Pinned Items on Dashboards: A 7.7 Feature that Flew Under the Radar

While the release of policyIQ version 7.7 brought some big features to the software, there were a few smaller ones that didn’t gain as much attention as they deserved.  One of those is called Pinned Items.

Pinned Items

Pinned Items is a feature available to Site Administrators under the Tools & Settings menu on the left hand navigation.  This tool is used to “pin” items (Pages, Files, Public Form Templates, or Reports) to their user’s dashboard item “Pinned Items”.  Think of it as “universal favorites” for your site.  The appearance of the Dashboard item is not in the individual user’s control.  Instead, it appears automatically at the top of Dashboards, and only if an item has been pinned.  Moreover, the security settings of that item still apply even if the item has been pinned.  When all pinned items have been removed, the Dashboard item will be automatically removed from the dashboards on which it appeared.


Finally, and most importantly, local security (security at the content level) still applies to items that are pinned.  For example, suppose you have a published page and you’d like to pin it.  The security settings on the page itself are set up to allow 5 our of 10 total users to see it.  If this page is pinned, it will appear automatically on the Dashboard for those 5 users.  Users who do not have viewership of the page will be unaffected, and wont see the page or Pinned Items Dashboard item.

Common uses of Pinned Items:

So far, clients have applied Pinned Items in several ways.  The three most common?

  1. Instructional content -Some Site Administrators have wanted a way to put instructional content (either related to their pIQ content, business practices, or
    pIQ-specific instructions) in front of their users that is ultra easy to find.
  2. Favorite Reports – Each user has the option to add reports to their favorites (which is another Dashboard item).  The problem is that each user has to individually add these themselves.  Pinning a report solves that problem, and opens it up to anyone with proper access.
  3. Others – ANYTHING that you want to put in front of your users.  Specific content, a reminder of a corporate policy, etc.

Let us know if you have questions about this feature, others, or best practices!  We are always happy to help.  policyIQ: 866-753-1231


Customer Partnership for Upcoming Features!

Our policyIQ team has created a new partnership with our customers in an effort to discover, test, and deploy new features into upcoming releases of the software.  Greg Hoover (Support Analyst and Business Analyst, has been meeting via webcasts with our clients to discuss future product releases, specific needs within their industry, and other policyIQ needs.

Our team then creates mock-ups of our ideas for a given solution, and work with customers to decide if this is the type of solution they are looking for.  If it seems like a solution that our clients will stand to gain from, we move forward with internal discussions about developing this new feature to our product.

Greg and our leaders at policyIQ then set each feature at a different priority, based on customer feedback.  Currently, we have several different features that are being tested, shown to clients, and adjusted based on their feedback.

If you would like to discuss a feature request of your own, or view some of the upcoming features that are currently in development, please contact Greg and our Development team via the Support Team:

Time to “Regroup”?

It’s that time of year when everyone is planning out their budgets, projects and goals for the coming year. If you’re considering bringing more automation and efficiency to a new area of your organization or just to a new process within an area that is already using policyIQ, you will likely be revisiting how your users are organized. With the recent release of policyIQ’s version 7.5, it is now possible to make adjustments to multiple users at the same time—making your task of implementing the new process that much easier.

Maybe you have several employees who are already in your “Directors” Group that you’d like to add to a new Group called “SOX 302 Level 2”. Is your organization going through a restructuring and that department is moving under a new VP? These types of adjustments now take just a few seconds in policyIQ. Simply highlight multiple users in the table and select “Move” from your options in the toolbar. Within the resulting window, you are able to adjust all of the selected users’ groups in bulk. Move_User

If you have questions about best practices for managing your users, Groups, or expanding your use of policyIQ, reach out to us and we’ll schedule a FREE working session to get you started in no time!

Need a field for open ended text? You have choices.

