Delegates attending the Sword Active Risk Global Conferences in Doha, Washington DC and London have voiced their concerns about the biggest risks facing their organizations. Attendees, from some of the world's largest infrastructure, construction, energy, and manufacturing organizations, named cyber security, geo-political and supply chain as the greatest threats to their business. When asked about future developments to enhance the processes or reach of risk management, 54 percent of delegates in the UK and 46 percent in the US favoured social collaboration, while 65 percent of delegates in Doha selected mobile as the most important medium going forward.
Risk has increased in profile and importance during the last five years at 81 percent of organizations according to UK delegates, 92 percent in the US, and 70 percent in the Middle East. Keith Ricketts, VP of Marketing at Sword Active Risk stated; "There are some interesting variances between the different geographic regions, however, the overall trend is that managing risk has moved up the corporate agenda, at a time when the world economy has become less stable, following the financial meltdown in 2008."
In the UK, supply chain, cyber security and funding were seen as the most significant risks being faced by companies. In the US cyber security was also seen as a major risk, along with geo-political risks, funding and physical/construction risk. In the Middle East the dramatic fall in oil prices has forced companies to look at risk management much more closely, with the top risks being geo-political, supply chain and physical/construction risks.
The reasons cited by delegates for the increased focus on risk were the better understanding of risk principles both by senior management and generally across the business. As the discipline of risk management has grown so risk teams have gained greater profile, with risk management now forming part of the company vision at some organizations.
At many organizations risk is now being integrated within business planning cycles to exploit opportunities as well as to mitigate negative impacts on the business. A growing appreciation of third party risks in the supply chain and greater compliance requirements have also been major factors for the surge in the profile of risk management.
Ricketts concluded; "Risk management is increasingly seen as a major part of main stream business planning. Executive boards and leadership teams around the globe are realizing that risk management has a huge part to play, not just at a project and program level, but right across the enterprise. If large organizations are to successfully navigate today's complex trading conditions it is vital that every part of their corporate risk policy is aligned to corporate goals. Only an enterprise approach to risk can provide this level of visibility enabling executive teams to truly understand their organization's risk position, enabling them to take action that will safeguard staff health and safety, and positively impact the bottom line."