Managing risk in today’s challenging business environment

In today’s increasingly complex, challenging and interconnected business environment, it is vital for organisations to effectively monitor and measure the risks they face.  

A proactive approach to risk management reduces the potential for shock events to hit business operations and also reinforces organisational resilience.

Some risks are scheduled and can be anticipated. For example, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) arrives on May 25 2018. GDPR relates to companies that either ‘process’ or ‘control’ data, which captures almost every organisation in the UK.

After this date, the risks associated with failing to properly comply with manage data provisions are considerable. Fines for noncompliance can be up to €20 million or 4% of global turnover (whichever is larger).

The good news is that there is considerable support, guidance and toolkits for companies freely available. But where risk management procedures are deeply embedded within an organisation, the path toward compliance is considerably less fraught.

Most organisations can move develop sufficient safeguards to ensure compliance with GDPR. But what about external threats?

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2018, cyber breaches recorded by businesses have almost doubled over the past five years. The report found that in 2016 alone, 357 million new malware variants were released.

A 2017 study of 254 companies across seven countries put the annual cost of responding to cyberattacks at £11.7 million per company.

Effective risk management ensures best practice is followed and the organisation is protected. In many instances, it is the project manager who is tasked with assessing and implementing risk procedures.

Project managers should build their risk planning around long and medium-term strategic goals alongside short-term tactical and operational issues. In terms of critical documents, a risk register is the essential tool for both issues tracking and determining the correct actions when issues arise.

There are a number of elements to the risk register document, some of the most common include: risk type (where it affects the business); risk description (how it affects the business); risk ID (for track purposes); its likely effects and potential impact.

With this assessment in place, the risk register can help project managers identify early prevention measures and best response when issues occur.

Professional training offers project managers the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to manage risk and provide stability for today’s demanding operational environment.

Programmes such as Agile Courses, Scrum Training, or Scrum Product Owner, offer fundamental risk management skills whilst also boosting career prospects.

With risk management procedures in place, project managers (and organisations) can scan the horizon for possible threats, ensure emerging issues can be addressed adequately, and deploy resources in the most efficient and effective way possible.