Business 101 is clear: If you want to succeed, figure out what the market wants and deliver it better than anyone else. The tricky bit is figuring out what “better than anyone else” actually looks like.

In the jargon of business, this is your competitive advantage: that which makes an entity’s goods or services superior to all of a customer’s other choices. To create a competitive edge, you need to know the real benefit your company can provide, who your target customers are and who your competitors are. Then you need to reinforce that message in every communication.

Simple, right? But what about behind the scenes? What happens in the back offices of a business to help deliver its competitive advantage? We’re not just talking about the sales and marketing teams here; every worker bee in the hive plays their own role in driving the business forward. If your organization has comprehensive and accurate entity information available to all who need it, when they need it, combined with a way to effectively report on that data, then your organization has a competitive edge.

But perhaps the most unsung heroes in the competition are the compliance, governance and legal operations professionals tasked with delivering this good entity management. Without robust entity information — and a central place to hold that information so everyone accesses the most up-to-date data insights — General Counsel and legal specialists risk making bad decisions that adversely affect the organization.

Good Data Enables Fast Decisions

The market moves fast — especially today, with the influx of technology enabling businesses to deliver faster, better, more efficiently and more effectively. But that fast market demands fast decision-making. Without speed, the competitive advantage begins to erode, as lack of speed gives other companies the chance to jump in with their own offers.

Strong and robust entity information enables an organization to take decisive action while peers are still fumbling around trying to find the data they need. Take an M&A opportunity, for example: With entity information effectively managed in a central repository, general counsel can run scenario planning exercises and advise the board on the best course of action, and legal operations professionals can act quickly because they have everything they need at hand.

It’s important to ensure all those in decision-making positions have access to the right information at the right time, which is where good entity management comes in. It helps to deliver a competitive edge through enabling fast decisions, and by helping an organization to lead the competition rather than follow it.

Robust Risk Management Breeds Good Entity Management

It’s not just the speed of the market, though. We’re living and working in a very volatile world, and market forces can conspire against even the strongest and most robust businesses — just look at the issues facing the giants of the UK High Street right now. And this trend of increasing uncertainty brings more risk for businesses, demanding a strategic-level attention to risk management.

While risk managers look at a whole range of indicators as part of their remit, one big topic of interest lies in entity information. A risk manager needs to be able to assess the state of an entity to decide if it meets the risk appetite of the organization — they need to know the regulatory requirements and the state of the organization’s ability to meet those requirements, among other things. They also need to trust that this information is clear and actionable, up-to-date and accurate.

This is where good entity management comes into play: Strong entity information held in a central repository — meaning that there is no issue with version control — helps the risk manager to make competitive decisions based on the organization’s ability to withstand and grow with that risk on board.

Entity Diagramming Highlights Growth Opportunities

Imagine being able to see your entire company structure at a single glance — what could you do with that gift?

Organizations can also gain a competitive edge through good entity management by harnessing the power of entity relationship diagramming. Part and parcel of robust entity management software, an entity diagram goes one step beyond the traditional flat organizational structure you can create with Microsoft packages and brings in the full picture — with links to documentation, director data, compliance requirements and more.

Entity visualizations can be a key visual input to show the relationships between people, places or systems within an organization. With those relationships front and center, you can start to map out the growth opportunities within your organization. Is there a gap in the market you can exploit? Would moving into new territories or jurisdictions bring the rewards you seek?

Entity diagramming can help deliver that competitive edge by bringing to light those opportunities that might otherwise stay in the shadows.

Entity Management Software Drives Competitive Data Analysis

All of this entity information and organizational data can clearly deliver a competitive edge to a business, whether it’s through enabling risk managers to assess risk and the risk appetite of the company, or general counsel making better, faster competitive decisions, or generally visualizing the current state of the company and enabling scenario planning to see what could be.

To make the most of these possibilities, though, organizations need technological support. This is wider than just an entity management solution — it brings in board management and wider strategic governance issues, too.

Modern governance empowers business leaders with technology, insights and processes to fuel the good governance practices that help organizations to thrive and endure in today’s fast-paced world. The right technology infrastructure can help you to create a single source of truth to meet governance challenges head on.

Diligent offers a solution to address the governance deficit that is broader than just entity management software. By integrating board and entity management platforms, Diligent helps general counsel, legal operations, and compliance and governance teams to surface the right information to the right people in a format that works for them.

Get in touch and schedule a demo to see how Diligent can help your organization to gain a competitive edge to improve governance by having the right information, analytics and insights to spot risks, act on opportunities and turn insights into action.