Does GRC stand for governance, risk, and compliance — or governance, risk, and confusion? In the software market, it’s too often the latter. With multiple technology options and no common definitions, knowing when you need a GRC solution — or which one you need — isn’t easy.

Strong, technology-enabled GRC programs can be a real competitive differentiator for organizations, so making the right choice is essential. Here are four questions to help define your focus when beginning the GRC software purchase process:

  1. What problems are you trying to solve?
    What are your greatest concerns? Cyber risk? Trade compliance? Reputational impacts? Emerging risks?
    The first step in your GRC software purchasing journey is to understand your unique needs. It’s easy to get hung up on finding and buying the “best” and most feature-rich product on the market. But if these solutions don’t deliver the actionable intelligence you need to accomplish your goals, then they won’t bring enough value.
  2. Which features and functionalities are most important today?
    Do you need an ERM solution, plus an audit tool? Or ERM software with added compliance capabilities? What about analytics and reporting capabilities? Should you go the with a single platform with multiple tools for better collaboration — or look for separate point solutions for each function?
    With so many solutions on the market, questions inevitably arise around the right combination of tools, features, and functions. The best plan of attack is to separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves. Look at what you need today and what you’ll likely need in the future. Buy the combination of tools that will deliver both the functionality you need right now and the scalability to carry you forward – within a reasonable budget.
  3. Who should be directly involved in the purchasing process?
    Assemble a buying team based on three factors: who needs the software, who maintains the software, and who controls the funds. Involving too many stakeholders can lead to buying tools you don’t need or wasting money on multiple point solutions with overlapping features. You can’t please everyone, so focus on addressing the practicalities of those who have skin in the game.
    It usually makes sense for risk management to lead the charge. The risk management team typically has the most visibility into what features and functions will accomplish the organization’s priorities. This team also has the best view of how risk affects the entire organization and has the power to help everyone see and think about risk more uniformly.
  4. Who should advise?
    Other departments and stakeholders get a voice, but not equal say. Internal audit, for instance, is a valuable advisor in the GRC software buying process. This department can verify that the solution under consideration has good controls, so the right people assess the right risks, and the information is reliable. Similarly, IT can offer important expertise around deployment, training, and integrations.

The best GRC solution enables organizations to understand what could happen and what can be done about it, so leadership can make fast and smart decisions to protect the organization. If a technology doesn’t deliver on this fundamental promise, look elsewhere.

Find everything you ever wanted to know about GRC here. If you’re ready to draft an RFP for a GRC solution, download this list of the most critical GRC-related questions, which can be easily modified to suit your needs.