Effective Change Management: Why Audits Don’t Have to Be Scary

Greek Philosopher Heraclitus once said “The only thing that is constant is change.” Regardless of your industry or its size, you can likely relate to this quote. The changes can be as simple as the name of your department, hiring a new team member or losing an employee who decides to pursue other opportunities outside of the organization. There are also times where the very way that you conduct business changes – maybe due to external reasons like regulatory changes or to internal reasons like executional efficiencies.

Regardless of your industry or company size, how you manage process changes will affect whether you meet your business objectives and maintain internal and external compliance. To manage change effectively, you need a way to understand and view the history of how a given element of your business has been modified over time. You also need a way to efficiently communicate change and update relevant documentation.

For example, auditors typically want to know how a process has evolved over time and why. If changes were made since their last visit, what were those changes, who made them, when, and were the updates approved by the process owner? If the owner has changed, when and how were those changes made? Auditors may even request evidence that changes were communicated and socialized, particularly when process changes were introduced based on their recommendations. Having a platform in place that will capture and communicate these requirements will ensure you are prepared when auditors arrive.

Let’s discuss a few ways the iGrafx platform addresses these challenges. 

  • Process Changes – Many tools on the market will provide the person making the change an ability to provide comments, but comments can be vague and not clearly communicate what has been updated. On many diagrams, finding the addition or deletion of a single shape, or a wording change can be very difficult. With a diagram compare feature this challenge is eliminated. Even if a user only updates the position of a shape or a single word on a diagram, iGrafx will capture and highlight this change, allowing you to quickly locate the modifications and do a side by side comparison. With a subscription capability, you can voluntarily elect to be notified via e-mail anytime there are changes to any process or document in the platform you have permission to view.  If you manage people, you may also decide to make those notifications mandatory for those in a specific group.
  • Ownership Changes – Changes that are made to the ownership of your processes and documentation represent an important area of the business. For example, suppose your organization has a new VP of Marketing and this information needs to be updated on all processes where the VP of Marketing plays a role. Can you make that update in one location and automatically have all process references updated? With the iGrafx Platform that is possible. Even something as simple as a department name change can be updated once and all diagrams affected will reflect the new name. On each of these objects, you will also find a detailed history of all the changes that have occurred, who made them and when. This saves significant resource time, cost, and helps identify possible gaps or risks in coverage. 
  • Documentation Approvals –  When updates are made to your documentation, auditors will require the ability see if that change was approved by the party(ies) accountable. By utilizing the Cycle Management capabilities within the iGrafx Platform, you will be able to request that project team members review, owners approve, or workers endorse (acknowledge) any documentation. The platform will capture their vote or acknowledgement and timestamp it so that it is available as part of the document’s history.

It is true that change is inevitable. This is a challenge as many managers are held accountable for ensuring their departments follow current regulations and company policies. Because of this, audits can be stressful and scary times for all on the team. They don’t have to be. The capabilities we have discussed here can go a long way to helping you maintain compliance despite increasing levels of complexity in the marketplace.

If you would like to see for yourself how iGrafx can help you manage the changes in your business more effectively, contact us for a free demonstration.

James Berrocales
May 15, 2018

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