Interactive action tracking with Pentana audit software

Pentana - Web interface: submitting action updates
Pentana - Web interface: submitting action updates

Action tracking / Action follow-up

Here we illustrate how an organisation can support action tracking with Pentana audit software. This page covers following topics:

Follow-up cycle

Action tracking cycle

Pentana - Action tracking cycle
Pentana – Action tracking cycle

As can be seen in the illustration (taken from training materials developed by Sepia Solutions) the automated parts of the follow-up cycle can consist of these three tasks:

  • Creation of Action Updates
  • Email notifications to action owners
  • Email reminders to action owners

The cycle can be tuned to the organisation’s way of working by configuring these tasks; an exercise Sepia Solutions usually assists in during the implementation of the Pentana software. In the working example here, it is assumed that the action tracking cycle is started early in the second month of each quarter and completed by the end of that month.

Action update records

Pentana - Action update records
Pentana – Action update records

An Action could exist for a long time before it is fully implemented or closed and during that time it is usually necessary to document progress. However, it is not wise to simply “overwrite” the previous action status as this would make historical reporting impossible. Therefore, Pentana allows for the creation of additional records called Action Updates.

Creation of these Action Updates can be manual, but is typically automated as part of the action follow-up cycle. In the illustrated cycle (working example) Actions Updates are created only for Actions that are nearly due (so only 3 updates were created).

Initial email notification

Pentana - Initial email notification
Pentana – Initial email notification

For those actions that require an update from the auditee, the second automated job sends an email to the action owners. Again, Sepia Solutions would typically assists in configuring this automated task so that the email (style and wording) and optional attachment would correspond to the house style of your organisation.

In the example, the action owner is given the choice to provide feedback via the web interface or a two-way template. Both these mechanisms are detailed below.

Email reminder

Pentana - Email reminder
Pentana – Email reminder

To ensure all updates can be reviewed in a timely fashion, action owners can be reminded if they haven’t yet responded.

The illustration is just that, an example of what this mail could be like as the job is fully configurable.

Providing updates (by action owner)

Web interface: Overview of action updates

Pentana - Web interface: overview of action updates
Pentana – Web interface: overview of action updates

The most flexible and efficient way to capture feedback by the action owners is most certainly the web interface.

Following the link in the email (see illustrations above), the action owners are taken to an overview of all Action Updates. The action owners then have full flexibility in providing feedback to those Action Updates as convenient for them. They do not require the Ideagen Pentana software, just a web browser without any plug-ins or add-ons.

Web interface: Submitting action updates

Pentana - Web interface: submitting action updates
Pentana – Web interface: submitting action updates

From the overview of Action Updates (previous illustration), the action owners can click-through to the individual Action Update and review the Properties (details), Notes, Attachments and parent information (context).

Specifically, the action owners can provide feedback such as the new Resolution (status), Implementation Date, upload Attachments (proof) etc. before “Submitting” their feedback.

Alternative: Updates via two-way template

Pentana - Alternative: updates via two-way template
Pentana – Alternative: updates via two-way template

For those situations, or organisations, where direct access to the web interface is not possible or not desired, there is still an alternative to manually updating all the records: two-way templates.

Based on a design by the organisation, Sepia Solutions would create these templates. Once defined in the system, these templates are used to generate reports containing auto-populated tables with (for example) the Action Updates to be commented on. These documents can be sent to the action owners (see also illustrated emails above) who can then update the MS Word or MS Excel documents as in this illustration.

When they are finished updating the document, they email it back to the GRC or audit department where someone can import the document thereby automatically updating all specific records, without having to revert to a tedious, manual and error prone copy-paste exercise.

Tracking & reporting

Tracking updates and reviewing feedback

Pentana - Action tracking cycle: Accept update
Pentana – Action tracking cycle: Accept update

Up to this point, the audit or GRC department did not have to do anything manually but now the feedback received from the action owners needs to be reviewed.

The Action Tracking screen provides one of the convenient ways in which Action Updates can be analysed and reviewed as it is extremely easy to filter out those Action Updates which have been Submitted.

Based on the information provided by the action owner, the reviewer decides to Accept or Reject the input.

Action update reporting overviews

Pentana - Action update reporting overviews
Pentana – Action update reporting overviews

There are many ways to also graphically provide an overview of the Action Updates during (or after) the action follow-up cycle.

In this simple but interactive overview we see that most Action Updates are still “Pending” (i.e. still awaiting feedback).

As with all these charts, all sections are context-sensitive which means it is very easy to drill down to the individual records or context.

We can tell you so much more!

Sepia Solutions specialises in this software and has a proven track record of successful implementations. This website documents just the tip of the iceberg. Invite us for an on-site presentation for a more interactive demonstration of the Pentana software. We can discuss your organisation, department and objectives to come to a tailored implementation plan.
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