete overview of your business or organization. Automated reporting tracks important information and with complete revision history, so you can see how policies and procedures have changed over time. You can also keep on top of all compliance management and processes by using the custom reports feature, which allows you to analyse operational data, workflows, information and documents.
Creation & Collaboration
There can be a lot of people involved when creating policies and procedures. Legal issues surrounding rules and regulations means there often needs to be an oversight by legal experts within the field. With policy management software you can create all of your policies, procedures and regulations and easily communicate them company-wide and to any third parties, whilst tracking any changes, using e-signatures to ensure the process isn’t slowed down and get approval notifications. By automating this process, you can vastly reduce the amount of time it takes to approve and implement a policy or procedure and it also means nothing will fall under the radar due to mismanagement.
Configuration & Integration
Another benefit to this software is that certain Policy Management Software providers, including here at Symfact, can integrate Policy Management Software into ERP and CRM systems, so you can link policies to both employees and staff. This is important if you want to be able to minimize the risk of non-compliance fines and possible litigation.
Although Policy Management Software is designed to be user friendly, with clear dashboards and processes, we understand that sometimes it can take staff some time to get used to using a different platform and system. So even if you are worried about using a Policy Management system, most companies offer regular support. At Symfact for example, we have a support portal that is available 24 hours a day, with lots of useful information and “how to” guides, as well as providing phone and email support, which ensures a smooth rollout of the software.
As most companies start to have more corporate responsibility regarding the environment, reducing your organization’s paper usage and therefore waste, is a good way for your business to become more eco-friendly. By using Policy management software to keep all your policies and associated documents digitally stored, you negate the need for a paper trail. As well as saving your business money from rising paper, toner and storage costs.
Policy Management for smaller businesses
Regardless of how small your company is, compliance with policies and regulations is still paramount. Having a structured management plan for policies and procedures shows any potential clients that you are an organized and efficient business. This also makes it far easier for future growth and expansion of the business if you have Policy Management Software already in place.
Having well-structured policy management is essential for reducing risk. This applies even more to smaller businesses where fines from non-compliance with rules and regulations can have a hugely detrimental affect on finances. Policy Management software can help with protection and accountability when smaller businesses need it the most.
If your business is too small to have a dedicated team or even a compliance officer, having a platform for other employees to add policy management tasks to part of their everyday jobs can be hugely beneficial. Manually doing this requires time staff simply may not have. But with software, this process becomes easier and simpler and a far more efficient use of both time and money.
Most Policy Management software is configurable to your own business’ needs and requirements. If you think this system is right for you, take a look at Symfact’s Policy Management Software today.