How Agile Governance and Compliance Accelerate Your ERM Programs

March 10, 2023 · READ

Obj resource top 5 grcThis content was created as part of our Top 5 Strategic GRC Capabilities Report. Download our free report  now!


In today’s constantly changing business environment, companies need to be able to adapt quickly to remain competitive. GRC and ERM teams want to stay ahead of what’s ahead by developing an organizational risk culture that sees risk as a strategic partner in the business. As such, many teams have begun to explore agile GRC as a means of increasing agility, proactivity, efficiency, and resiliency across the enterprise. With a move to agile governance and compliance, organizations can respond quickly to new risks, emerging regulations, and changes in the business environment.  
“Risk is a tool,” says expert GRC analyst at GRC 20/20, Michael Rasmussen, “And being agile at risk, seeing what’s coming at the organization to prepare and respond, not only helps us to avoid disasters and harms, but to actually leverage things for the organization’s advantage, and use risk as a tool for the organization. And that requires good risk intelligence and insight, but it also requires that we change the way we approach risk management.”    
GRC agility refers to the ability to adapt, pivot, and move quickly to address external and internal risk factors. With agile governance and compliance, the focus is on organizational alignment and process optimization supported by technology and having changes to regulatory and framework content reflected rapidly, so all teams involved are working with up-to-date data.  

What is agile governance and compliance?  

Agile GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) is a methodology that combines the principles of agile software development with GRC practices to enable organizations to manage risk and compliance more efficiently and effectively.   Agile GRC helps companies quickly and accurately manage their risk and compliance needs. This approach allows organizations to adapt more easily to complex and changing landscapes, focusing on organizational alignment, process optimization, and regulatory content changes supported by technology to reflect the rapid changes to governance, risk, and compliance.    
Agile GRC emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement, allowing organizations to adapt quickly to changing business environments, new regulations, and emerging risks. It involves breaking down silos between departments and stakeholders to facilitate collaboration and communication and to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals or organizational objectives. This approach allows organizations to identify and address potential risks and compliance issues early on, reducing the likelihood of costly errors, non-compliance penalties, or reputational damage.  
Transitioning into an agile GRC strategy is as simple as developing a big-picture plan, getting the right leaders on board, building an integrated technology architecture, and putting it all together in stages. The results of GRC agility are better risk management with fewer risk events, which can help save your organization costly fines and other financial repercussions.    
Watch: How to Build an Agile GRC Program

Transforming GRC chaos into agile governance and compliance  

GRC agility allows an organization to quickly and effectively adapt to a complex and changing landscape in governance, risk, and compliance. The current problem on many GRC teams is what Rasmussen coins “GRC chaos,” where inefficiencies such as time-consuming processes cause teams to be reactive, operating in “triage mode.” These teams cannot scale, are often behind where they want to be, and suffer considerable and critical resource constraints. Documentation is sparse or disparate, with teams relying on spreadsheets — if they document things at all. This lack of consistency and discipline creates an unsustainable structure, frustrates employees, and leaves companies at significant risk.  

3 Steps to a collaborative agile governance and compliance strategy  

The future, predicts Rasmussen, is in “being able to see across risks in the organization, map them to objectives and have risk as an effective tool to enable business performance strategy.” Organizations need to focus on agility, resiliency, and integrity to predict, avoid and rebound from risk effectively.  
To enable enterprise agility, organizations need a collaborative approach on agile governance and compliance strategy. Rasmussen breaks down a simple, 3-step approach to successfully getting different departments to work together:    

  1. Clearly define roles and responsibilities
  2. Provide support for those working on risk through strategy and processes
  3. Centralize information and documentation through a GRC management information and technology architecture

Roles and responsibilities: Who owns a company’s agile GRC solutions?  

