Selecting the Best GRC Solution: What You Need to Know Before Investing

6 min read


Key Considerations for Buying a GRC Software Solution

As organizations grow and scale their operations, they are required to upgrade their governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) programs and activities accordingly. While a traditional approach to GRC involving spreadsheets, emails, and/or point solutions would have somewhat worked in the past, expanding business operations together with the fast-changing risk and regulatory landscape compels organizations to consider investing in GRC tools and software solutions. 

Finding the right solution is daunting considering the growing number of GRC software vendors in the market, each promising their unique value proposition. Gartner notes that the GRC vendor selection process is also complicated due to the wide range of requirements of various stakeholders involved in the process, such as BU heads of enterprise risk management, corporate compliance, IT and cyber security, credit risk management, and others. 

Organizations are increasingly seeking a one-stop solution that is connected, scalable, and cognitive, as well as one that meets the expectations of various stakeholders. On these lines, what are the specific capabilities that the decision-makers must keep in mind before choosing a GRC solution? 

In this blog, we discuss the key considerations for buying a GRC software solution – from a buyer’s perspective. Let’s break it down.

1. Connected: Integration and Interoperability

While exploring various GRC solutions, organizations would definitely find terms like ‘integrated approach,’ ‘integration,’ ‘unified approach,’ ‘holistic approach,’ etc., again and again. What does it mean? 

More often than not, organizations find themselves managing governance, risk management, and compliance activities in a disjointed manner, depending on the maturity of each process and evolving business requirements. This inevitably results in organizational silos, which lead to duplication of efforts and data, blind spots, and high cost of compliance. Particularly in the era of amplified interconnectedness of risks and shared controls, it hampers an organization’s ability to accurately understand risk relationships and impact on effective decision-making. 

An integrated approach is nothing but a cohesive approach to managing governance, risk management, and compliance activities across business units, geographical locations, and the extended vendor network. It requires firm-wide common GRC taxonomy, shared risk and control libraries, enterprise-level and business unit-level risk appetite allocation and risk aggregation, and standardized and streamlined processes across GRC activities. Most importantly, it requires buy-in from all key stakeholders. 

Deploying a single, technology-driven GRC solution, with capabilities for establishing standardized taxonomy and centralized risk repository, can help an organization: 

  • Gain a single source of truth for all stakeholders 
  • Eliminate duplication of efforts and reduce costs 
  • Improve efficiency by automating repeatable tasks 
  • Enhance risk visibility and foresight with real-time, actionable insights

Interoperability is the ability of the GRC software to securely exchange information with other systems. While the integrated approach calls for the implementation of a single system, it is important to ensure that the system supports interoperability to capture and aggregate risk information from various sources. For example, integrating with regulatory content providers, risk rating providers, threat intelligence providers, and others via APIs or connectors.

2. Cloud: Agility and Scalability

The solution must be flexible to scale up or down depending on changing business conditions and requirements. A cloud-based GRC solution offers this much-needed agility and flexibility with high security, greater efficiency, and easier upgrades compared to on-premise solutions. Furthermore, opting for a cloud-based solution is also aligned with the ongoing digital transformation initiatives at organizations. McKinsey estimates that most companies will aim to allocate 80% of their IT budget toward cloud computing by this year.

In this context, low-code/no-code capabilities are also gaining popularity. By enabling organizations to configure and personalize the solution to meet their specific needs without the need to depend on the software vendor, a solution with low-code/no-code capabilities can significantly accelerate GRC program productivity and outcomes.

3. Cognitive: Artificial Intelligence and Continuous Innovation

There is no denying that artificial intelligence (AI)-infused workflows are the future. We are already seeing more and more applications of AI in GRC processes, such as scanning the regulatory horizon, managing issues, providing remedial action recommendations, optimizing the control environment, scanning policies and documents, and many others. With its promise to provide actionable insights quickly, AI can help organizations accelerate decision-making, create bandwidth for teams, and gain a competitive edge. 

To better meet the needs of today’s dynamic enterprise, GRC solutions need to go beyond just being a workflow-driven automation tool to a more comprehensive tool that’s cognitive and intelligent. A ‘single pane of glass’ view has become the industry norm for reporting GRC metrics. In this context, organizations are increasingly looking for solutions that support cross-product reporting, which allows importing relevant data from various products to build one comprehensive report. 

When considering a GRC solution, organizations should evaluate the technological prowess of the vendor. This requires examining not only the current capabilities and functionalities offered by their solution but also their innovation roadmap. Continuous innovation is essential for ensuring that the GRC solution is relevant and ready to adapt to the evolving business and technological landscape.

4. Continuous: Autonomous and Always-On

A periodic approach to managing governance, risk, and compliance management activities and processes is no longer effective in the digital era. Organizations today operate in a highly dynamic business environment, where they must protect their IT infrastructure, data, and assets from cyber risks, stay on top of threats, vulnerabilities, and other emerging risks, and be compliant with a multitude of industry regulations and standards. Relying on human effort for these tasks will not only result in a lag where risk, compliance, and audit teams struggle to meet expectations but also leave the organization vulnerable to risks and blind spots. 

An autonomous, always-on approach is one that is continuously running in the background and requires minimal human intervention. Before choosing a GRC solution, organizations must explore if it supports autonomous capabilities, such as continuous testing and monitoring of controls to proactively identify control weaknesses and gaps and compliance with relevant regulations. Ideally, the solution should collect evidence, generate automated reports, and notify appropriate personnel for remedial actions.

How MetricStream is Leading the Way

MetricStream’s core innovation focus is on making its products and solutions more Cognitive, Continuous, Connected, and Cloud-based. We are a recognized industry leader in GRC, empowering organizations across industries and geographies to thrive on risk for 25 years now. Here’s what sets MetricStream apart in the GRC space: 

  • Future-ready products and solutions built on top of a low-code/no-code integrated GRC platform that empowers all stakeholders to follow a consistent and collaborative approach 
  • Intelligent AI-powered capabilities for managing issues, recommending action plans, scanning of SOC2 and SOC3 reports, and AiSPIRE, an AI-based knowledge-centric tool for GRC 
  • Autonomous capabilities that enable continuous testing and monitoring of controls across on-prem and cloud environments 
  • Truly connected products that allow secure sharing of data across MetricStream platform as well as external third-party GRC systems 
  • Forward-looking product innovation roadmap and strategy that leverages peer-to-peer discussions on industry trends and best practices through customer forums and advisory boards

If you want to understand how MetricStream can help you embark on the GRC journey, request a personalized demo today.

Pat McParland

Patricia McParland AVP – Marketing

Pat McParland is AVP of Product Marketing at MetricStream. She is responsible for creating product messaging, product go-to-market plans, and analyzing market trends for MetricStream's cyber compliance and third party risk product lines. Pat has more than 25 years of financial data and technology marketing experience at Fortune 1000 brands as well as startups and has led product and marketing teams at Dow Jones and Dun & Bradstreet. She has a BA from the College of William and Mary and lives in Summit, New Jersey.


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