It's easy to assume that compliance only matters to highly regulated industries such as healthcare, financial services, or consumer products. In reality, compliance touches all areas of a business and can be as simple as proper partnership disclosure in social media advertising to complete business audits.
Nowadays, creative teams producing content across all industries and sectors are subject to more and more regulations at a local, national, and international level.
Even if creative work is not subject to strict regulatory oversight, most creative teams need to maintain compliance with their own brand guidelines to retain consumer trust and brand integrity.
With so many types of content being produced at any given time across a business or brand, enforcing regulatory and brand oversight across all areas of creative production can be a wild goose chase.
Creative teams can use compliance software to streamline review of marketing and creative activities against brand standards and automate the monitoring of their daily operations for risk assessment and compliance.
In this guide, we'll cover what features to look for in compliance software and solutions that offer the best fit for your business.
What we'll cover
Table of contents
Why use compliance software?
Compliance software is used to continually track, monitor, and audit business processes to ensure they are aligned with applicable legal, industry, and security requirements, organizational policies, plus consumer standards.
Compliance software covers a wide range of business processes and regulatory requirements, including industry-specific regulations and standards, corporate ethics policies, acceptable use policies, financial documentation, and even business partner policies.
Why creative teams should invest in compliance software
When we think of brand and marketing compliance, we tend to think of dramatic examples of non-compliance that make headlines, like brands being sued for false advertising or social media faux pas.
However, brand and marketing compliance covers much more than simple trademark attribution and copyright designations.
Brand and marketing compliance requires creative content to meet specific legal and regulatory rules for public advertising, internal brand standards, and the approval for creative work. In fact, 78% of surveyed creative teams said their work was subject to at least one type of brand or regulatory compliance check.
Inconsistent and ad hoc creative processes is one of the biggest causes of compliance failures. Failure to properly track creative production actions can result in financial loss, customer loss, brand reputation loss, and less impactful marketing.
As such, creative and marketing teams need to ensure that the work they produce across all areas of the business is properly reviewed and approved by the right people, in the right sequence. They also need to maintain a system of record showing exactly who reviewed and approved what, and when and ensure assets are stored and shared properly.
Of course, the last thing that busy creatives working on rapid deadlines to get work out the door want to do is add another layer of tracking and management onto their work.
Compliance software helps creative teams take the effort and guesswork out of this process by automating consistent creative production processes and making brand review much more precise. With compliance software, creative teams can act with and demonstrate compliance across every campaign and content type.
Key features of top compliance software
Here are seven key features to look for when selecting compliance software for your organization:
Risk management identifies and classifies various business functions with a specific risk level. These classifications enable users to manage high-risk tasks without disrupting business operations.
Policy management provides a centralized location to store and access policy documents, portfolios, and procedures. It ensures that all staff is up-to-date and familiar with the latest company policies and procedures.
An audit trail helps simplify and organize the workflow and collaboration process. Rather than sending emails back and forth when collaborating on creative projects, you can create a review and approval audit trail so that everyone can see the comments, replies, annotations, and attachments alongside the creative asset.
A compliance calendar allows you to track progress and assign tasks to other users from one simple “bird’s eye” view. You can also set up alert notifications when you add new regulations.
Compliance workflows let you assign specific tasks to individuals and track real-time progress. Each assignee is responsible for completing their task at the right time, and everyone can see precisely where the workflow slows down or fails.
Compliance alerts let you program your system to send real-time notifications whenever a task is completed, delayed, or failed. You can also add escalation alerts so that supervisors are made aware of problems and can take the necessary remedial actions.
Compliance reporting allows you to report on the rules, standards, or laws your business has to comply with. Failure to comply could lead to fines or imprisonment, so by monitoring your industry-specific KPIs, you can ensure you remain 100% compliant.
5 best compliance software options for 2022
Compliance software covers a wide range of use cases for every area of the business. Some are aligned for marketing and creative work, others for data security, some for internal training, and others for legal compliance. Here are a few options to keep your entire business in line with operating standards.
Best option for creative and brand compliance: Ziflow
Ziflow streamlines the review and approval of creative content to help creative teams deliver projects faster by improving collaboration, centralizing feedback, and eliminating manual steps through automated workflows.
Ziflow is a creative collaboration used by creative agencies, graphic designers, video editors, and other creative professionals in various industries, including healthcare, technology, consumer goods, manufacturing, retail, and financial services. It serves as a complete system of record for marketing compliance by recording all activities and decisions on every creative asset from the first version through to the final approved version.
Customers include Showtime, Splash Worldwide, AWS, Hilton, McCann Group, Overstock.com, Toyota, and more.
Key compliance features:
- Workflow templates give creative teams the ability to create structured, reusable workflows for routing assets for review and approval and enforce consistency in how creative work is produced and approved. Stages can be set up to run sequentially or in parallel, and sophisticated rules can be set up to determine what happens if a stakeholder requires changes.
- Reviewer roles can be customized to meet the specific compliance requirements in regulated industries. Creative teams can control who sees which assets at certain times, so information is never exposed to the wrong people.
- Track the progress of creative assets and drill down to see the status of each stage and reviewer. That activity log can be maintained online for any period of time, as required by regulators.
