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How to Build your Business Case for GRC Software

August 3, 2020


Why do you need a business case for GRC software?

If you do not have GRC software yet, or you have a GRC software that isn’t meeting your needs, it is time for you to develop a business case for a solution that supports the vision and strategy for working with GRC in your company.

With dedicated GRC software you can overcome the challenges and drive more value to your business. This eBook helps you through five steps, specifying what to consider and prioritize when building your business case. A well thought-through business case will win the support you need from decision-makers to buy the solution that fits your organization’s exact needs.

What makes a good business case?

Consider your own and the organization’s GRC objectives and what challenges prevent you and your team from meeting them. The list may be long, but overall goal may be to ultimately turn GRC anxiety into GRC pleasure.

Therefore, key objectives may be to:

  • Increase productivity and avoid manual GRC work.
  • Increase transparency and unwanted surprises.
  • Manage governance, risk, and compliance in one tool and eliminate silo work
  • Improve the quality of GRC thinking by evidence-based assessments
  • Adapt to regulatory or legal changes confidently and quickly.


Step 1: Address all decision-makers

When building the business case, consider who in the organization will benefit from GRC software. You want to address not only your 1st line manager, but all relevant decision-makers in the organization. Business areas like finance, compliance, and the Audit Committee will benefit from GRC software, too. The number of people to approve your software purchase depends on your organization’s size and structure, and how widely you’re looking to implement the solution.

Typical decision-makers and other interested stakeholders are:

  • Board and Committee Chairpersons
  • Chief Risk Officer
  • Head of Compliance Manager
  • Head of Internal Audit
  • Head of BCP
  • IT Manager/CTO/CISO/CIO
  • Finance Manager/CFO

Step 2: Highlight Key Challenges

You want to articulate the problems and challenges related to the GRC area in a way that is easily comprehensible for your multiple decision-makers.

The main challenges faced by your team and other business areas in the organization are main drivers for the purchase. Thus, prioritize among a long list of challenges and include examples that relate to your organization.

Think of how you face the following challenges in your own business and what level of priority they are to you to tackle.

Increased complexity and regulation

It is difficult to handle the growing complexity that comes with more international and national regulation, laws and privacy policies. Managing GRC will take up more time and resources in future, and more external audits will bring up costs. We need embedded automation and intelligence to manage increased complexity in an efficient manner.

Lack of objective, data-driven assessments of risk and compliance status

In the absence of consistent, integrated GRC information, employees are not able to make evidence-based assessments of risk and compliance status. On the contrary, these assessments often become more subjective than objective. We need to raise the quality of GRC assessments and improve GRC thinking in the organization.

Lack of confidence and certainty

We don’t have full confidence in our GRC data. Nor do we have full certainty that our organization is able to adjust to changes quickly and in due time. With compliance failures resulting in large fines and regulatory penalties, our company can be brought down in one day. Everyone in the organization as well as our external stakeholders needs to have confidence and certainty in our GRC processes. Have a GRC solution you would be proud to put in front of your regulator.

Lack of transparency and visibility

We are not able to instantly identify critical or conflicting GRC data. Without transparency and visibility of all data relating to GRC, it’s nearly impossible to make the right decisions, and, even worse, unwanted surprises are inevitable. We need transparency inside out, upside down.

Lack of productivity

Highly educated employees spend almost half their working day on tactical tasks, such as manipulating spreadsheets, mining data, and building reports. We need them to focus on strategic tasks instead of secretarial work. Also, we need to be able to build reports in seconds, not days.

Lack of efficiency and overview

Our workflows are not streamlined, and it’s nearly impossible with disparate data sources, e.g. e-mails, Word documents, Excel documents, PowerPoints and pdfs in myriad places. We need to be able to gather all data in one place and reduce the time spent on erroneous data in spreadsheets and other manual activities.

Lack of flexibility

We are not able to onboard new users and new roles in a flexible way. More employees in our organization will become involved in GRC in future, so we should be able to adopt and roll-out our GRC methodology faster without having to code or invest in new software modules each time.

Step 3: Highlight key benefits

In order to obtain executive support for your software vision you need to qualify the business value as much as possible. How will it benefit the organization and what is the expected ROI?

Risk reduction

Although risk management is not about eliminating all risk, a GRC software solution will point out where things are fine, evidence-based, and, perhaps more importantly, it lets you know where things aren’t fine, so you can take action. After all, the primary purpose of a GRC framework is to find deficiencies and remedy them. If it doesn’t do this, it simply isn’t effective.

  • Improved compliance Fewer audit findings, regulatory enforcements and lawsuits.
  • More effective risk posture Lower cost of capital, insurance premiums and external audit fees.
  • More tolerable risk treatment Prioritized and faster remediation.
  • Increased accountability e.g. action tracking, mapping responsibilities to senior managers.

