A continual improvement process, also often called a continuous improvement management (abbreviated as CIM or CI), is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes. These efforts can seek “incremental” improvement over time or “breakthrough” improvement all at once. Delivery (customer valued) processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.

Some see CIMs as a meta-process for most management systems (such as business process management, quality management, project management, and program management). W. Edwards Deming, a pioneer of the field, saw it as part of the ‘system’ whereby feedback from the process and customer were evaluated against organizational goals. The fact that it can be called a management process does not mean that it needs to be executed by ‘management’; but rather merely that it makes decisions about the implementation of the delivery process and the design of the delivery process itself.

A broader definition is that of the Institute of Quality Assurance who defined “continuous improvement as a gradual never-ending change which is: ‘… focused on increasing the effectiveness and/or efficiency of an organization to fulfill its policy and objectives. It is not limited to quality initiatives. Improvement in business strategy, business results, customer, employee and supplier relationships can be subject to continual improvement. Put simply, it means ‘getting better all the time’.’ “

Value to business

It will help readers to set up CIM and the process that supports it, and to make effective use of the process to facilitate the effective improvement of quality.

Adopting and implementing standard and consistent approaches for CIM will:

Lead to a gradual and continual improvement in overall quality, where justifiedEnsure that quality objectives remain continuously aligned to business requirementsResult in gradual improvements in cost effectiveness through a reduction in costs and/ or the capability to handle more work at the same costUse monitoring and reporting to identify opportunities for improvement in all lifecycle stages and in all processesIdentify opportunities for improvements in organizational structures, resourcing capabilities, partners, technology, staff skills and training, and communications.

Target audience

GOLDENHORN eGRC Continual Improvement Management is relevant to organizations involved in the development, delivery or support of services, including:

Service providers, both internal and externalOrganizations that aim to improve overall enterprise qualityOrganizations that require a consistent managed approach across all a supply chain or value networkOrganizations that are going out to tender for their services.

In addition, Continual Improvement Management is relevant to any professional involved in the management of quality, particularly:

Enterprise architectsManagers and practitionersCI and Quality managersProcess ownersProduct / Service ownersBusiness relationship managersAny practitioner looking to improve their way of working and ultimately reduce costs.


Organizations today are required to comply with an increasing number of regulations, policies and procedures. This drives the need for ongoing continual improvement control monitoring in organizations. The traditional regulation/policy/procedure-specific continual improvement control management software solutions have become less effective, as they are not integrative and hence can create inconsistencies and even contradictory continual improvement control processes. Executive officers are specifically required to demonstrate effective continual improvement control practices, and to ensure corporate transparency and visibility into the business. The continual improvement control process is continuous and needs to be repeated periodically and closely monitored. Management is personally responsible for an adequate level of continual improvement control, and this responsibility requires significant management attention and allocation of time and effort.

Single Continual Improvement Management Function

A scope that provides a single continual improvement control management function that coordinates and manages controls across operations and finance has specific issues and challenges which are:

Providing an integrated strategy and view of financial and operational controls across the organization.Increasing confidence in risk coverage and the complexity of interconnectedness of risk and controlsCapturing business changes with updated and changing controlsCombining finance and operational control teams and revamping processesFocusing on key controls that could cause the organization to overlook other controlsManaging the human element in controls managementExpanding requirements for continual improvement control management such as ISO, SixSigma, Lean etc. standardsAddressing a lack of resources while being tasked with more continual improvement control responsibilities across operational controlsKeeping controls aligned with business processes and a changing environmentImplementing a system/technology to manage all controls across the organizationIntegrating controls into daily workflow particularly when transitions occur with staff and turnover

Controls are critical throughout business strategies, operations, and processes. Continual Improvement Management management has become a critical foundation in the first line of defense for enterprise GRC.

The correct controls that are operationally effective are the linchpin to assure that the organization can reliably achieve objectives while addressing uncertainty and acting with integrity.


As organizations mature their approach to continual improvement control management they are seeing more intersections with risk, compliance, and audit processes which require a more thorough strategy for managing controls in the context of the organization. Reactive and stove-piped approaches to continual improvement controls management leave the organization not seeing the big picture of how controls interrelate with each other, risks, and compliance obligations. This means the organization wastes resources on managing controls as separate assessments and projects instead of as an integrated whole. Defining strategy, managing operations, and addressing organization change requires agility in continual improvement control management to provide assurance to boards, executives, GRC professionals, as well as the line of business.

