Here’s the challenge: Could I build an in-house automated third-party risk management platform to collect and track ESG questionnaire responses and corresponding risk ratings? Oh yeah, and it has to take less than one day to implement.
I did it, and you can too. Here’s how.
First, I selected a “low-code” or “no-code” development tool. I went with monday.com, though others are available.
Low-code apps allow you to build sophisticated web applications without having to actually code them. They’re like Lincoln Logs for building an application.
There are many advantages of using low-code to build apps. Accessibility is the main one — you don’t need to know a programing language, but you do need to be comfortable with technology. Another key is speed. I built the application below in less than three hours.
Here are some of the features I built it to include:
- Data collection from a custom form/questionnaire that includes e-signing and document uploading
- Two levels of risk: high risk and low risk
- Automatic sorting based on risk level (I decided on manual review over automatic risk rating based on survey responses)
- Automatic notifications for admin tasking based on submission, rating changes, review needed, etc.
- Custom dashboard
- Complete action history for auditing
- Commenting and internal communication tools
- Full export to Excel
- Automated reminders
All of this was accomplished without using any of the (many) external integrations available on Monday.
Here’s my ESG Due Diligence Questionnaire Platform in action, performing some of the core tasks.
The questionnaire, showing logical question branching.
(Use full screen to see all the details)
Seeing the new item for review on the dashboard.
Reviewing the company submission and making a risk determination.
Showing the audit history.
Many further enhancements could be made to the platform, but this test was all about speed. As I said, I built this in under three hours.
Of course, one major shortcoming is ongoing monitoring, which some vendors offer as part of due diligence programs. However, the platform does have annual reminders, auto-emails, and more. And again, there are an unbelievable amount of integrations to pull in and display your existing data.
So, how much did it cost?
Well, it was free (I’m on a 14-day trial).
Pricing is typically user-based for low-code, not the number of suppliers you have. If there are five people in your organization who do third-party ESG due diligence and would use the platform, it’ll cost about $80 per month with Monday.
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Low-code apps offer massive potential for small companies to build robust software platforms. In compliance, I expect more companies will bring their dashboard and reporting in-house and rely less on vendors.
The major upside is that each company can create an internal app perfectly suited to its needs. It can collect the information it wants, display that information how it wants, and create any series of approvals the company requires.
Until now, developing your own dashboard was a luxury reserved for large, well-funded compliance teams like Novartis. With low-code options, bespoke and effective platforms are within reach of companies of all sizes.
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