Automating Approval Workflows in ComplianceBridge

Automating Approval Workflows in ComplianceBridge

Written by on September 26, 2019

Cody: Welcome to the ComplianceBridge podcast, your source for the latest on risk management and policy and procedure management. My name is Cody Miles and I’ll be your host for today’s episode. Today, I’m joined by Dana Greenberg, customer success manager at ComplianceBridge. We’re going to discuss the workflows feature in TotalCompliance. You’ll learn how this feature works, how our users are taking advantage of it and how you can prepare for your next compliance audit with workflow reporting. Dana was a fantastic guest, and I know you’ll enjoy this podcast.

Welcome to the podcast, Dana.

Dana: Hey, Cody, how are you?

Cody: I’m doing great, thanks for asking. So, today we’re talking about workflows in ComplianceBridge. Let me begin by asking, why do policy managers and administrators even need workflow management?

Dana: To be honest, most companies, organizations, already have an existing collaboration or an approval process in place, they just don’t necessarily call it ‘workflow’. But typically the policy manager is doing all the work of sending or routing the policies via email. Most likely they’re keeping a spreadsheet on that policy of where that status is in the workflow. TotalCompliance takes all that workload off the policy manager’s desk. It automates the entire process and many of our customers, especially our new customers, are starting to recognize that that workload is too much for one person, and so they’re looking to adopt a workflow practice and a software that manages this for them. It’s usually part of their selection criteria, to be honest, but either way it’s a policy and procedure management best practice that we encourage with new partners because it is so easy to use in TotalCompliance.

Cody: So this is a pretty big feature in this product?

Dana: Absolutely, absolutely! We provide a process, we call workflow, we allow customers the opportunity to seek advice or collaboration in the whole policy-writing process. And then they can send it on for approval once the drafting process is completed. So with just a few simple clicks, TotalCompliance policy managers can automate their entire workflow, sending the policies to collaborators, then move the policy staging onto approvers, and throughout that entire process they receive status updates on the progression of that workflow and that policy, where it stands in that workflow.

So, many of our customers are finding out that they need to document the workflow and the approval process to meet their compliance requirements. We offer that feature and many, many options for them to customize to meet their needs.

Cody: So, could you give me just, like, one use-case of how a company might use the workflow management portion of TotalCompliance?

Dana: Absolutely. This is one of my favorites, we have a customer that must meet a three week pre-publish compliance period. We helped them customize that TotalCompliance report. They send policies through the workflow process to collaborators and approvers to view the policies for a three week period prior to that policy adoption. Then, throughout that, the policy manager is receiving status updates of which people have viewed it, which people have contributed to it, and then at the end of that three week pre-publish, they receive TotalCompliance report that documents all of that and lets them know that they’re ready to publish. And they pay strict attention to that three week period. The day that that three week period is up, they’re sending out and publishing that policy, but they have all the documentation that they need to show to meet their industry certifications.

Cody: So, how are advisory groups built into this?

Dana: You can use advisory groups in many different ways. They use two or three different levels of advisory groups. And with that, they can stage their workflow. They have a subject matter expert group and they will send policy through that group. It’s typically very much the same people so any time they send a policy through with one click, and it might be a group of ten people, actually in their case it’s a group of about 80 people, they don’t have to go through and make 80 clicks to select those people, each and every time. They’ve already built their work group, their advisory group, and they just one click add all those 80 people in and then they can stage it to go to the next 80 people for their approval, and then they can stage it to go to the legal department, which happens to be one or two people, for that final approval. And so they’ve just saved, with three clicks, they’ve just save themselves over 160 clicks.

Cody: So, I imagine, this is very powerful, but I imagine that if you’re sending it to this many people, you probably want to automate the reminder frequency as well.

Dana: Absolutely. And they do that as well; in their instance I think they send a one week reminder, you know, so they send three reminders during that three week pre-publish period, but they automate all of that at the beginning of it. And because it’s an advisory group it’s just really easy to do that reminder to those 80 people.

Cody: So what kind of functionality do we have within this reminder feature? How often can I set reminders and how do I do it?

Dana: You can set them as frequently as you want to, just whatever meets that customer’s requirements, especially in the example we were talking about, they need to remind them at least three times, obviously they’re busy people and they have their own jobs to… and their own responsibilities to do as well, but it’s just a staging for those three weeks that go one time and they set up the reminders for all three reminders at once. And then we manage that recipient list for them as well, so if anyone does take a look or approve the policy, we remove them from that recipient list and that policy manager or writer doesn’t have to remember who’s approved it or who’s not, we manage all of that, TotalCompliance manages all of that for them.

Cody: That’s really neat. And I imagine, with that, there’s probably some really robust reporting features, is that true?

Dana: Oh, absolutely! So, Report Builder within TotalCompliance gives the policy manager complete access to all of the data. So, for this instance, they can build all of the report, pulling the data that they need. In that three week pre-publish example we were talking about, they need to obviously see those dates where action has been taken on those policies. But at the end of the three week pre-publish period, this report gives them all the data, all compiled in one report, which they can then keep for their documentation purposes.

Cody: Wow, so I imagine that’s really important for things like compliance audits?

Dana: Oh, absolutely. One of the things that interests me, it seems like over the last year, the audit trails, the approvals for policy, that audit trail has become more and more of a requirement to meet industry certifications. With the reporting features that we provide in TotalCompliance, they have that audit trail to provide to their auditors.

Cody: Wow, well this is really cool. Are there any features that are related to workflows that we might have missed?

Dana: I do want to point out that the reporting features give a quick glance of all those parties that are involved, so that they don’t even have to necessarily log into this software, the reporting can be delivered to them via email. And just at a quick glance they can see the current status with all of those policies within their workflow.

Cody: Well, I think this has been very informative. Thank you, Dana, for your time today.

Dana: Thank you!

Cody: If you have any questions, or if you would like to learn more about how TotalCompliance can benefit your company’s policy and procedure management needs, schedule a demo with us today. Talk soon!

Watch a 2 Minute Demo of TotalCompliance

Find out more about TotalCompliance’s Policy & Procedure Software, as well as its Risk Management Software by watching a two-minute demo.

Watch Demo Now