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Understanding the Role of GRC Consultant During GRC Implementation 

Understanding the Role of GRC Consultant During GRC Implementation

As more and more companies develop an increasing awareness of the issues surrounding governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), we are seeing an increase in the popularity of tools such as GRC software systems. These comprehensive, feature-rich software platforms can include a multitude of integrations and there are countless configurations to suit virtually any business type or industry. 

To get the most out of a GRC software solution, you really need an experienced GRC implementation partner who can work in conjunction with your GRC consultant. But what is the consultant’s role and what will they bring to the table as your company’s new software system is configured, implemented, and deployed? 

Understanding Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)?

In order to understand the role of a GRC consultant in your software implementation project, you must appreciate the complexity of GRC and why these three concepts are having such a dramatic impact in today’s business landscape. 

GRC — or governance, risk [management], and compliance — impacts virtually every aspect of a company and its operations. 

  • Governance involves a company’s actions, policies, and procedures, both in a general sense and as they relate to laws and regulations. Those regulations are often industry-specific. 
  • Risk (or risk management) is a reference to the risks and vulnerabilities that your company faces. The risks may impact the company, its operations, its products/services, its employees, customers/clients or the company’s interests. Most often, the risk factors are directly related to laws and regulations, making compliance a key component of the GRC equation. 
  • Compliance refers to a company’s legal and regulatory compliance. Non-compliance translates into a significant risk factor, as this can bring about fines and penalties, public relations woes, and even harm when it comes to profitability and long-term viability for a company. 

GRC software works to identify risks and incidences of non-compliance. Then, those risks or non-compliance issues are addressed and mitigated via a strategic action plan. The software also includes tools for monitoring  these issues over the long-term to ensure that compliance is maintained (and achieved in the case of new regulatory compliance burdens.)  

Each company’s GRC landscape is unique, as are their legal and regulatory burdens, making a GRC consultant a key player as an organization strives to improve their compliance and minimize related risks. 

How Does a GRC Implementation Work and What is the Role of a GRC Consultant? 

GRC software implementation is a multi-faceted process that typically involves the following steps. 

  • Discovery to understand the client’s needs.
  • Identifying the best GRC software platform for the company. 
  • Planning the ideal software configuration and implementation plan.
  • Developing and customizing the platform to suit the company’s needs. 
  • Establishing integrations with third-party platforms and databases.
  • Testing the platform to ensure that it is user-friendly and bug-free. 
  • Establishing user access and training the company’s staff to use the GRC software system. 
  • Deploying the governance, risk, and compliance software platform. 

Each GRC software platform is customized to suit the organization’s unique needs and there are many industry-specific features that may be included. This underscores the need to have a solid understanding of the company’s compliance burdens and risk factors; only then can the implementation team create a system that will be effective in reducing risk and maximizing compliance.

You can think of a GRC consultant as your biggest ally and advocate during the GRC implementation process. Your GRC software implementation partner needs to have an in-depth understanding of your business, its interests, its goals for the future, its most significant risk factors, and — perhaps most importantly — its position within the governance, risk, and compliance landscape. While all of this information is typically conveyed to the software implementation team during the initial discovery process, misunderstandings can occur down the line. This is where your GRC consultant enters the pitch. 

A GRC consultant will take the time to become extremely well-acquainted with your business, your risk management strategy, pain points, and the company’s objectives (both long-term and short-term.) Then, they’ll monitor the software implementation process to ensure that everything reflects and aligns with your goals and needs as a business. They’ll ensure your implementation project remains on-track in a way that serves your best interests. 

What Will My GRC Consultant Do During the Implementation? 

During the actual implementation process, your GRC consultant will be involved in a number of different activities. In fact, the engagement usually begins before an implementation partner is even selected. Ideally, you should hire a GRC consultant and work to provide them with an in-depth understanding of your organization, its risk management strategy, and its needs for a governance, risk, and compliance software platform. This way, they are well-versed on all of the key points before the implementation even begins. 

Your GRC consultant can play an instrumental role as you select a GRC implementation service provider since they know what to look for and may even have experience working with some of the industry’s best implementation experts. A referral can be especially useful for those who need an implementation partner with industry-specific experience, such as companies in the healthcare space, finance or other highly-regulated industries.

Once an implementation partner is selected, your GRC consultant will typically attend all meetings and updates. They can also engage with the implementation team on your behalf, asking questions that your team may not have considered or identifying issues that could be problematic down the line. Advocating for your interests will be one of their key functionalities — a very important one at that, since issues during the implementation process only tend to become amplified downstream. An experienced GRC consultant will keep your project on-track in a way that maximizes your chances of seeing a healthy ROI down the road. 

When you combine the best GRC software technology with a talented implementation team and an experienced GRC consultant, the impact can be significant. But actually finding the right technology and tech talent for your unique needs is often much easier said than done. At iTech, we specialize in all aspects of risk management technology and related solutions for organizations in a variety of industries and business sectors. Reach out to the iTech team today and let’s discuss your needs in a GRC software solution.