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Employees not complying with organizational and industry policies can cause serious damage to a business, such as regulatory fines and revenue loss. Nevertheless, the onus of ensuring that each employee knows and understands the relevant policies lies with the business.
Policy management software helps all types of businesses organize, review, and distribute their policies as well as get their employees to acknowledge and accept them.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll discuss the various deployment options and common features you must look for when shortlisting policy management software.
Policy management software is a tool that allows you to organize, edit, review, and distribute your policy and procedure documents. The software allows you to customize workflows that determine which employee or group is responsible for the next step in policy creation and sharing.
These tools help improve collaboration between legal, IT, and business operations team in creating and abiding by policies. Also, they let employees electronically attest that they agree to abide by the policies.
You can either subscribe to policy management solutions that are available on the cloud or buy the license and install the software on your system (on-premise). Your choice of deployment option will determine your upfront costs, maintenance costs, and availability of updates.
We discuss the two deployment options in detail below.
Cloud-based: These solutions are hosted on vendors’ servers and you can access them via web browsers (or mobile app, if available). Cloud-based solutions have lower upfront costs, generally offer free updates, and can be scaled easily to meet your evolving business needs. The major drawbacks of these solutions are reduced control as your data is stored on third-party servers and increased vulnerability as those servers support multiple tenants.
On-premise: On-premise applications are hosted on your organization’s own server and require investments in server, storage, and network hardware. The licenses are usually procured with a one-time fee. You’ll need to employ your own IT team for system maintenance, updates, and integrations. This option gives you complete control over your data.
GetApp.com recommends cloud-based applications for small and midsize businesses as they save a user the cost and effort of deploying and maintaining the software. It takes less time to set-up and start using the software.
Key questions to ask a vendor: How long does it take to set-up and start using the software? For the SaaS version, what’s the process to scale up?
Choosing a solution that offers the right set of features to match your needs is important. Here are the common features to look out for in policy management software:
Policy creation: Policy creation or policy authoring functionality lets you write, edit, review, and approve policies from directly within the tool. Custom workflows ensure that the right people have access to policy documents at the right step in the workflow.
Policy drafts in PolicyTech
Search: The search functionality in policy management software allows you to type in a keyword and get a list of all matching results. Advanced search functions allow you to search policies by author, title, or metadata, as well as within particular folders or drives.
Search bar in PolicyManager
Attestation: This feature allows employees to digitally sign and acknowledge that they agree to a particular set of terms. This also helps to track policy distribution and compliance.
Attestation feature in PolicyHub
Access controls: These controls help to ensure the appropriate degree of access to the right people, determining who can view, review, or edit policies.
Access controls in PolicyTech
Reports and dashboards: Reports and dashboards provide a centralized view of all your business policies—recent changes, policies that need update, how many employees have attested policies, etc. They help the management make decisions on revamping policies or creating new ones.
Dashboard in PolicyManager
Version control: It helps track all the versions of a policy document, allowing the management to monitor how they’ve evolved over time. It also helps maintain audit trails and capture details on who has made changes to a policy, and when.
Version history in PolicyManager
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations; they’ve been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.