When our clients are building new Templates in policyIQ – for pages of content or for electronic forms – there is almost always a  need for some sort of open text field.  Even on the most data-driven content, it’s difficult to anticipate every possible piece of information that might be relevant with number fields, dates, or finite lists of selections.  Sometimes it’s a simple “Notes” or “Comments” field, so that respondents can put context around their answers or explain something that might seem incongruous.

For many years, policyIQ has offered an option between “Short Text” and “Rich Text (HTML)” fields for those more open-ended responses.  “Rich Text (HTML)” fields can capture an unlimited amount of information, with formatting options similar to any popular word processing program for styles and outlines.  “Short Text” was initially designed for short answers (less than 50 characters), displaying only a single open line on pages and forms.

While those two choices could fill the needs, there was gap and a desire for something “in between”.  This was particularly clear on surveys or certifications in electronic forms, where our clients may want to have multiple open text fields to allow for comments on responses – but where a single line of text wasn’t enough, the large rich text editors were bulky and inefficient.

We’ve provided that middle ground!

In version 7.3, we’ve given you that “in between” that you’ve been wishing for.  There is now a third option for open text fields called simply “Multi-Line Text”.  This field provides four lines of visible text, with vertical scroll bars appearing if text is longer than the visible space.  No formatting options are provided, as this is intended to be used for simple responses like comments, notes or explanations – but where font styles and outlines will not need to be applied.

text options

Take advantage of this new field type

If you are creating new Templates, it’s easy to select this choice for new processes.  If you already have a page or form template in use and you’d like to take advantage of this field option, it will require a little bit of adjustment.

For Form Templates, you will need to copy your existing Form Template and make adjustments on the new template.  That new template can then be used moving forward.  If you have complex form bundles or processes already utilizing these form templates, reach out to our support team and we’ll help you to determine all of the steps necessary to create the new template and utilize it in new lists.

For Page Templates, you can add the new field to your pages for use moving forward.  If you have an existing Rich Text field that you’d like to replace with this type of field, we might suggest holding off for just a few more months until the release of version 7.4, when we’ll provide the ability to export your content and reimport to update the content.  This upcoming feature will make it easy to take advantage of a new field type by simply renaming and importing existing text into the new field.  (If you don’t want to wait, however, let us know and we may be able to assist with custom support services!)

Maybe “policyIQ” should be called “grcIQ” or “auditIQ”!

Policy Management ProcessI’ve told the story a few (hundred) times…the development of policyIQ started nearly 15 years ago with its roots in “Effective Policy Management”. It then grew with intention into the Risk, Compliance and Testing arenas—with the signing of the Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) Act—only to be discovered as the easiest to access and use tool on the market and, therefore, wildly exploited for innumerable uses.

Outside of the SOX and Audit world, the tool that was “in the cloud” before “cloud” was a technical term, began to gain popularity for administration of Account Reconciliations and Contracts and was used for the automation of a wide range of processes, such as Capital Appropriations Project Review and Environmental Health and Safety documentation and certifications.

A few years ago, amidst the noise of demand pulling us in many different directions, the policyIQ team made a commitment to focus the development of our product squarely on serving Governance, Risk and Compliance needs. While it was already possible to track the results of risk assessments (the assessment performed outside of policyIQ at that time), associated risks, controls, tests, deficiencies, remediations, policies, and any number of other types of pages in policyIQ with our easy to customize templates, we knew that there was a gap we needed to fill to make policyIQ more accessible, user friendly and refined for our compliance and audit clients. We set our sights on the seventh generation of policyIQ and, since spring of 2013, moved forward with four GRC-focused releases, plus version 7.4 which is now in testing.

GRC Focus

Check out some of the related benefits for the compliance and audit communities!

Prior to version 7

Leading up to the development and release of policyIQ’s seventh major installment, our product and account managers met with many of our clients in exploratory interviews learning what they thought was missing or could be greatly improved in our product. We learned quite a lot about the “real world” practices of our users and considered ways that we could better represent their processes in a streamlined fashion in policyIQ. Prior to the introduction of GRC-related features, we set out to help companies better prepare Page Templates and the Folder structure to capture Audit Projects/Programs and the resulting Audit Test pages. While there are many “right” ways to organize, assign, review and finalize testing work, we helped many companies to better configure policyIQ to support their desired process.

