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Manage Tomorrow's Surprises Today

Steven Minsky

ERM Value: Building the Business Case

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ERM CommunicationThe role of the enterprise risk manager has finally become clear: close the gap between strategic level risks and the operational risks faced at the activity level. Despite being a relatively new corporate discipline, expectations for ERM value are already very high. A recent poll shows us why corporations are desperate for ERM managers to be successful.

The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive of 23,000 corporate full-time employees within key industries and in key functional areas1 highlights some the challenges ERM is up against, namely, the inability of corporations to focus on and execute their highest priorities. Consider a few of their most stunning findings:
  • Only 37% have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
  • Only one in five was enthusiastic about their team's and organization's goals.
  • Only one in five said they have a clear "line of sight" between their tasks and their team's and organization's goals.
  • Only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals.
  • Only 20% fully trusted the organization they work for.

If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only four of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only two of the 11 would care. Only two of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but two players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent.

Getting an accurate pulse on strategic objectives is challenging, as these goals are cross-functional and effect oriented in nature, and as such are extremely useful for the board and senior executives, but are impossible to take action on without first breaking them down into root-cause, actionable, silo specific activities within an operational processes. This is where risk management plays a pivotal role.

To create value through ERM, organizations need to build a robust risk taxonomy, which provides a holistic view of all information and relationships across the organization. The risk manager is responsible for setting the standards, practices and procedures for effective risk management and embedding them in all existing business processes. Formalized risk assessments allow risk managers to leverage existing activities in an objective, quantifiable, repeatable manner to show how risks and activities at the business process level are impacting business goals, along with the priority and importance of these risks, activities, and goals.

A formalized risk taxonomy framework is a mechanism to collect risk information at the activity level, where most operational risks materialize, and aggregate this risk information to a level and format senior management cares about. Watch our complimentary on-demand webinar, "Presenting ERM to the Board," to learn more about the value ERM can provide to your organization by aligning activity level risks to strategic goals.

1 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey, Harris Interactive poll of 23,000 U.S. residents employed full-time within key industries and in key functional areas.


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One of the things a business must do is to find more dependable ways to predict where they need to be tomorrow and beyond. The five year plan is no longer viable. Enterprise risk managers must use business intelligence tools that allow them to build Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for the most critical metrics.

If you want to avoid risk, you have to look into the future using predictive analysis and forecasting tools that are simple and easy to use and deploy. Using impact and sensitivity analysis business intelligence tools can be the biggest help to an ERM, because he or she can consider multiple options and provide advice on changes in price points and internal processes, new products and financial decisions. It is critical to an organization to understand how these factors will impact the bottom line and to get ahead of problems by seeing a developing trend or pattern and addressing it before the competition.

The only way to do that is to integrate information from multiple data sources into a user friendly, flexible, personalized view using affordable, flexible business intelligence tools.

Congratulations on a beautiful and useful information

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In this blog, risk expert Steven Minsky highlights the differences between traditional risk management and true enterprise risk management, which is about helping things happen rather than preventing them from happening. Manage Tomorrow's Surprises Today is designed to help you think about risk in new ways and learn how to benefit practically from this rapidly evolving field.

Steven Minsky

Steven is the CEO of LogicManager, Inc. the leading provider of ERM software solutions. Steven is the architect of the RIMS Risk Maturity Model for ERM, author of the RIMS State of ERM Report among many other papers, and a RIMS Fellow (RF) instructor on ERM. Steven has conducted ERM and RIMS Risk Maturity Model training for hundreds of organizations around the globe. Steven is a patent author of risk and process management technology and holds MBA and MA degrees from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of International Management. You can reach Steven at steven.minsky@logicmanager.com.

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