More Than Point and Click
A Partnership For Third-Party Risk Management
Online shopping is a really big deal these days. Type in a couple of words, click, point, select, hit enter, and presto—product ordered, soon to be delivered to your doorstep. Needless to say, there are more choices than you can even begin to imagine for online purchases, and the multitudes of options are always available to you with a simple search followed by the click of a button. I recently made an online acquisition to enhance my summer fun—outdoor furniture. After finding the perfect patio set, complete with an attached beer bottle opener (why would anyone buy outdoor furniture without a bottle opener?), I was asked on the order form about my assembly preference: “Without Expert Assembly (free)” or “Expert Assembly (a few dollars more)”?
The choice to make was the difference between the immediate enjoyment of beautifully assembled patio furniture and more importantly, never having to look for that bottle opener again, or a weekend of frustration, humiliation and the continuance of the ever-missing bottle opener.
The choice was mine (to be sure, I went with the expert assembly)!
Is this description a touch dramatic? Yes, yes it is. That being said, what isn’t dramatic is making sure that since I chose “Expert Assembly,” I was certain, by default, of a few crucial details:
- The assemblers would be experts.
- If they enter my home to assemble the product, have they been thoroughly vetted (reference check, background check, certification, etc.).
- They can prove who they say they are if I ask them.
- The company I purchased the product from will stand by the assemblers or can in some way confirm that the items in steps 2 and 3 above are true.
As a consumer, it is sometimes hard for us to know which of these “experts” have been vetted properly and are individuals that we can trust. But the biggest question is, maybe more than anything else, can we trust them to come into our homes? It is at this crucial moment when, as a consumer, I hope the company whose product I purchased has done their due diligence on the vendors they contracted—I trust that they’ll be the specialists and professionals as advertised.
Working for the past five years as a consultant, I have had the opportunity to partner with companies ranging in size from around 50 employees to very large Fortune 50 companies, helping them streamline and automate their internal procedures. A few of the processes I helped to streamline include Risk Management and Internal Audit, as well as Vendor and Third-Party Management.
During that time as a consultant, as well as in my new role as a Sales Engineer for Onspring, I’ve noticed an increasing trend in companies taking a closer look at their vendors, and in some cases, overhauling how their entire Vendor and Third-Party Management fits into the company’s risk profile.
What I’ve found is that it’s a challenge for companies of all sizes to objectively assess the risk of doing business with vendors. Essentially, they have a hard time determining what questions to ask their vendors, and when those questions should be asked.
Shared Assessments is an organization that has been helping companies tackle this issue since 2005 with a strong core offering of Standardized Information Gathering (SIG) Questionnaire Tools. Their SIG has been used in a variety of ways, including as the evaluation of a service providers’ risk controls, as a proactive information gathering tool during a request for proposal (RFP), as a supplement to a company’s proprietary vendor or third-party risk questionnaire, and by a company to perform an internal self-assessment.
Onspring has partnered with Shared Assessments to enable customers to leverage their best-in-class practices for managing third-party risk. With Onspring’s tailored solution, companies can leverage the methodology and structure provided by the SIG Questionnaire for a third-party risk management program. If your company has been fighting vendor problems, fretting over third-party assessments, or just plain having a hard time finding reputable businesses to partner with, this is the way to go.
Let’s return now to my patio furniture, and the correlation between my assembly workers and a vendor you want to work with at your business. Simply put, we both want to trust that we are getting what we paid for and have faith that the result will be satisfactory. Using the SIG Questionnaire in Onspring helps make sure you know, with great confidence, everything about your vendors.
As for my bottle-opener enhanced furniture-assembly process, it was a success. The workers were reputable and efficient in their craft. The extra expense was well worth it, and the opener, which was used immediately, worked splendidly—many, many times.