As business becomes increasingly complex in a changing business and risk environment – that struggles with growing regulations, globalization, and distributed operations – organizations need a blueprint for effective, efficient and agile continual improvement control management. This requires organizations to design continual improvement management into the organization as an integrated part of strategy and operations supported by an integrated continual improvement control information architecture that allows organizations to have a 360° situational awareness of continual improvement controls in context of business strategy and operations.

GOLDENHORN eGRC Continual Improvement Management provides an integrated and consilience solution on effective continual improvement control management strategies in a dynamic business and risk environment.

An effective continual improvement control system is an important component of GRC and provides appropriate security for achieving goals in the following categories:

Robustness of business processesReliability of financial reportingRegulations and standards compliance


The GOLDENHORN eGRC Continual Improvement Management is one of reliable solutions in the GRC market that provides a comprehensive and integrated framework for managing continual improvement controls in a multi-subsidiary environment. The Continual Improvement Management enables enterprises to define control testing plans, assign control tests to designated continual improvement controllers, schedule continual improvement control tests, collect continual improvement control test results, document recommendations, manage action requests, remediation plans, and present summarizing dashboards of continual improvement control outcomes.

The GOLDENHORN eGRC Continual Improvement Management supports all types of control tests, including continual improvement control tests, operational control tests, and IT control tests. The GOLDENHORN eGRC CIM is aimed at efficient continual improvement control monitoring execution and ensures integration of the continual improvement control process with the risk and compliance management system. With our Multi tenant technology, multi-subsidiary organizations can now manage their continual improvement control efforts centrally within an easy and flexible environment.

You can use Continual Improvement Management as a standalone GRC solution or integrate it in GOLDENHORN eGRC with existing submodules for e.g. Operational Risk Management, Continual Improvement Management, Compliance Management etc. Since the methodology is aligned, data from cyclical continual improvement control testings and acyclic ones are seamlessly integrated. This generates a greater scope of information and a better foundation for making decisions regarding changes.

Creating custom reports is considerably simplified with GOLDENHORN eGRC.


Support of the complete continual improvement control management process

Flexible continual improvement control planning and scheduling

Implement complex approval processes with dynamic cases and workflows

Remind contributors to complete measures

Use vast capabilities to present insights gained through continual improvement control management

Visualize extracts from current continual improvement control data graphically at any time

Generate individual reports for different target stakeholders


Integration of specific controls and standards (e.g. COSO, Cobit, Regulative Requirements)

Simple, self-service advanced Continual Improvement Management reporting

Implementation of controls on process, service and entity levels

Test of design and effectiveness by VVM – Validation and Verification Manager

System-supported development of controls

Standalone or unified with Internal Control Management, Operation Risk Management, Audit Management and other GRC processes

GOLDENHORN BPM process workflow-driven dashboards with information on current continual improvement control tests and tasks

Continual Improvement Management and test model registers

Continual Improvement Management allocation planning

Flexible authorization system based on roles and groups

Tracking for measures, continual improvement control findings, reviews and action requests

Collection of various information such as costs, time spent, responsibilities or criticality for individual measures

Flexible reporting

Critical Success Factors

Drive control documentation (including verification and validation model documentation) through GOLDENHORN BPM and use it as the foundation for modifying existing controlsGain a complete overview of controls and their correlations to risksGenerate reports on quality and effectivenessRun validation and verification model cases for controls at regular intervalsFull transparency of overall process via integrated continual improvement-trailTrack measures for improvementProvides unique ability to include manual and automated monitoring techniques into one solutionGain transparency by identifying weak spots in controls across all processes


Thanks to the modular configurations of GOLDENHORN eGRC CIM with different submodules and features:

> Continual Improvement Management Knowledge Management System

> Continual Improvement Management Case Management – Business Process Change Management

> Continual Improvement Management Case Management – Engagement Management

> Continual Improvement Management Case Management – Request Fulfillment

> Continual Improvement Management Control Planning Management

> Continual Improvement Management Control Scheduling

> Continual Improvement Management Control – Process and Operational

> Continual Improvement Management Control – Product/Service

> Continual Improvement Management Control – External Service Provider

> Continual Improvement Management Control – FirstLevel Assurance (Self Assurance)

> Continual Improvement Management Control Testing Management

> Continual Improvement Management Control Finding Management

> Continual Improvement Management Performance Management

> Continual Improvement Management Financial Cost Management

> Continual Improvement Management Integration for Sampling

> Continual Improvement Management Analytics and Reporting