Asses your risks to ensure an effective governance
Understanding and managing risk is an inherent part of the business process. In order for your company to survive and maintain a competitive advantage, it must take planned risks that will be rewarded with profit and growth. By addressing the risks that await your company before they become a threat, you gain the clarity to formulate effective controls that will offset the danger that they pose. With compliance initiatives such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), BASEL II, and ISO, it has become imperative that a company models its controls to ensure a transparent audit trail. Without an effective tool to help manage risk and controls, the compliance audit process becomes an obstacle to your business.
How Risk Management can help: Risk management allows business owners to include risks in their business strategy. By conceiving of the risks related to business activities, your company can focus on preventative rather than reactive risk management. By looking at risk management in terms of processes, a business can use known risks to its advantage, while offsetting the threat that they pose with specific controls. Risks no longer become threats, but planned activities in the business process. This brings the added benefit of maintaining a clear repository of risks and controls and how they are related to the business process along the dimensions of time and ownership. Coupled with a reporting tool, your company can achieve compliance with as little hassle as possible.
Interfacing’s Enterprise Process Center is a Business Process Management (BPM) tool that allows your company to manage risk as it relates to business processes. It is often difficult for employees involved in their daily activities to understand what role they play in a company hierarchy. BPM allows business users to map company processes, allowing for more open communication and understanding within your company. By making shared goals explicit through BPM, your company can work together more actively.
The Risk Module of the EPC augments the standard BPM tool with a comprehensive risk and control mapping engine. Potential risks can be assigned to specific processes, where they are in turn related to controls. This gives employees the ability to understand what risks will be encountered during their activities, and what measures must be taken to ensure that the risk poses no threat to the enterprise or compliance.
Business Process Management: A Better Understanding
By mapping processes with risks and controls in the EPC, you get an accurate picture of how your company operates, and of how these operations must be improved. Bottlenecks in workflow occur when processes are implemented poorly, leading to poor performance and reduced profit. Improperly assigned controls and unanticipated risks arise when a company has a poor understanding of what it is doing. BPM allows a company to understand itself.
Many static programs can be used to track risks and achieve compliance, but they are difficult to update and the data remains abstract. Integrated solutions like Interfacing’s EPC allows you to create a dynamic process view of your company and the immediate risks associated with each process. The flexible graphical user interface allows for clear organization of risks and controls, presenting risks as objects within processes, and not as abstract data.
The EPC further emphasizes a collaborative and dynamic environment through discussion forums and automatic email that presents relevant information to employees through their inbox. This enables key resources to stay in touch with what risks are active, and with what controls must be implemented. Test schedules and automated reports can be drawn up at the click of a button to allow for quick decision making and auditing processes. Owners are assigned to maintain controls, ensuring that your company can operate with the confidence that all relevant resources are informed of their priorities and understand their goals.
Interfacing uses the industry-standard COSO and COBIT templates to manage risks, making it easy to integrate the EPC with your existing risk management system.