How to Choose a Cloud-Based Compliance Management Solution
Whether you are a compliance professional looking for a better way to manage your policy and procedure documents, or a legal expert consistently on the hunt for tools to improve the efficiency of contract collaboration, you know that choosing the right cloud-based compliance management solution is not easy.
So, what do you need to know before you dive in on your search to find the right one for your department or organization? First, you need to know why you are choosing a cloud-based solution in the first place. Second, you need to think about the products your organization is currently using. Third, you should consider the logistics of implementing a new solution – how long will deployment take? Who manages the implementation? These are all important questions to have answered before you decide on the compliance management solution that is right for you.
Why the Cloud?
If you’re not an IT person, the idea of the cloud can seem both ambiguous and a little daunting. You hear everyone talking about it, and it is undoubtedly the biggest buzzword in technology at the moment. But why are so many company leaders deciding to move to cloud-based applications to run their business? What are the advantages of using a cloud-based application?
To help understand the cloud-based application, it may be easier to think of it in terms of Software-as-a-Service or SaaS for short. Consider any other service your organization currently pays for: phone, electricity, internet, etc. Because the complexity of running those services is outsourced, the company experiences more flexibility, scalability and of course cost-efficiency when it comes to using those services. SaaS products offer the same agility these other types of services provide. Cloud apps are faster to deploy, easily flex to the needs of your business and are elastic enough to scale up or down depending on the needs of the organization.
As it relates to managing compliance documents such as policies, procedures, contracts, conflict of interest disclosures, etc; security is a huge priority. The right cloud-based application should ensure security through several different methods including encryption, authentication and permissions.
Consider the Current Tools & Processes
To successfully implement any new software, consider the ease-of-use of the new application, as well as the training that will be involved for employees using the service. That is why it is important to know the current tools the organization is using day-in and day-out. For most businesses, that tool is Microsoft Office. Microsoft Office is still the leader in enterprise business tools, with most companies using Word, Excel and PowerPoint daily. When it comes to life outside of the office, apps like Facebook dominate employees’ time spent online because it offers a simple interface and is easy to use.
When considering a new software application, understanding the products employees know and love will help drive your choice. If your employees currently write their policies and procedures in Word documents, it would not make sense to choose a compliance management solution that does not support Microsoft Office. Choose applications that allow employees to user their current tools as well as interfaces that are simple and easy to understand. This will make implementation smoother and training easier.
Beyond Microsoft Office integration, it is also important to consider the ways in which current the compliance management process functions. If your organization collaborates and communicates over Microsoft Outlook, choose a solution that will easily integrate with your preferred email client. How does your organization currently control access? If your company uses Active Directory, it is important the new compliance management software solution integrates with your directory to align security and access parameters. What kind of functionality is important to your business? Look for a compliance solution with features such as version control, status tracking, notifications and easy workflows. These powerful features will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization’s compliance management process.
Know the Logistics
By now you should have narrowed down your list of potential compliance management software solutions. If not, it is time to think about implementation. The right software solution will allow for a fast and efficient deployment that can be completed in days or a few weeks, not months. Compliance management software providers should also be clear about the time frame in which implementation will occur. If not given, ask for dates and timelines, as well as the employee roles that will be required to get the new software up and running. How many IT people will they require? What about trainers?
In addition to providing an efficient implementation, the right solution will provide your organization with a Customer Success Team to ensure the transition of moving to a cloud-based compliance management program is as easy as possible. Choose a provider who is invested in the success of your organization, wants to be a partner, and does not “nickel-and-dime” your business for services that should be included in the initial cost such as implementation and support.
To review here is a quick checklist for you to consider while choosing the right compliance management solution for your business:
- Is the compliance management solution Software-as-a-Service?
- How does the compliance management software provider secure your data?
- Which tools do employees in the organization use most often?
- How is the organization currently managing compliance documents?
- Which features are most important to improve the current process?
- What is the implementation time frame of the compliance management solution?
- Which employees are required to be part of the implementation process?
- Are implementation and support included in the cost of the software?
- How will your organization and the Compliance Management Provider measure a successful implementation?
If you are ready to move to a cloud-based compliance management solution, learn more about ConvergePoint’s Compliance Management Software now available in the cloud and powered by Microsoft’s Azure. Request a demo now.