There is a lot to be said for using tools to plan and prepare for business success. In the case of managing risk, technology can be a smart and strategic advantage.

It’s not who you know but when you know.

How insights and technology can help you to manage risk and perform with clarity.

As much as we all would like to think that our businesses won’t experience financial reporting errors, legal liabilities, cybersecurity breaches, or any number of other potentially catastrophic events, the reality is that they can — and do.

Risk is a fact for any business, and Professional Service organizations face added challenges because of the nature of their work. From architecture and engineering consulting firms to law firms (and everything in between), professional services firms are at heightened risk as their businesses grow ever more complex.

It is all too easy to make seemingly safe choices in the interest of time and money; delaying a software upgrade because the package you are currently using is good enough or postponing your staff cybersecurity training to a less busy time. Plus, with most professional service businesses built on relationships, it is easy to forego proper due diligence before engaging. These safer, easier choices can quickly wear thin and lead to real trouble, misreporting, errors or worse.

Is technology the answer?

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – wise words from Benjamin Franklin. There is a lot to be said for using tools to plan and prepare for business success. In the case of managing risk, technology can be a smart and strategic advantage.

Technology that supports risk management gives you several benefits.

Find trends and react on insight

Being able to assess risk at the front-end of a project or fiscal year helps businesses understand what they are facing so they can make better decisions in advance. Technology gives you the option for historical reporting. This is often missing in manual risk management processes. The historical and forward-looking data together gives you more opportunity to spot trends.

Data and insight can also detect risk early. The faster risks are found, the more likely the chance that effective mitigating actions can be taken. Not everything that happens in business is predictable, but with data and insight tools, challenges can be resolved by prompt detection and intervention.

Automate, automate, and then automate some more

Automation can be a tremendous catalyst to accelerate significant advancements in risk management by enabling companies to continuously monitor risk at scale both, cost-effectively and efficiently.

Automation reduces the amount of human intervention needed which significantly reduces risk. Typically, automation uses workflows within a technology platform. This means that your process of risk identification, assessment, management, monitor, control, and escalation is handled through a single process within a tool. You document a risk in the tool, assign it to the right person to assess, and they will automatically get a notification that they have work to do.

Once the analysis is complete and entered into the tool, the next step in the workflow will be for it to be assigned to the risk owner. Then a further workflow step allows the risk to be assigned to someone else should it need to be escalated.

This makes it easy for everyone on the team to see what risks currently “belong” to them and makes it easy to handoff risk management and all the required information if necessary.

Real-time information

With real-time data analysis, a company can continuously monitor their product, service, and financial performance, and quickly apply corrective measures when something doesn’t go according to plan.

When you have teams reporting risk management activities in real-time, this information can be reported in real-time too. This avoids any lag time between the action being recorded and reaching the people who can act on the information.

Easier monitoring

Insightful, fact-based reporting is more important than ever. By housing key risk and compliance data from multiple parts of the business in a single source, the data can be made easily accessible. This data then feeds into a process for monitoring. Risk reporting is far easier when all you have to do is call up the right view or click a few buttons.

Your management or project teams could spend days gathering and validating reports, a bit like finding a needle in a haystack – or the right software could do it all for them.

Easier escalation

Escalating issues is part of the foundation of any good risk and security program. Unfortunately, human nature can cause a reluctance to panic or raise the alarms too soon meaning sometimes critical issues aren’t raised early enough, high enough, fast enough or with sufficient fidelity to allow timely action. When a risk needs escalating, technology makes it easier to flag the problem to the right people promptly.

Timing is everything for good decision-making

By basic definition, a risk is something that has not yet happened. With some consideration, you can plan to prevent potential disasters. In order to plan, you need information and a process – and this is where technology comes in. Technology will even help you to identify risks and challenges before you even know they are a problem.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 has several applications for managing governance, risk, and compliance including Records Management, Information Protection, Communications Compliance, Information Barriers, and Privileged Access Management.

At sa.global, we are helping professional service organizations become cloud-first businesses, accelerating their digital transformation to realize greater value at speed and scale with our business ready, pre-configured solutions. Get in touch to find out how we can support your teams with managing and mitigating risk today.

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