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Automating Vendor Risk Mitigation to Empower & Prepare Your Business

Making the business case to outsource is rarely easy. Among the concerns leaders and their boards often have is the level of risk that gets introduced to the business when partnering with a third-party.

A great deal of the risk assessment involved with third-party engagements happens at the front end, when a business is evaluating multiple vendors for a particular service. Prior to presenting the best option to final decision-makers, leaders performing the evaluation must answer a long (and growing) list of questions internally.

These include things like how much of an investment the partnership will entail, if and how the prospective partner will handle personally identifiable information (PII) and whether the partner has a good reputation with various stakeholder groups.

It’s a lengthy and often overly complicated ordeal. But here’s the great news for the professionals charged with evaluating potential vendors: The entire process can be made much simpler through the use of robust vendor management technology.

Tech Empowers Pros to Organize, Compare & Choose Vendors with Confidence

Particularly when it’s configurable to an organization’s specific needs, vendor management software helps organize pre-screening findings. With all the answers from multiple vendors in one place, organizations have a simple, visual way to compare the options.

What’s more, automation software like the ViClarity platform ensures consistency across vendor evaluations, making sure no inquiries are overlooked. This allows for true apples-to-apples comparisons and a way to show (rather than simply tell) the board and other decision-makers that a comprehensive internal evaluation was performed prior to making the ultimate vendor recommendation.

Accepting Risk is Only the Beginning — Then Comes Managing It 

Getting decision-makers to approve a new partner is merely the start of vendor management. Once the risks of the new partnership are fully communicated and accepted, the business must then manage that risk. Here again, technology can be an invaluable asset.

Beginning with onboarding of an approved service provider, cloud-based vendor management software can make tasks like completing due diligence questionnaires much smoother.

Anyone who has led a project like this will recognize the painstaking traditional process:

  1. Find and email the spreadsheet-based questionnaire to the vendor.
  2. Wait for the vendor to complete the 800-line-item document, a task made harder by the fact that typing long-form answers into an Excel field is far from intuitive.
  3. Download multiple attachments when the questionnaire comes back along with myriad supporting documents in a variety of formats.
  4. Digest, upload, organize and share all the files for storage internally.
  5. Set a calendar reminder to do it all again in 12 months.

Now multiply that process by every vendor the organization relies on to provide a terrific experience for its employees and customers. When you consider that 70 percent of organizations utilize vendors for at least a third of their business-critical services, you can imagine how overwhelming this can get, even for smaller organizations.

With the assistance of a cloud-based tool like ViClarity’s, each of the above steps can be automated. And all documentation is kept in one place, findable by users on both sides of the relationship based on customizable access levels. This results in far fewer headaches, a much smarter and more efficient workflow, and importantly, a dramatically shortened onboarding period.

Vendor Risk Mitigation is Critically Important in Today’s Environment

A huge part of knowing your business can continue to operate successfully through periods of disruption or change is having a robust vendor management program as part of your overall business continuity strategy.

Ultimately, the use of technology to improve the various aspects of vendor management is all about effective risk mitigation and preparation for the future.

If you’d like to learn more, check out these resources:

  • June 2023 webinar where ViClarity experts and a credit union executive discussed best practices for managing third-party risks with an effective vendor management process.
  • September 2020 webinar for insurance professionals, focused on the ways organizations can utilize technology to automate vendor onboarding, due diligence and risk management processes.

Article by ViClarity. Article originally appeared on ViClarity.com on July 11, 2023. ViClarity is a company of the Leagues and a benefit of Leagues membership.

 

 

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