- Version management tools ensure that each version of an asset is tracked, from the first version, through to the final approved version.
- Formal approval tools record clear decisions on each version of each asset. Clarity of decision-making on brand and marketing is maintained and recorded for future reference.
- Integrates with existing creative production apps, like Adobe Suite, Slack, Trello, and more to completely track creative work across systems.
- Employs a robust SOC-2 security program for the safe sharing of creative assets internally or externally.
Best option for compliance training: Skillcast
Skillcast is a digital learning platform for managing ethics and regulatory corporate compliance training. Their off-the-shelf course libraries provide compliance training across key topics from bribery, equality, fraud, health and safety to financial crime. Plus, financial services, GDPR, insurance, and risk.
Skillcast is used by over 500 leading companies to create compliance awareness in their organization. This helps enforce consistency of business practices and makes employees aware of regulatory risks in their industry or role.
Many clients use the off-the-shelf packages, while others engage Skillcast to create fully bespoke content. Some clients use the Skillcast Author platform to develop and deliver the training themselves via the Skillcast Portal.
Key compliance features:
Skillcast has three main offerings:
1. Compliance course libraries
Skillcast has hundreds of courses on key topics, including AML, Bribery, Equality, GDPR, Health and Safety, Information Security, and Risk.
Courses can be quickly customized or translated (by Skillcast or clients) and are accessible to users with a range of disabilities.
2. Bespoke training content
Skillcast develops bespoke compliance training content tailored to meet individual client requirements.
Skillcast consultants use Intelligent Learning – gamification, personalization, adaptive content, and analytics – to improve learner engagement and maximize the behavioral impact.
3. Learning Technology and Compliance RegTech
The Skillcast platform includes an award-winning Compliance Learning Management System (LMS) and innovative RegTech tools.
The LMS enables you to build and deliver all of your digital training content with one-click access to e-learning courses, robust reporting, easy tailoring, and branding, plus options for HR data integration, single sign-on, and more.
The RegTech provides add-on tools for compliance training, policy attestations, assessments, compliance registers, questionnaires, and surveys, and more.
Best option for health and safety compliance: Donesafe
Donesafe is an all-in-one Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) online platform that allows organizations to enter, access, and report EHS data in real-time. The software suite covers all EHS compliance, plus other functionalities such as supplier and visitor management.
Donesafe works with companies of all sizes across all industries and sectors. There are options to use out-of-the-box/pre-configured templates or build custom templates to align with specific organizational requirements.
Key compliance features:
- Remove time-heavy administrative burdens with automations.
- Configure workflows and forms quickly with the drag-and-drop builder.
- Add logic to make forms smarter with show/hide fields and pre-filled fields.
- Build custom reports that interrogate any data field within the platform.
- Create any number of uniquely tailored dashboards for each job role, site, or individual in your organization.
- Create accountability for strategic goals by measuring and monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs).
- Work offline to capture data and sync when reconnected.
- Use custom branding to make Donesafe look like your own product.
- ISO27001 compliance for added security and reliability.
Best option for legal compliance: Libryo
Libryo is a legal compliance management platform that helps organizations know the law that applies to their business in every jurisdiction. It uses site-specific legal registers to help employees navigate complex regulations with clarity and certainty.
Libryo is used by multi-nationals and large corporations in over 75 countries within industries such as banking, energy, supply chain, and more to make sense of regulatory complexity.
- Includes a database of custom legal registers configured to each industry or operation type to deliver tailored content to users.
- Applies regulatory updates and informs users with real-time notifications or emails.
- Keeps all team members aligned and up-to-date with notes to see and action.
- Users can search the Libryo database by topic or keyword to find the information that matters to them.
- Delivers regulations and legal updates in simple, jargon-free language for users who have no legal knowledge.
- Built-in translations ensure that all members of global teams can understand legal requirements.
- Integrates seamlessly with Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) systems, management systems, risk assessments, and audit reports.
Best option for data security: Netwrix
Netwrix Auditor is a security solution that helps organizations identify and classify sensitive, regulated, or mission-critical data (including structured and unstructured data), located on-premise or on the cloud.
It also demonstrates compliance with GDPR, PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, FISMA, NIST, FERPA, CJIS, NERC CIP, ISO/IEC 27001, and other security standards.
Netwrix is used by IT operations and IT security teams at financial institutions, healthcare organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, oil and gas companies, plus other verticals.
Key compliance features:
- Reduce the risk to your critical assets by identifying your top data and infrastructure security gaps.
- Automate the data discovery and classification process to protect your most critical assets first.
- Quickly get the information required by management, auditors, and other stakeholders with change, access, and configuration reports.
- Respond to suspicious activity before you suffer data breaches and system failures or get slapped with fines for non-compliance.
- Spot malicious insiders and compromised accounts with a comprehensive view of all abnormal activity alerts triggered by an individual, including their cumulative risk score.
- Locate the specific pieces of information you require to respond to ad-hoc questions from auditors.
These are some of the top compliance software systems for different industries and use cases.
As firms face more and more regulatory laws, make sure your organization has the right software in place to help make your creative team compliant, avoid losing brand trust, and ensure the safety of your data, assets, and company reputation.
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