Features Already Released to the policyIQ Community

In the last year and a half, policyIQ has added some features to close the gap between the more generic policyIQ “content management” community and GRC community. Now policyIQ users can…

  •  Access policyIQ from any major browser
  •  Automate their Risk Assessments by taking advantage of Calculated Fields
  •  Better handle workpapers and evidence with the improved file upload features
  •  Streamline and track multiple auditors’ and reviewers’ contributions using these features:
    • Track Changes to identify the contributor and their adjustments with a date and time stamp
    • “Approvers Can Edit” content without having to be added as Page Administrators and then carrying out multiple Check-In, Check-Out steps.  Much more streamlined!
    • Comments – this functionality used in policyIQ Forms has been added to Pages.  We also plan to further integrate comments into the page body in a future release.

Coming Soon

We are very excited about a number of developments in the next release of policyIQ—version 7.4. This release is so significant that we have wondered if it should be called version 8! Look at what’s coming soon!

  • Work offline – The ability to work offline and to otherwise simplify the addition of content to policyIQ will be possible with an enhancement to our Import utility that supports the updating of policyIQ pages (not just the addition of content, but the ability to change content using imports).
  • More easily review and monitor status – Version 7.4 includes the ability to run your policyIQ Reports on a schedule and then to email the results to you and any number of others.
  • More simply review Testing-related workpapers with several new reporting filters and display options, including the ability to list Page Attachments and Links in report results.
  • Support Time and Expense Tracking – You heard that right…we are introducing an entirely new set of features dedicated to supporting companies with tracking estimated and actual time and expenses by audit project, test or task. It is possible to summarize and total the estimates and actuals, to relate them to specific Tests and to focus on T&E related to a specific auditor. This is just the beginning—we expect to continue to refine and enhance this functionality in policyIQ to help users in our audit community to work more effectively and efficiently!

And more on the horizon

We continue to seek feedback from our compliance and audit communities and have marked more than a dozen related features as high priorities for our development team to get started on. Many of our higher priced competitors have a bad habit of overpromising and underdelivering. Members of the policyIQ community know that we work hard to have the opposite reputation–letting users know exactly when their suggested features are in development, considered a priority, and even when a request might be identified as out of scope. We are sincerely grateful for our partnership with our user community! So, while I can’t make any promises, I am also hopeful that we might be able to sneak a couple more “high priorities” into version 7.4 that I have spoken with clients about in recent weeks. We’ll keep you posted!

Thank you!

Thank you for your ongoing partnership to make policyIQ your GRC tool of choice. We couldn’t do it without you and look forward to hearing from you soon with more feedback and feature requests. And maybe with suggestions for a more appropriate product name!

Did your provider over-promise and under-deliver?

The policyIQ Team has heard from a number of companies in the last year who are disappointed with their Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) tool or the tool’s provider. One product has a painful habit of losing the audit team’s electronic workpapers. Another product provider says that you can include hyperlinks and links between content in their product, but users have found that hyperlinks are often broken and attempted access can cause the product to lock up.

FrustratedWe have worked with several companies who feel trapped by their providers—the implementation project has turned into multiple projects consuming considerably more time and money than initially anticipated. How do they halt the moving train and account for the sunk costs? One contact said that he was three years and $300,000 into the implementation of a GRC tool, but still couldn’t be sure if it meets all of their needs because significant portions of the company’s priorities have not yet been implemented.

We’ve heard other examples of companies who committed to purchase and hire the required consultants for the product implementation; only to learn later that they need to purchase another module (or several) if they want to take advantage of features that connect their related processes and documentation.

