Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are processes and practices that set your organization apart from your competitors. SOPs consists of documentation from every facet of your business including human resources, information technology (IT), customer service, sales, and management. Yet, SOPs can easily be mismanaged under manual paper-based or decentralized systems. Even something as simple as ensuring that your organization is using the same version of every critical document can prove challenging with this antiquated strategy.
The best automated SOP systems solve the shortcomings of prior approaches by integrating compliance best practices such as full document lifecycle management; automated notifications with reminders; online knowledge access with testing, questionnaires, and acceptance confirmation; and real-time compliance management and measurement.
The benefits of a cloud-based, automated SOP system
Some organizations make the mistake of associating electronic storage with automation. Just because a file is stored on a hard drive instead of a three-ring binder doesn’t mean it will be easier to handle. In fact, simply scanning documents and storing them in a traditional folder-based file system replicates the inefficiencies inherent in the paper-based approach. You will still run into issues related to file duplication, version control, the inability to quickly find information, and not being able to confirm that recipients have read and understand the information sent to them (1).
A cloud-based, automated SOP system is very different. While you can create your own Enterprise Information Management system, a cloud-based system provides a low-cost alternative that can be just as comprehensive. Delivered through a web-based interface, this type of automated SOP system provides corporate-wide services that all members can access anywhere with a connection to the Internet. You will streamline document creation with the ability to categorize documents, attach videos and photo references, lock sections, and even create templates for a consistent workflow—all within the same platform.
By moving your SOP to a cloud-based automated system, you will also enable unique features like mobile access, quick search, a means to route feedback and approval, the ability to document access history, and high-level reporting.
Using automated SOP systems to adapt to changing business environments
As organizations grow so do their complexity and need for more SOP for areas like information technology. To rapidly implement new SOPs, the inclusion of important policies are often overlooked. For instance, organizations that fail to create the appropriate IT SOPs can become victim to costly delays as the very systems that the new IT structure are supposed to oversee fail to gain user adoption (2).
An automated SOP system can solve these problems by providing a dynamic framework that will allow you to develop recommended IT SOP as well as provide a means to ensure user compliance. Authoring the best IT SOPs requires input and approval from multiple stakeholders, a process that can be streamlined and simplified with an automated cloud-based system. With this approach areas ranging from system maintenance and physical security to system change control and electronic signature policy can be moved to each stakeholder with fine detail so you can track who has and has not approved the latest version of the documentation.
TotalCompliance, a powerful cloud-based automated SOP system
Once you’ve finalized your latest SOP update, some policies such as those related to security and privacy will require that every member of the organization read and agree to follow the procedures. Keeping track of who has reviewed each document is easy with an automated SOP system like TotalCompliance by ComplianceBridge. Not only will your users have the ability to see real-time status of each document, your administrators will be able to send custom, timed notifications that can even be set to escalate after several attempts.
Curious about how you would transition the SOP system at your organization into a cloud-based, automated version? Request a free demo of TotalCompliance to receive a complete walkthrough of how the system can make a difference at your organization.
- Quality Digest. May 18, 2015. Accessed July 06, 2017. https://www.qualitydigest.com/inside/quality-insider-article/060315-fresh-take-sop-management.html#.
- Fenton, Paul. “9 Must-Have IT SOP’s When Implementing a Regulated Electronic System.” Our Blog. Accessed July 06, 2017. https://blog.montrium.com/blog/9-must-have-it-sops-when-implementing-a-regulated-electronic-system.
- “Powerful Policy Management Software from ComplianceBridge.” ComplianceBridge. Accessed July 06, 2017. http://compliancebridge.com/products/policy-management-software/.