COVID-19 is changing the way we ‘Do Risk’ forever.

Posted by

You are the CRO. Responsible for measuring risk impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. How you and your teams ‘do risk management’ is transforming – today, tomorrow and every day into the future as you adapt to this crisis.  Just like the 2008 financial crisis (read more from our Chairman on that here), COVID-19 is compelling us all to raise risk management to a new level. 

As organizations deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 global emergency, leaders must plan, act, and adapt to the ever-widening repercussions on a near-real time basis.  A few weeks back we published best practice insights for risk, technology, and business leaders in a Plan-Act-Adapt framework. 

  • PLAN  –  Know Your Hot Spots to prioritize action plans and execution efforts
  • ACT – Keep a tight handle the right actions to take through dynamic risk intelligence
  • ADAPT  – As the crisis unfolds, know how and when to shift resources and adjust business processes

Read more on Best Practice Insights here…

But for now – let’s focus on how your risk team’s mission role has changed in three critical ways – velocity, agility, and interconnectedness – and how we can use technology to support this transformation in our rapidly evolving digital world.  

Your #1 Mission: Get critical information on your organization’s COVID-19 risk and response, to the right stakeholders, quickly.  As the CRO, you need to provide this information to help your stakeholders make the decisions that make the difference.

How can you do this?

  • Drive high velocity into your risk program.

Velocity of response will drive your organization’s resilience. Risk management teams now need to know in near-real time the context and relative impact of new risks. This is becoming more and more crucial when prioritizing efforts for response and remediation. Speed in visualizing and communicating trends, trajectories, and metrics that predict scope, impact, and preparedness are now table stakes for informing day-day operations.

Second line processes need rapid alignment and integration so that teams across the organization in risk management, information technology, human resources, and compliance and crisis management can focus on hot spots, make decisions on high priority remediations, and be able to pivot on a dime. All this while working from home in a new digital, cloud-based eco-system. 

Technology helps by automating digital processes and mapping the universe of processes, people, and projects into an accurate, common view of the overall situation. Technology helps by monitoring incidents reported by employees and the extended enterprise, vendors, and partners. Technology is the only way we can drive higher velocity into our risk programs – allowing us to effectively traverse the COVID-19 risk landscape and related organizations, policies, projects, vendors, employees, and business resilience status.  

  • Make Agility a Critical Success Factor

The ability to act decisively is the difference between riding the wave and being ridden by it. Leaders now need to act swiftly and smartly with response strategies tied to specific action plans. At the same time, teams need single place stay on top of and informed by the global picture.  Who needs to know what information? Risk teams now need to help discern when and how to bring in incidents, observations and issues from the front line, and quickly volley back new processes, policies, and procedures. What’s the latest revision of the playbook based on what works?

Technology helps with common platforms and integrated apps that can adjust the picture with critical, real-time access to dashboards and feeds from agencies such as the WHO, CDC, national, regional, and local health organizations. Technology helps with workflow-driven communications – so essential for governance, accountability, and transparency. Technology helps with chat bots embedded into our day-day work apps to receive and triage inquiries and reported incidents, and clearly communicate policy and procedures detailing how we should respond. Technology helps deliver the right information to key stakeholders: employees, customers, the board and senior management, stakeholders, first line responders, partners, and others. 

  • Leverage interconnected risk intelligence

Co-relating multiple risks in essential to see the overall trajectory. Business leaders now need to understand how COVID-19 interconnects with shifts in national and local industry, health, and security risks. It’s the combined impact of these factors that shift the trajectory. Risk teams need to measure and predict the many risks in concert – workforce changes, logistical delays or challenges in arranging alternative supply chains. When could/should the organization expect a change – is an office, critical supplier, or region rising to a peak or recovering with increasing containment? When will this shift? What other risks could affect the timing of moving much needed resources? How will you adapt? 

Technology helps by synthesizing and correlating factors from your organizations’ digital universe – customers, vendors, partners, and the front line. When an office/region needs to shut down, when the supply chain breaks…. in order to understand the overall risk to affected business units, locations, facilities, customers and products. Technology can leverage analytics to proactively assess and provide scorecards on 3rd parties, vendors, and supplier ecosystems – as well as specific processes over the cloud or on mobile devices. 

The bottom line   

COVID-19 containment programs require an unprecedented increase in velocity, agility and interconnectedness to support the decisive intervention needed to flatten the curve keep front-line employees safe while continuing to serve customers, and align with vendors, suppliers, and third parties. With the help of best practices and technology, risk teams can effectively rise to this challenge.

Sanjay Sinha, CMO, MetricStream, helps lead the company towards excellence in regional and global marketing.