By Andrew Moore President, Computershare Governance Services
You’ve determined that your organisation will benefit from the implementation of entity management technology. Once the decision to move forward with an entity management solution has been made, you’ll need to assess providers – as well as your own capabilities – to make certain that the solution will enable you to meet your compliance and governance needs.
As you will read, choosing a provider that delivers support, both throughout the initial deployment and as the solution and your requirements evolve, is critical. Of equal importance is maximising user engagement, making it as simple as possible for people throughout your organisation, regardless of geographic location, language requirements and local needs, to effectively manage entity data.
Choosing an entity management provider isn’t complicated – but there is a short list of key factors to consider. This article will expand upon how these key factors can play a role in how you select your entity management provider, detail things to consider and explore best practices that, when followed, can ensure that your implementation is successful.
Before beginning the selection process for your entity management provider, you’ll need to ask yourself, “Are we prepared?”. In the case of implementing and maintaining an entity management solution, this means ensuring that all of your key stakeholders are on board, from the C-level to various departments, such as legal, finance and IT. Having top-down buy-in throughout the organisation will ensure that adequate resources are allocated and a concerted effort is made to authenticate and verify data across the organisation. By definition, a new solution will require some process re-engineering and challenge existing attachments to certain functions. Top-down buy-in is vital at this juncture.
You will have to assess whether your organisation has the IT and staff resources in place to handle deploying and running an entity management solution. If not, can your provider produce additional support at various stages of the implementation or help to fulfil your day-to-day requirements? Once deployed, how will the training and on-boarding of staff – not to mention the day-to-day maintenance of your entity records – be handled? Additionally, your entity management provider should be able to advise you on IT, staffing and resource allocation best practices and help you plan for the deployment and phasing-in of the solution.
While out-of-the-box, plug-and-play solutions can be tempting, they may not offer the support required to successfully implement a solution that fits your needs
Implementation and support
When it comes to your entity management provider, the first consideration will be the implementation of the solution. While out-of-the-box, plug-and-play solutions can be tempting, they may not offer the support required to successfully implement a solution on a schedule that fits your needs. When assessing your options for a provider, consider: Are they flexible with their deployment? Are they able to advise your company and its various departments on a phased approach, beginning with certain entities, or certain data sets? The larger your organisation, the more complex the deployment is likely to be, which makes it important to have an entity management provider that can help assess your needs and deliver a scalable implementation of your entity management solution.
When looking for an entity management provider, do you want one that initially delivers but then falls behind on updates and support, putting your company at risk? Or do you want one that updates its solution regularly to be technically sound and helps you stay compliant with the latest regulatory requirements, such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Ireland Companies Act? The choice should be clear. The right entity management provider offers ongoing support, both on the back end of the solution and with ongoing communication and training, and is responsive to the evolving regulatory requirements relating to your entities.
It is also becoming increasingly popular for entity management providers to host the application and data for you. This is appealing, as a provider that hosts the solution and your data for you on their secure servers ensures that you are always running the most current version of the solution.
The most current version of the solution is important and so is your data. Does your entity management provider enable you to confirm your data is accurate, verified and auditable? Is the solution you are considering capable of sending out automated alerts to users, reminding them to log in and verify their data? Submitting forms is only half the compliance battle – you need a solution that can help you manage and attest to large amounts of entity data from users, offices and departments from around the world.
Customisation and user engagement
Your entity management provider should offer a solution that allows for a personalised user experience. The functions of users in various departments across your organisation are variable and consequently so will be their usage of an entity management system. The interface of your solution should be customisable for each user in their role and for each entity in their region.
Further to that point, ask, “How well does this entity management provider meet the needs of my entities around the world?” A robust solution recognises and meets the needs of your local users, ensuring that regional groups are kept top of mind. Your entity management solution needs to allow for flexibility in language – users should be able to work within the application using their local language. In addition, choose an entity management provider whose solution can meet local standards for naming conventions, business and legal terminology and can also generate forms and filings that comply with local requirements.
Empowering your users and enabling them to get the most out of your entity management solution is also highly important in ensuring ongoing success. Consider the availability of resources. How easy is it for your users to educate themselves on the application? Does your provider offer resources and educational opportunities for your users to advance their skills? Is there a global product and user community to tap into for tips and tricks, knowledge and advice?
An entity management solution that allows for user-customisation and meets local needs and requirements encourages engagement with all users, creating sustained value for your investment and good governance for your organisation across all regions. Keeping these factors in mind will help you properly evaluate and choose your entity management provider. With a smooth deployment, product support from your vendor and user community, and a solution designed to ensure that your users are engaged, you’ll be in a position to successfully manage your entities for years to come.
About the Author:
Andrew Moore has been at the forefront of international governance and compliance technology markets for over 15 years. As president of Computershare Governance Services (CGS), Andrew leads teams responsible for maintaining governance technology solutions for over 800 global companies, and has had a significant influence on the evolution of governance technology in Europe and North America.
CGS is the leading global supplier of web-based entity management, board portal and subsidiary governance solutions. Top organisations from all market segments use their software to assist them with the administration, governance and compliance of over 250,000 legal entities across more than 160 jurisdictions.
Questions about this article can be sent to Andrew at email@example.com Follow Andrew on Twitter @CGSupdates.