Making Risk Work For You
Management Today|December/January 2016-17
Making Risk Work For You

From reputation damage to Brexit uncertainty, businesses face a host of daunting challenges to tackle. MT in association with DuPont assembled an expert panel to discuss how best to approach and even drive value from such risks.

In today’s globally interdependent environment, new risks such as cyber security have emerged, while established risks such as business interruption, damage to reputation and operational risks to internal systems are taking on new dimensions and complexities. MT in partnership with DuPont, conducted research among more than 300 business leaders, and found that the risks they think will be the greatest over the next three years will be: economic downturn, Brexit uncertainty and competitive pressures.

Ian Wylie, special projects editor, Management Today: What are the key risk challenges and opportunities for your business?

Andre Katz, group director of enterprise risk management, BT: Technology is clearly a source of great opportunity to BT but it also brings some fairly seismic risks. The other element that’s very topical this year has been around political risk and uncertainty. Deeply held assumptions around our view of the world haven’t held up to be true, from Brexit to Trump. Understanding what that uncertainty means for our organisation is a challenge because it takes us into a different space to where we were before.

Charles Clayton, vice-president, internal audit,  RB: We’re moving from being a household products business to being a healthcare business, with a very different set of risks. That’s a really big challenge. And we’re growing very rapidly – transitioning from being a teenager, shall we say, to a young adult. Our infrastructure needs to follow suit – from systems and processes to data. That brings a whole set of new challenges in order to build the skeletal structure sufficient to support an increasingly large business.

Mieke Jacobs, global practice leader, DuPont Sustainable Solutions: In the past we have managed enterprise risks and operational risks separately, also for companies in different high-risk industries with whom we work. However, as operational risks have become an increasingly important part of enterprise risks, there is an opportunity to look at them in a more inclusive way that includes the operational risks and dynamic factors such as geopolitical unrest and volatility. The challenge is connecting both and there’s a real opportunity to be more inclusive and integrated.

Andy Hastilow, operations director, Stannah Stairlifts: With the advent of the internet, customers have much more choice now and the ageing population means that our marketplace is now a lot more attractive to some big players. That means that we need to change. Time to market has decreased, product life cycles have decreased, but all our systems and processes have been built up around compliance and maintaining the status quo. We have a tried and tested recipe for success but the challenge for us is to do something new.

Wylie: How can organisations foresee and manage risks as unexpected as Brexit and Trump?

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December/January 2016-17