Risk Management – Business Process Management Steps Up to the Challenge

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Why Risk Management is Top of Mind

Risk Management – this single objective is critical to the success of both commercial and government organizations. The need to proactively manage risk has increased in importance recently due to several factors – including high-profile business failures, government breakdowns in security and the rise in terrorism, and the increasing amounts of regulation being mandated by various governments. As a professional in the business world, you need to be concerned about risk on three fronts:

• Financial – Many large corporations have served as examples of what can happen when you have poor control over accounting processes and inadequate corporate governance. The impact on stock price, company valuation and cash flow can be devastating.

• Organizational – How do you measure the impact that a scandal has on your brand, your reputation, customer loyalty and employee productivity? While it is difficult to put a price tag on the value of these intangible assets, most managers will agree that a significant hit to any one of these areas can severely impact market share and profitability – sometimes so severely that it results in organizational shutdown.

• Personal – Suddenly it is not just about business anymore. As a manager, failure on your part to adequately manage risk in your organization can result in loss of your job, tarnishing of your reputation, and legal actions that could lead to jail time.

If these implications are not enough to entice you to address risk on your own, government organizations around the world are forcing the issue by mandating regulations on everything from accounting practices to homeland security to quality assurance – making compliance by the required deadlines a necessary task.

With so much at stake, it is not surprising that risk management and compliance have risen to the top of the priority list for just about every business and government executive.

But with so much information flowing through your organization, so many disparate systems running various processes, and so many people involved in the running of your business, how can you even begin to gain the control necessary to meet internal and external risk and compliance initiatives?

Take a deep breath – it is doable. A three-step approach can simplify this overwhelming challenge – (1) Gain visibility into your key processes; (2) Instill repeatability and control into those processes; and (3) Ensure you can capture an audit trail of every action taken within these critical processes. With the right the technology, successfully executing on these three steps can be easier than you think.

BPM Rises to the Challenge

Business process management (BPM) software delivers a mechanism for creating consistent, repeatable processes that can enforce process adherence, ensure authorization and security, and maintain an audit trail of both content and actions that are critical to the process. The software works with systems you already have in place and can be implemented quickly, providing much needed relief to IT organizations and executives facing short compliance deadlines. And best of all, BPM software has already been proven to be an effective application for compliance and risk management by many organizations – both commercial and government – around the world.

What makes BPM software such an ideal solution? The answer lies in the word “process.” Risk management and compliance have more to do with process than with people or data. If you are able to gain control of processes, create consistency in a process and document what is happening at every point in that process – including the people, actions and data involved – you will be able to significantly reduce risk across the board and achieve compliance with a broad range of regulations.

Business process management software excels at automating, managing and controlling unique, people-based processes – often this means the mission-critical processes that are key to your success. With online tools, you can quickly document a process and automate execution of that process across multiple systems, applications and people – regardless of location. Because the system controls the flow of the process, you are assured that critical steps are consistent and repeatable and that only authorized personnel are able to take action. Data is safeguarded and an audit trail is automatically captured and stored in relational database, making reporting and analysis fast and easy – for an auditor’s review or your own review for control or improvement purposes. Finally, because BPM software is designed to be flexible and adaptable and allow for dynamic process changes, it is very conducive to managing multiple processes and keeping up with constantly changing regulations.

It’s Worth a Look

In a nutshell, business process management software could be the answer to your risk management challenges. BPM addresses the three key steps we identified earlier – visibility, control, and auditability, and best of all it does it quickly and easily – allowing you to lower your risk, meet compliance deadlines and free up valuable resources to focus on more critical tasks – like running a successful business.


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