Cody Miles: Welcome to the ComplianceBridge Podcast, your source for the latest on Risk Management and Policy and Procedure Management. Today, we’ll be talking with John Custer, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ComplianceBridge. We’ll be discussing how effective management of policies and procedures can reduce risks to your business and protect organizational assets, how policy and procedure management can ensure the best way to go about it. John will also share with us how TotalCompliance, the flagship product from ComplianceBridge, goes above and beyond to help customers manage their policies and procedures. Welcome to the podcast, John, how are you?
John Custer: Cody, I am great and thanks for having me. How are you doing?
Cody Miles: Doing good. Yeah. I’m thankful it’s a St. Patty’s Day and had my green beer. I’m good to go. I think it might be best to begin this discussion by understanding the role of policies and procedures. So John, why is it important for businesses to have an effective management system in place, for their policies and procedures, even in the first place?
John Custer: Well, Cody, that’s a great question. All of us, in any kind of a business, we could be a not for profit, we could be a commercial enterprise, we could be a government agency, we all have rules that come through the organization. Organizational rules on how we want to conduct ourselves in a business environment. Some companies, in certain industries, actually have another layer of regulation on top of them. We all know that banks and mortgage companies and insurance companies are heavily regulated. It’s important for organizations to communicate, how they want to work or how they have to work to comply with law and regulation, so that everyone is on the same page in the organization and doing the right thing, what the company wants it to do to keep itself in good stead. That’s what really drives performance. A lot of companies, they become policy driven. They do the right things consistently all the time.
Cody Miles: In your experience, what are the common problems among businesses, who don’t manage their policies and procedures?
John Custer: The biggest issue, a lot of them will have, is a lack of achievement or inconsistent achievement. By the way, policy and procedure and its implementation inside an organization gets a little more difficult, once the company starts to grow. The number of people impacts that significantly. The number of policies they have and the number of groups within the companies that are driven by certain sets of policies and the number of locations they have. For example, if you have a small company, with the under 10 people, and you’re all in one building, it’s not hard to communicate how you want the organization to work. When you get to thousands of people and dozens of sites across many states or even internationally, it becomes much more problematic to effectively communicate and get the correct response from a large team of people.
Cody Miles: In doing that, what tools are available to businesses to address issues related to policies and procedures?
John Custer: You know ComplianceBridge, we really started in this business 14 years ago, being software people with a big, powerful, centralized database at the hardware product. The first thing we do to help any company is we centralize all the policy. One of the more significant problems we see, with a lot of our customers when they come to us, is the fact that they have every side, every location, each department published policies. There’s no centralized control and that is, can be a very large problem for organizations, because you can’t have rogue elements inside your company , if you think of it that way, creating policy. You’ll have policy conflicts. You’ll have conflicts with regulation. You’ll have outdated policy. All of these problems are things we hear typically from people. We create a centralized database. We put it under the control of a small group of people and all the inputs for policies and all the changes to existing policy.
John Custer: All of that is controlled, but yet we further divide all the policies by groups and roles and functions and locations, so that I and the organization and individual in the organization sees just the policy, they need to see and the policy, they need to guide their part of the business. I don’t have to look at other things. That’s all because we have a powerful database. We have a powerful workflow to speed up some of the repetitive and redundant processes. We have an extremely strong reporting tool, that allows us to report on anything that goes on in the system.
Cody Miles: What are some of the unique features that TotalCompliance has that separate it from the pack of similar products, on this market?
John Custer: Cody, that’s a good question. I would say that there are several things that really make us different. We are architected to support any size organization from small, from a handful of people, to some of our largest customers have tens of thousands of users on their system and manage tens of thousands of policies.
John Custer: The other element of that is that because we’ve been around and doing this work for so long, we have a tremendous amount of expertise, in any kind of business application. We have customers in higher education. Some of the great American universities use this product. We have some very, very large health care organizations, financial services companies. We have developed expertise in implementing the ComplianceBridge product, TotalCompliance in those various sites. The way we help our customers define the requirements at the very first moment we engage with them, we start to define their requirements. What do they need to do? What are they required to do in their business? We do that by discussing what they do now and where it falls short. We have learned to take their requirements and translate that into a training and support development process.