Agile GRC solutions convert GRC language into one that your company can understand. They offer more intuitive tools that allow users to modify their preferences, further allowing them to properly contextualize and understand risks to their organization. These tools and technical capabilities include drag-and-drop form builders, powerful workflow engines, and the ability to design custom reports — all key elements of an agile GRC program.  
Adding licensing, implementation, ongoing maintenance, and management, the cost of ownership with agile GRC is typically a fraction of the legacy solutions. Furthermore, it provides your team the flexibility to enable the platform to fully unlock the abilities of your teams.  
Since agile GRC solutions involve a cross-functional, “top-down” and “bottom-up” approach that incorporates various departments and stakeholders, it may also involve business leaders, operational teams, and other key decision-makers within the organization. Collaboration and communication across the organization are essential for the successful implementation and management of agile GRC solutions. Ultimately, the responsibility for agile GRC solutions rests with the organization’s leadership, who must ensure that the necessary resources, support, and governance structures are in place to manage risks effectively and ensure compliance.  

Executive support of agile GRC strategy  

In order to have a successful agile GRC strategy, supporting those working on risk through strategy and processes for risk identification, risk assessment, risk treatment, and risk monitoring is imperative. It takes time and effort for teams to get accustomed to the changes of a GRC transition. An important factor in making this adjustment successful is strong leadership that champions this shift while providing continuous support to their team. This could mean a COO who can advise of regulation changes and GRC strategy improvements; a board who provides support for an agile GRC enterprise risk management (ERM) system; and even a CCO to help risk management teams ensure that agile GRC works in conjunction with ERM systems in order to minimize and mitigate risk.  
Rasmussen encourages leadership teams to consider the following when considering the people or roles that can best support an agile GRC process:    

  • Whether or not your company has sufficient roles and departments in place to support agile GRC;  
  • If these departments have the support and capabilities to work together towards GRC agility;
  • Any additional training or processes that might be added to execute agile GRC    

Risk data-sharing in agile governance and compliance  

The ability to centralize information and documentation is an important feature to consider in an agile GRC management software. This can be done with a flexible GRC software platform that has an information and technology architecture that’s configurable and offers access control. Doing so will allow your product owner to decide which members of specific teams have access to view and share risk or incident-related information.    
By unifying your GRC system, your data capture and reporting are centralized, allowing for different departments to input and analyze data to create more impactful action plans. Doing so means better risk management for your organization while helping to create a proactive risk culture. Centralizing data also means that your team can make risk-based decisions with greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency because less time is spent determining where to locate information. An agile GRC software system allows data to be centralized and connected, which allows risk management teams to respond to threats quickly.    

How Resolver enables GRC Agility  

Resolver’s Risk Intelligence platform provides the foundation for the modernization of your entire GRC program. Designed by industry experts based on the latest best practices, Resolver enables GRC teams to connect their activities to business value and transform from “check-the-box” functions to trusted strategic advisors. With solutions that address enterprise risk management, compliance & ethics, internal audit, incident management, and internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR), Resolver has everything you need to turn risk data into business value.  

Resolver enables GRC agility by providing a flexible and customizable platform that can adapt to changing business needs and regulatory requirements with simplicity and speed. Configure workflows and automate processes based on your specific needs. Quickly adapt to changes in your organization’s risk management processes, adjusting workflows as needed. Customizable reporting capabilities allow teams to generate reports at the push of a button. Resolver’s ERM software integrates with a wide range of third-party applications and data sources, making it easy for users to aggregate risk information from multiple systems and sources. Real-time alerts for incidents and changes in risk management status mean users can respond to new risks and regulatory changes as they happen, minimizing the impact on their organization. Resolver enables organizations to stay ahead of what’s ahead and effectively manage risk in a rapidly changing business environment.
Obj resource top 5 grcWhile agile GRC can transform your team’s ability to deliver true risk intelligence to your organization, it’s just one part of a holistic GRC strategy. We’ve designed a Strategic GRC Capabilities Report to help start the conversation on improving and maturing your GRC processes and strategy. Our expert panel will guide you through thought-starters and actionable goals to help maximize your team’s efficiency, agility, and resiliency in 2023 and beyond.  
Download our free report on the Top 5 Strategic GRC Capabilities now!  

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