Too Small To Think About Risk Management? Think Again

Jennifer Schulze

How to Avoid the Risks and Challenges in Creating Services for PCompanies of all sizes put a great deal of focus on running the business, finding new customers, making sure needs are met, and doing what it takes to grow as cost-effectively as possible.

But many fail to adequately address governance, risk, and compliance, or GRC. The terms and the acronym aren’t exactly inspirational, but the significance of GRC programs, policies, and practices cannot be overstated. However, it isn’t unusual for small and medium-size enterprises to lack a strong, proven GRC strategy or solution.

GRC may seem uninteresting and perhaps even unworthy of much attention, but this perspective is dangerous and can lead to massive problems being covered up and overlooked. Instead, these issues need to be uncovered and addressed before they cripple operations or end up in a courthouse.

Few would argue against the logic and value of seeing and mitigating risks in advance. Unfortunately, however, it’s common for top management to fail to make risk management a top priority—until they discover a problem that could have been avoided through better planning and preventative action.

GRC needs to take an up-front role today. There’s too much at stake, and the effort and investment will pay off. Many GRC processes can also be automated using best practices and a scaleable enterprise platform.

Here are some additional advantages:

  • Improve overall financial performance by avoiding pitfalls, hidden costs, and imminent risks
  • Analyze operations to reap full value with carefully planned processes from all GRC standpoints
  • Zero in on what matters, where you have the highest risks, and be ready to scale
  • Optimize audit planning and reporting, from testing to documentation
  • Prepare for and correctly handle cross-border transactions/international trade compliance

Get clarity, advance with confidence

Complex scenarios abound in every industry and vertical market. That’s what makes GRC both an art and a science. First, you must fully understand what each of the three terms means in relation to the particular business and industry involved. And the adage holds true: No two companies are exactly alike.

On the other hand, it’s not unusual to experience similar risks and legal consequences in any given marketplace, and best practices may actually span multiple types of business models. You can still count on vast differences and variables from one enterprise to the next.

Clearly, people are different, and processes and procedures seldom look the same as competitive strengths and weaknesses come into play. GRC management should begin with an objective perspective, including an understanding of the business problems you wish to solve as well as alertness to emerging warning signs.

The case is already made

When you really get down to making governance, risk management, and compliance a core function, vulnerabilities are easier to spot and remedies become more immediately apparent. Even if you’re not yet aspiring to international heights or facing increasingly dynamic GRC requirements, don’t make the mistake of ignoring or downplaying what the right approach can do – and what it can prevent. Potential cost savings alone make the case for comprehensive GRC management. Add in the possibility of debilitating compliance violations, and the justification is crystal clear.

Explore the options. Start with the right software. GRC management unfolds when you have a solution that guides you and helps ensure the right practices and policies are in place, with automated means of supporting compliance, assessing risk levels and monitoring all related factors. It’s easier than you may think, and far more logical to embrace than deny the importance of GRC. It starts at the top and goes directly to the bottom line.

From the cloud to mobile devices and integrating on premise…whatever the environment, GRC shouldn’t be relegated to a sideline strategy or silo mentality. Make it part of core business activities and responsibilities. It’s critical to preserving and growing any company into a top performer today.

For more insight on risk management, see When Is It OK To Have High Risks In Your Heat Map?

About Jennifer Schulze

Jennifer Schulze is Vice President of marketing for SAP. In her role, she manages customer marketing as part of the office of the COO. She has over 15 years of technology marketing and management experience and is a small business owner in the San Francisco Bay area.