Regulated Industries: Why Move from SharePoint to a CCMS?

Any organization operating in a heavily regulated industry must clearly understand the impact of regulation. In the current regulatory environment, achieving this means trudging through volumes of text, deciphering the information relevant to a firm’s business and reconciling regulations produced by multiple bodies. It is an era of globalization, interconnectedness and increasing regulatory oversight.   

Microsoft’s OneDrive for Business and SharePoint are popular for managing content such as policies and procedures and indeed provide numerous advantages. OneDrive for Business is a cloud-based solution that provides businesses with the ability to collaborate, share and store files, and enables shared access to files from multiple locations and on different devices. Behind the scenes, SharePoint provides functionality for managing content and can allow businesses to build out more sophisticated document management systems.

At Propylon, our TimeArc platform embraces the ubiquity of Microsoft Office. However, firms operating in heavily regulated industries like audit and accounting are frequently coming up against challenges that necessitate a more specific approach.

The big document problem

Content authors love the intuitive writing environment of Microsoft Word. But they can run into issues when working with files above a certain size.

In industries such as audit and accounting, important documents like audit manuals can become so large as to require up to twenty minutes to open. In addition to slowing down turnaround times, typically only one author can work on a document at a time.

Splitting documents into smaller pieces to work on offline is one way to manage this but it can make things messy and difficult to track.

At Propylon, our TimeArc platform embraces the ubiquity of Microsoft Office. However, firms operating in heavily regulated industries like audit and accounting are frequently coming up against challenges that necessitate a more specific approach.

Demonstrating compliance

Firms operating in heavily regulated industries often need to look back on previous versions of a document to understand how it has come to be in its final form and demonstrate to auditors, regulators and other stakeholders that the organization has full control of its policy management and compliance. Authors can put versions of content on SharePoint and track who has made what change and when. However, they do not have complete visibility over every change that has been made in the history of a document.

Ensuring consistency across jurisdictions

A knock-on impact of the big document problem is that it can limit firms’ ability to release updates. For example, in audit and accounting, a firm can be restricted in its ability to publish high-quality guidance material to staff to perhaps once or twice per year. With SharePoint and OneDrive alone, there are also few means of reusing content other than adding text in different colors or copy/paste/tweak. This can be a risk for global firms that operate across multiple jurisdictions and need to ensure the consistency of their guidance.

Finding relevant material

Access control can become complex with SharePoint and impact users in getting to the information they need. Indeed, today’s users are accustomed to advanced experiences and content at their fingertips. In audit and accounting, information can be buried in long documents that are difficult to access and navigate. This can lead to staff not utilizing key guidance material to assist them in performing complex audits.

Identifying change

The number of changes and reviews required to deal with changing standards and regulations means that teams are swamped and run the risk of missing an update. Relying on spreadsheets and summarizing commentaries in emails can result in inconsistent processes and a lack of visibility.

Today’s users are accustomed to advanced experiences and content at their fingertips.

What is a CCMS?

A Component Content Management System or CCMS lets firms manage content at a granular or component level rather than at a document level. It centralizes the management of content in one platform. The ability to work with content as components – and publish assemblies of components – means authors have greater ability to:
  • Manage content relationships
  • Create source content once and publish in multiple formats
  • Reuse content
  • Collaborate on documents with multiple authors
  • Manage different versions

What can a CCMS do for firms operating in regulated industries?

The right CCMS helps firms centralize content management and avoid the challenges and risks associated with managing large documents.

Use a CCMS to:

  1. Author content in Microsoft Word or Excel in a familiar interface with a shallow learning curve
  2. Let multiple authors collaborate on documents in real-time using familiar features like change tracking while ensuring a full audit trail
  3. Search across your content set
  4. Create content once and reuse it across documents
  5. Implement approval workflows and tracking for edits
  6. Manage variations of master content
  7. Publish in multiple formats, to multiple platforms
  8. Compare changes between versions of documents over time

In addition, CCMSs can include features that assist with productivity, improve user experiences and make it easier for firms operating in heavily regulated industries to manage the impact of regulatory change. That includes:

  • APIs to allow integration, for example, with audit software
  • Enrichment capabilities to make changes to standards easy to find, track and understand
  • Solutions to proactively stay on top of changes to regulations and standards

Specialist tools for specialist requirements

SharePoint and OneDrive for Business have many advantages for businesses looking to manage their content. For those that are grappling with the demands of the current regulatory environment, the right CCMS streamlines document management processes and provides the tools needed to keep up with increasing regulatory change.