John Custer: The ongoing support that we put with that, after we’ve trained you and we’ve implemented you, you have an 800 number, you have an email address. Reach out to us and say, we’ve got to train new people. We want to do something else. We’d like to integrate with a third party product. We’ll take care of it. After all, that’s really where a really good marriage happens between a vendor, a software developer like us and a company that runs a business and knows how they want that to work. That’s what makes an exceptional company like ComplianceBridge.
Cody Miles: That’s great. Let me take a second just to take a step back. Whenever a company decides to partner with TotalCompliance, what’s usually the first step?
John Custer: We’re back to the needs definition. We define, for people, what it is they need a system like this to do. That gets into sizes and quantities, how many people, how many locations, how many policies. It’s also just the way you want work to flow inside the organization.
Cody Miles: Once you understand the needs at the organization, how do you use that information to help them?
John Custer: The needs definition allows us to identify all the people in the organization, what their role is, what group they sit in, what policies pertain to them. By having a tool like TotalCompliance, that process becomes extremely efficient. Now, we don’t send things around as email attachments. We don’t know if people ever got them. We don’t know if they’ve read them . A tool like TotalCompliance tracks every transaction made in the system. We know who’s desk it went to. We know if they’ve read it. We know if they’ve not responded to it. We can take the appropriate action. Where many of the ways we’ve worked in the past, we’re really inefficient at that.
Cody Miles: What does the support process look like during and after the onboarding process for TotalCompliance?
John Custer: That’s one of the things we’re really proud of. Our support organization is called Customer Success, because that’s what it’s really designed for. We put a lot of time and effort into making sure our customers are successful. It’s really interesting. Our business model is one where you buy a subscription to TotalCompliance. You buy it, a year at a time. If we weren’t supportive, but then many of our customers wouldn’t renew that subscription. We would lose money in that transaction.
John Custer: Things change in business. You get a new administrator and they have to be trained. Just call us and we’ll take care of it. You get new integrations that you want to do. You buy another company and you’ve got a thousand more people. You got to bring into the organization and set them up and decide how you’re going to support them. Part of our fee, that you pay us annually, we do that kind of work. We do that very well and we stay in constant contact with our customers. If you’re running and you’re fine, we won’t call you back. If you need help, we’ll take care of it. That’s our philosophy for a happy, successful customer relation. I I think the results of our customer retention is very high. I think it’s a result of our support function, that we give our customers.
Cody Miles: That’s amazing. All of this is included, this onboarding process, right? It’s included in the price of TotalCompliance?
John Custer: Absolutely. We do charge additionally for things like integrations. For example, most of our customers, over a few hundred users, would need some sort of an integration with a directory system. We have a nominal charge for that. If you want to integrate with a learning management system, there’s a another nominal charge. The normal support, annual upgrades, any bug fixes, we have an extremely bug free product, but in the event somebody finds one, take care of right away. Being a cloud based product, we actually function as the IT support for this application inside an organization. Our smaller to mid sized customers really appreciate that. Unlike the very large companies in the United States or around the world, they don’t have a big IT organization, that could come in and set up a server and do all the work you have to do to run an application like this.
John Custer: We do all that for our customers. That’s all bundled into our annual subscription fee.
Cody Miles: Now, I think I’m biased, but it’s probably true to say that TotalCompliance is a really good option for businesses in need of policy and procedure management software. How can someone who’s interested in TotalCompliance learn more about it?
John Custer: Cody, all they have to do is go to our website at compliancebridge.com. Everything is on there. You can simply push a button and we’ll call you back. We’ll set up a demonstration. On that site, you’ll find our blogs. Some of our whitepapers, our newsletters, and you’re welcome to study up on our technology and the industry as a whole. I think they’re very informative. Then, call us when you’re ready.
Cody Miles: Thank you for speaking with me today, John. I really appreciate it. It was a fantastic talk.
John Custer: Cody, thank you. It’s always a pleasure to talk to you. We’re always happy to talk about ComplianceBridge. Thanks Cody.
Cody Miles: Alright, talk to you soon? See ya.
John Custer: Bye.