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How Compliance Software Can Expedite Your Audit

Often mentioned alongside technologies like AI and predictive analytics, automation continues to be a hot topic in many futuristic discussions across all industries. The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that 30% of work-related tasks are currently handled through machine automation. By 2025, they predict that number will reach 50%.

Does this mean automation is coming to take your job? On the contrary: The goal of automation technology is to enhance the employee experience by automating repetitive tasks so people have more bandwidth to solve creative problems and focus on what they do best.

The current compliance software technology landscape is rapidly evolving and as a result, there are many benefits (and shortcomings) of compliance automation software.

Compliance Automation is Largely Underutilized

In our 2021 Compliance Benchmark Report, we would that only 25% of respondents are using a software solution to prepare for audits and assessments.  For a plethora of reasons, many organizations are missing out on key benefits of automation and compliance management software, such as:

  • Creating efficiencies across multiple audits
  • Improving communication between departments and managers
  • Reducing the amount of employee time required for auditing

In our experience, the healthcare industry and IT services have the highest adoption rate as the tech-savvy IT space is keen to reap the benefits of automation, and healthcare organizations may view this technology as a valuable way to stay compliant in a tightly regulated industry.

In addition, a growing number of healthcare organizations are using the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) and the accompanying MyCSF online platform to manage their regulatory compliance and risk management.

In addition, our research showed that companies that generate more revenue are more likely to use compliance automation software. These companies are able to invest in automation tools to save time, consolidate processes, and make more data-driven decisions.

Finding a more efficient way to conduct multiple audits could be a game-changer for some organizations because it can have a positive impact on overall revenue. There is a lot of time spent preparing for various audits and assessments and, without an automation technology in place, there are likely duplicative efforts. This points directly to time wasted, a significant cost variable for organizations.

One area where compliance automation software can significantly improve efficiency is evidence collection. When evidence collection is done manually, it is tedious and time-consuming. Additionally,  siloed teams or departments often gather the same evidence over and over again to be used at various points in time.

Automated evidence collection, however, can save time and resources, and can help ensure that compliance activities are happening year-round, instead of right before an audit occurs. Basically, audit automation tools stand to transform evidence collection from a burden to well-planned and seamless effort.

Alongside fully-automated data extraction, comprehensive compliance automation software can also help with areas such as:

  • Mapping information to controls
  • Centralizing asset storage
  • Streamlining communications
  • Consolidating audits where possible
  • Accelerating timelines to final certification/reports

Compliance Automation + Human Expertise = The Full Package

The gap between expertise and technology is a difficult conundrum; after all, a true audit entails readiness, evidence collection, fieldwork, reporting, and certification or attestation.

Procuring compliance automation software by itself can create a “last mile” problem, which means organizations still have to invest time and money into an independent service provider to complete the audit. That’s why, at A-LIGN, our A-SCEND compliance management solution is delivered free to all of our clients as a way to help take them from audit readiness all the way to fully certified as smoothly and efficiently as possible. The A-SCEND compliance management solution integrates with your existing tech stack to centralize evidence collection, standardize compliance requests, facilitate collaboration between your team and your auditor, and much more.

Key Takeaways

The 21st century tech boom led to a proliferation of compliance automation software, yet many organizations are too mired in “the way things have always been done” to pivot and embrace this technology. And, while automation tools on their own can greatly reduce the effort required to compile data and prepare for an audit, we’ve yet to reach a point where machines can complete 100% of the full audit lifecycle.

Organizations can not only benefit from compliance software but also enjoy the advantages of working with a strategic compliance partner to address every step of the audit across the scope of each major framework. A-LIGN is proud to be the only trusted service provider with the ability to combine the depth and breadth of human expertise with an end-to-end compliance management platform.