As customer bases increase and organizations expand into new markets, the need to keep track of multiple policies and governance strategies only increases. Policy management software can be an invaluable tool for organizations that need assistance with the creation, distribution, and monitoring of internal policies and regulatory compliance requirements. An effective policy management software solution can not only reduce the risk of non-compliance, but also help to foster a culture where guidelines and standards are consistently met.
Policy management software is designed to streamline the entire policy lifecycle, from drafting and approval to distribution, acknowledgment, and scheduled reviews. One of a policy management solution’s key features is a centralized repository which offers stakeholders easy access to all policies, ensuring that everyone is aligned and informed. Additionally, automation features allow for regular updates, while training integrations and acknowledgment tracking minimize human error and administrative overheads.
Additional features include integration with other enterprise systems, robust reporting tools, and analytics to gauge policy effectiveness. Given the sensitive nature of policy documents, security and audit trails are another key component of policy management solutions. They ensure that data is protected, and changes are meticulously logged.
Policy management software solutions vary from comprehensive suites suitable for large corporations to niche tools optimized for specific sectors like healthcare, finance, or education. To help identify the best solution for your organization’s needs, we’ve assembled a list of the top policy management software. In this guide, we will explore the key features and strengths of each platform.
Everything You Need To Know About Policy Management Software (FAQs)
What Is Policy Management Software?
Policy management software aims to add some order to sprawling and complex company or regulatory compliance policies. This is to ensure that standards (as well as compliance requirements) are being met consistently and that there is a way of monitoring this. Policies can apply to a broad range of areas including business standards, turnaround times, privacy, and many other areas. The software manages the entire policy lifecycle including initial creation, reviews, and rollout.
Failure to properly manage and maintain policies can lead to a range of issues. The consequences of these can range from disrupted productivity to security risks and legal disputes. This is particularly true for organizations operating in highly regulated sectors such as finance and healthcare.
How Does Policy Management Software Work?
Policy management software can be deployed as a standalone platform, or as part of a wider governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) strategy and toolkit. Depending on the policy area you want to manage, the implementation of your policy management software may differ. However, most policy management software solutions enable you to implement a robust policy management lifecycle. This usually consists of the following stages:
- Develop – First, you will have to develop and create a database or repository of all the policies that apply to your organization. This will act as a library or hub where users and employees can access policy documents as they need.
- Review – This is an ongoing process that lets you review policies to ensure that they are still relevant, as well as checking that they are up to date. You will have to update manual policies yourself, while externally set policies can be updated automatically. It is important to have a way of ensuring all relevant parties are acting from the most recent policy version.
- Share – Once you’ve created your policies and ensured they are up-to-date, you may need to share them with relevant parties. Relevant parties should be automatically sent new policies and revisions, whilst other users should be able to access them. There is no need for everyone to receive an update on every policy, as some policies will not refer to their work area or describe practices within their remit.
- Reporting And Auditing – One of the main ways of confirming that you have the right policies in place is through regulators and external auditing. Policy management software will package up relevant policies and data, ready for auditors to corroborate and confirm that everything is above board.
What Features Should You Look For In Policy Management Software?
The world of policies, auditing, and compliance is not an area that you want to get wrong. Failure to implement the correct policies, adhere to them, or effectively provide evidence that you are compliant can lead to a host of issues. Regulatory fines, penalties, and legal action are all very real consequences of policy non-compliance.
- Organization – As one of the main reasons for using a policy management solution is to eliminate the complexities and workload related to paper-based policies, your digital solution should have organization at its heart. It should let you search and categorize policies, thereby allowing them to be used as reference tools more easily.
- Accessibility – Policies are only useful if people read them. Your policy management solution should allow staff and employees to access the policy database and act accordingly. The easier this is to do, the better adherence will be. If your platform does not make it easy to access policies, employees will be less willing to search and find the policy, opting to “do their best” instead.
- Preset And Customizable Templates – Some policies will be overarching, industry-wide regulations. If these policies are built into the platform, admin and setup time can be reduced. Policy templates act as a good framework to customize, saving time whilst ensuring your solution is tailored to your organization.
- Policy Sharing – It should be simple to identify and export specific policies to internal and external stakeholders. This may be for compliance reasons, before working with a new contractor, or when contacting customers. Being able to share policies efficiently can avoid PR or legal issues by proving that you have appropriate policies in place.
- Tracking – While not an essential feature, having a means of monitoring who has read a policy can vastly reduce admin time as employees no longer have to manually confirm that they’ve read a document. Confirming this automatically can save time and happen without your employees realizing.