Establishing a Big Data-Driven GRC Culture

4 min read


The business complexities of today demand new resources, new investments, new ideas, and new innovative technology solutions that can integrate and automate various programs and processes, as the risk landscape and associated methodologies to manage them have undergone enormous changes. Organizations are increasingly seeking better, more proactive ways to understand and manage key areas such as risk management, compliance issues, audits, security, and business continuity programs. For most, the biggest challenge lies in truly breaking down “GRC silos” – to bring data, people, and departments together into a single source of truth. Doing this can help organizations cultivate a more collaborative, integrated, and risk-intelligent culture, and drive effective decision-making at the corporate level.

The effectiveness of governance, risk management, and compliance hinges on data. Being able to gather, analyze, and communicate information with the right stakeholders, in the right format, at the right time is critical. Leading, forward-thinking organizations are responding by creating an infrastructure within the organization and across its extended supplier ecosystem that leverages data in a meaningful way to support governance, risk, and compliance programs and decision-making. The vast and growing volume of unstructured and structured data today provides limitless opportunities to improve risk intelligence, support compliance, enhance customer relationships, build higher quality products and services, guide business strategy, and drive overall business performance.

A Single Source of Truth

By adopting an integrated GRC platform to serve as the single source of truth for all GRC-related data, organizations can better understand the interconnectedness of risks, regulations, audit findings, issues, and key governance processes. This can also help organizations better understand their risk profile, taking into account various factors ranging from basic security compliance, to document tracking, to vendor or supplier risks, while also providing a clear and holistic view of how different controls affect business objectives. In other words, analytics can be used to help organizations categorize, disambiguate, correlate, and understand data; then plan actions based on the data; and then implement the planned action swiftly to gain a competitive advantage.

Graphical Dashboards and Reports

Being able to pull data from various sources, and then consolidate the data into actionable intelligence via graphical dashboards and reports is the key to driving operational efficiency and success. Innovative technology systems can provide dynamic data visualizations that showcase trends and patterns in real time which will help executives make quicker decisions. However, the focus should not just remain on what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present, but also what it means for the future; the combination of historical insight and predictive foresight paves the way for a risk averse organization.

However, in spite of the vast benefits of a truly integrated, forward-looking big data analytics program, many companies today still have in place a number of disjointed and disparate solutions to monitor one or many areas of their business, to address one specific regulatory requirement, or to gather data around a single organizational process. By not taking a more strategic, long-term pragmatic approach to understanding how all the puzzle pieces fit together, organizations are at a disadvantage, and in most cases, will struggle to make meaningful connections across their data.

According to a recent EY survey on the influence of big data, 72% of the 450 executives surveyed believe big data can play a major role in areas such as fraud prevention and detection. However, only 7% indicated that they are aware of specific big data technologies, and only 2% are actually using them, which presents a tremendous opportunity for technology and solution providers.

Another study by Forrester Research revealed that high-performing companies – those with a 15% or more year-on-year growth rate as compared to their peers – are taking a selective approach to investing in big data. These findings indicate that there is still a long way to go. Making the step towards big data analytics and GRC convergence can no longer be considered a cost, but an investment.

Big data and analytics are here to stay, and only those companies that understand the immeasurable potential of these tools, and effectively tap into various big data sources such as social media, location, multimedia, text, documents, surveillance, medical records, videos, e-commerce, emails, voice, audio transcripts, stock trades, transaction logs, geospatial data, and weblogs will be best positioned to enhance their GRC initiatives. Leveraging the right systems, engaging the right teams, and taking a forward-looking approach to big data can help accelerate an organization’s journey to arrive at the ideal data-driven GRC culture, and push the envelope to script long term success.



Nanda Ramanujam Technology Management Professional

I am a seasoned technology management professional with over 15 years of software industry experience with 10 years in architecting, developing and delivering reliable and scalable Enterprise Class Web applications and messaging services for Audit, Governance, Risk and Compliance management, and Learning Management Systems. I have had extensive experience in establishing effective technology strategies, delivering critical projects on-time and on-budget, demonstrating a track record of creating and implementing enterprise governance models, creating technology roadmaps, and aligning business corporate objectives and technology initiatives to tangible solutions within the GRC domain.

I have a progressive experience in all facets of Software Application Development and demonstrated ability to lead cross-organizational technology and product development projects including solution architecture, requirements management, project planning, statement of work creation, execution management, risk management, budget management, vendor management and an ability to build and manage effective customer relationships.