Benefits to consider in a business case should include:

Better strategic decision-making

A GRC software solution will improve the quality of governance, risk and compliance thinking in your organization. Users are guided through logical steps to come to logical conclusions, so decisions are based on objective, evidence-based assessments. A GRC software solution will bring certainty to knowing exactly where you stand and where to focus, thus strengthening strategic decision-making.

High flexibility

A software solution is a key asset to obtain high flexibility in your GRC capabilities. The solution lets you evolve and move up the maturity scale at whatever pace suits you and to whatever level meets your needs. More employees in your organization will become involved in GRC in future. Therefore, you need to be able to adopt and roll-out your GRC tools faster to a larger group of users. Thus, you need simplicity and extreme user-friendliness in your solution.

High usability

GRC should be embedded in your organization in a way so everybody with a role in GRC feels confident with the solution. Look out for a solution that is user friendly, easy to configure and intuitively engage employees at all levels, even those who only use the solution every third month.

Easy and fast implementation

Make sure that the GRC solution can be implemented in days instead of months, and that you can rely on the third party to take your framework and data and provide a GRC solution which exactly replicates your process with minimal input.

Efficiency improvements

This is considered the most recognized and tangible benefit. A GRC solution will free at least free up 20% time from administrative and managerial tasks, such as finding files, generating reports, chasing updates, etc.

The reason being:

  • All dialogue relating to findings, actions progress, and report approval can be undertaken in a GRC solution, rather than via numerous separate emails.
  • Committee reports are automatically being generated in the background while you are doing your work.
  • Real-time data relevant for GRC management are being collected in one repository.
  • Time spent on control and risk management is reduced.

Step 4: Things to ask a potential vendor

It may be difficult to know one solution from the other. In what ways may one solution be more suitable for your organization than others? The most important thing for you is to make sure that the solution you choose can support your visions and strategy. These requirements below might be helpful to navigate from:

Is it flexible?

Whatever the GRC world throws at you in the future, you should be able to handle it in one solution – a living product that accelerates and adapts with your needs. Make sure that your users do not have to adapt to new systems and that you don’t have to buy addon modules or product updates.

Does it engage all users?

Everybody with a role in GRC should feel confident with the solution. Thus, it has to be extremely user-friendly to intuitively engage employees at all levels. Also for those who only use the solution every third month.

Is the payment model fair?

Look for a customer-friendly licensing model based on usage rather than the number of people using our software. This means that you can enrol more users to derive greater value.

Does it require a lot of code?

You will save money and time using a native cloud platform with simple button-push configuration tools. You don’t need software engineers to tailor the software to your specific needs. You just need a vision.

Does it enable proactivity?

Look for agility and DevOps development principles in the solution. By launching small pilot projects, you will get experience and knowledge fast and be able to redesign and reconfigure the solution to be at its best – at any time.

Does it truly address G,R and C?

Seek a system which fully covers all components of Governance, Risk and Compliance. For Governance, incorporate all aspects from Committee reporting, Policy Management, Board action tracking and Senior Management Reporting.

For Risk, cover qualitative and quantitative assessments where needed and risk landscape perspectives.

For Compliance, cover Compliance monitoring, all compliance registers needed, regulatory interactions and timetables.

Step 5: How to stay happy after implementation

It’s obvious that you need a solution which is easy to implement and easy to maintain. But one other thing you should be aware of is support. High quality, rapid response support is a critical component of any GRC solution.

  • Direct access to a GRC domain expert.
  • A customer success lead.
  • A developer when needed for integrations or similar.
  • No red tape.
  • No third parties involved.
  • Immediate support from the same experts who know your business and who develop your GRC platform.

About Decision Focus

Decision Focus enables your organization to meet the increasing GRC demands - smarter and with fewer resources. As it should be.

Decision Focus is based on a completely different philosophy than other GRC tools. We offer you a solution that helps you operate consistent GRC processes and manage them via a framework which delivers confidence and efficiency.

You get access to all the GRC functionality you need from day one and do not have to buy successive modules at additional cost. Importantly, you get a solution which readily adapts to fit your exact needs. We don’t want to squeeze you into a standard solution but offer you a highly flexible and user-friendly solution that everybody loves to use.

Decision Focus is not only for governance, it is not only for risk and not only for compliance. Decision Focus is a fully integrated solution that enables you to manage all three areas in a single platform. No more silos. We offer you a solution that breaks down internal barriers and lets you manage all aspects of GRC including internal audit in a simple manner - with the same line of thinking and a common terminology throughout your organization. Decision Focus will save you time and money and free you up to focus on value-add tasks.

Any questions?

The Decision Focus team are here to answer your questions.