In these days of interrupted processes and a workforce located not in the office but at home, you may be finding your legal operations processes struggling to cope. The time when you could pop into the director’s office for a signature on that contract, or gather senior leadership for an emergency board meeting in person, are over; instead, we’re facing a new normal where we must lean even more heavily on technology to perform even the most routine of business operations tasks.
And as you step into this fray, you may suddenly be finding that your well-honed and well-worn internal legal operations processes are, in fact, failing you. You may be struggling to manage policies and obligations, and to know how to demonstrate compliance both with those policies and with global regulations.
It’s times like these that really highlight the warning signs for entity management that are so easy to push aside or ignore when the going is good. If those warning signs and compliance sirens are getting louder and more distracting, it’s time to assess whether you need to invest in entity management software.
What to look for when assessing the need for entity management software
It’s easier said than done, of course. How can you tell whether you actually need entity management software, or whether the interruptions you’re experiencing are simply down to the times we find ourselves in?
Here are six warning signs that indicate that you could benefit from entity management software – that’s six areas to look at when assessing need.
1 Managing compliance
How do you currently track compliance with legislative, regulatory and contractual requirements and obligations? How much trust do you have in the resulting data?
If you’re overly reliant on the general counsel or on manual efforts to produce and maintain reports – and if those reports are created and tracked using spreadsheets such as those by Microsoft Excel – it may be a sign that you could modernize operations and implement legal compliance technology to streamline your workflow.
2 Managing risk
How do you currently manage risk? Do you have a risk framework, such as ISO 31000? If you do have a risk management tool, is it a stand-alone software or does it integrate with other areas of the business?
Risk management is a delicate and complex process, and you need to be able to rely on the information you’re using to assess risk. If you have any doubts about the robustness of your entity data, that’s a warning sign that you could benefit from entity management software.
3 Ensuring quality data
Speaking of doubts regarding data quality, how does your internal audit function currently operate? Do you have any formal processes or systems in place? How do you track corrective or preventive actions?
When it comes to audits, you need to have full and complete trust in the information you’re providing to auditors – just as you need to have trust in the data used for regulatory reporting. Entity management software can provide you with real-time entity data that helps to track potential issues before they become problems.
4 Having the right tools
How do you run your legal operations department and processes? Are you using any solutions or tools today for compliance, risk, governance, audit, and other regulatory and entity data tracking and storage? If you are using tools for GRC, are they integrated? How easily can you share data, common controls and so on?
Spreadsheets are not designed for the modern governance and compliance organization. It’s too easy to introduce human error or incomplete data, and version control is risky. This can make reporting difficult, ineffective and/or untrustworthy – another warning sign that signals a potential need for entity management software.
5 Instilling efficiency
The right tools can, of course, enable more efficient operations. When your teams are working with robust technology – platforms and solutions that are integrated, that share data and that can be accessed from anywhere at any time – then legal operations become more efficient and streamlined.
Entity management software can help to manage the ongoing accuracy of the corporate record using compliance calendars, reminders and workflows for better data. It can enable reporting on governance and compliance requirements, and electronic filing of statutory forms with global regulatory bodies. And it enables you to store entity information, documents and organizational charts in a highly secure format to create a single source of truth for entity management.
6 Enabling business continuity
And, of course, all of the above indicates a robust ability to trust in business continuity when times get uncertain – or when the world is dealing with a pandemic crisis. The final warning sign to look out for in entity management software is an inability to trust in your own processes during a crisis. Are you secure in how your business will be able to operate when times get tough? Do you have the appropriate tools and processes in place to enable business continuity? If not, it’s worth considering a technological solution.
When entity management software is the right solution
Entity management software won’t always be the answer, but once you’ve weighed your challenges and have landed upon the need for a technological solution, it’s important to make sure you get the right technology for your business.
The right entity management software can bring many benefits to an organization, including more efficient management of the whole entity life cycle, the centralization of legal entity data into a single source of truth and simplified reporting using real-time entity data. Many organizations find the power of entity management software to be transformational for their compliance, governance and risk management processes.
But you don’t want to end up with a hodgepodge of different tech, all handling a single process and not aligning in any way, shape or form. It doesn’t have to be that way. Diligent’s suite of GRC software integrates seamlessly to create the Governance Cloud, an all-in-one ecosystem of governance and compliance platforms that helps to ensure data and workflows are aligned no matter which part of the organization or process they fall under.
By creating a single source of truth in a central repository, Diligent’s entity management and governance software help to put the right information in the hands of the right people at the right time. As a cloud-based technology, it means any necessary stakeholder can access their piece of the puzzle from anywhere – something that is incredibly useful in these days of Covid-19-related lockdowns. It helps to ensure business continuity and keeps your entities in good standing wherever they’re located.
Get in touch and request a demo to see how Diligent’s suite of compliance and governance software can help silence those warning signs and get your legal operations working seamlessly and effectively.