We pride ourselves on being a different kind of provider

Did you know that your purchase of policyIQ gives you full access to all policyIQ features and functionality so that you may realize gains in efficiency and effectiveness enterprise-wide?

how do clients use policyIQWhile our development effort is focused in the GRC space, companies have taken advantage of how easy policyIQ is to use and to leverage for multiple departments and initiatives. We used to try to document everything that our clients were doing, but we can’t keep up any longer!

policyIQ truly is a one-stop shop that is easy to use and implement. We can have a new site available to users usually within the same day and the average implementation (ie. for SOX, Internal Audit, Policy Management or Contract Administration) takes less than 8 weeks. How do you know that I am not over-promising and under-delivering? We have a long list of happy customers who would be happy to be a reference. Here’s what some of them have had to say recently:

  • Regarding a new implementation: “Thank you again for all of your help with getting this tool up-and-running!”
  • Regarding guidance for applying policyIQ in a new way: “Thanks for the info and your time.  It really is appreciated and extremely helpful.”
  • Regarding a product upgrade: “The performance is better than it used to be, always a good thing when we can improve the user experience!”
  • Regarding a product upgrade: “Love the changes to the file upload feature.”
  • Regarding help from our Support team: “Thank you!  Everything looks great.  I found two mistakes, but they were my fault. 🙂 I can easily fix them.  Thank you so much for importing them so quickly!”
  • Regarding help from our Support team:  “FYI.  As always, your help desk is amazing.”
  • Regarding a feature request that moved into development: “Thank you for the update!  I look forward to testing the new functionality.”
  • Regarding a feature request that we determined was out of scope for policyIQ: “I appreciate your guys’ hard work keeping me updated on the status of these ideas.”
  • Regarding the implementation of the 2013 COSO Framework: “It was really as simple as you said it would be.”

I would be remiss if I did not mention that most of the services provided that these users gave us positive feedback on were free services! The value received with the purchase of user-licenses for policyIQ is extraordinary.

You might also notice that we welcome ideas regarding future development from our clients. They enjoy free upgrades with the latest functionality to help them work more efficiently.

And that comment regarding looking forward to testing the new functionality? Don’t worry. We don’t push new features and bug infested releases to our production clients to test. This is another piece of feedback that we received regarding a “big name” audit tool. We have a full testing protocol and QA process instituted for every release. We also have some very enthusiastic clients who continually sign up to be early adopters or beta testers. That kind of direct customer involvement and feedback is invaluable to us and to other users. We are sincerely grateful for the remarkable policyIQ community!

So, let us know when you would like to have your policyIQ site up and running—we’re ready to help!

Want to keep your report’s sort order and column widths? Put a “Pin” in it!

When we rolled out version 7.0, usability and simplicity was a key driver of the application design.  To that end, our developers built the tables that appear throughout the application to be “smart” enough to resize columns to fit on your screen – regardless of the number of columns or your screen width.  Of course, you could resize your columns and even move around which columns appeared in what order, but when you logged out those settings were lost.

In doing so, we didn’t take into account those reports you might create with a large number of columns – or user preferences as to order in which the columns appear.  Some of you let us know that having to resize your columns every time you looked at a report was really frustrating.  It turns out that our “smart” design was actually kind of dumb.

But we’ve fixed it!  In version 7.3, we no longer ask the policyIQ our tables to make decisions for you.  For every table in the application, you can make the decision as to what order the columns should appear, how wide those columns are, and even the sort order of the rows in the table.  And when you have it all set up just right, put a “Pin” in it (found at the bottom left of every table) to save the table layout.  If you need to go back to the default settings, just choose the Reset Table icon to the left of the pin.


Every user sets their own preferences.  For those of you who really don’t want to make any decisions, no worries!  The tables still do their best to display information with column default column widths based on the type of data.  (Rich Text fields display a bit longer than a number field, for example.)

Is there something about policyIQ that is frustrating you?  Let us know, so that we can improve on those designs.