The Remarkable Depth of a TPRM Program: Journeying into Your Fourth and Nth Parties

November 6th, 2023 Daniel Philemon Reading Time: 2 minutes
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I’ve always loved fig trees. I think they’re unique creations that have reputations rich in history and symbolic in nature. Fig trees are contributors that, when in the right conditions, produce one of the oldest known fruits in the world. All major religions have stories that pertain to fig trees, and everybody’s grandmother has a secret recipe that requires them. High in fiber, iron, and minerals, figs are also beneficial when applied to diets. It is safe to say that fig trees are important and hold a special place on this earth.

When we look at a fig tree, all we see are the figs produced and the tree itself. When we consider the root system of a fig tree, we start to truly understand the remarkable depth of the tree. One of the longest root systems ever recorded was from a fig tree in South Africa (over 1,300 feet). The root system of a fig tree is extremely important for its growth and health because the roots absorb nutrients and water to sustain the tree.

Like fig trees, third-party risk management programs (TPRM) are unique creations and, when healthy, fascinating programs that directly produce reputable fruits that can allow organizations to thrive. Similar to the multi-trunk, multi-stemmed design of a fig tree, TPRM programs are intricate with various department contributions and all types of employees supporting the reputation of the organization.

Digging Deeper into Your Business Connections

When we look at an organization’s TPRM program, what we typically see are the third parties, the engagements, the contacts, and all of the contractual agreements that help tell the history and symbolic impacts each third party has made to the organization. What isn’t so obvious are the non-contractual agreements related to your organization; the relationships your third parties have with their own third parties (i.e., fourth parties, nth parties) that can have enormous impact and influence on the reputation of your organization.

Your organization’s fourth-party relationships are the subcontractors of your own third parties; your third parties’ third parties. Fourth parties are just as crucial to understand in order to monitor the level of risk they may present. Beyond that, the same applies throughout the entire value chain, as nth parties include your vendor’s vendor’s vendor, and so on.

Like the roots in the fig tree analogy, a TPRM program that is healthy, maturing, and growing cannot afford to overlook fourth parties and nth parties, because the products and services your third parties are contractually aligned to deliver for your organization could be considered critical relationships that impact your organization’s bottom line.

Best Practices When Working With Fourth and Nth Parties

  • Gain a detailed understanding of your third parties’ policies and procedures.
  • Understand your third parties’ policies and procedures for their own vendors.
  • Periodically request your third parties’ list of critical fourth parties.
  • Periodically request updates when major changes occur to any critical fourth parties

Can Technology Help with Fourth-Party and Nth-Party Management?

Absolutely! TPRM technology platforms help to make sense of the intricate “trunk, figs, and elaborate roots” of a TPRM program. However, not all TPRM technology solutions are fit for scaling and visualizing risk complexities. Aravo’s technology platform is purpose-built to handle growth and the multitude of risk domains within an organization, acting as the true connector of all your current/future data providers, homegrown back-office systems, internal/external users, and remarkable depth that fourth parties and nth parties can add.

Don’t lose sight of what isn’t visibly noticeable in your TPRM program. Contact Aravo today!

Daniel Philemon

Daniel serves as a Senior Business Solutions Consultant at Aravo Solutions and has a passion for helping organizations see value in technology to understand risk through the context of third parties. Daniel has over 12+ years of professional experience in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) space through various SaaS (Software as a Service) providers.

Daniel serves as a Senior Business Solutions Consultant at Aravo Solutions and has a passion for helping organizations see value in technology to understand risk through the context of third parties.

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