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Understanding the importance of risk management in projects 
Wed, 13th Dec 2023

As IT professionals progress through their careers, many find their role increasingly become that of a project manager. Rather than deploying and maintaining infrastructure, their time is frequently spent on strategy, planning, and management.

This, in turn, means senior IT professionals must be able to accurately assess risk levels. They need to judge whether the outcomes of a decision outweigh the potential problems that might arise.

The consequences of taking risks that don’t eventually pay off can be very significant. It can lead to operational disruptions, a decrease in productivity, compliance gaps, and even increased security threats.

Risks are rising 
According to research by consulting firm McKinsey, risks relating to ransomware attacks on financial services firms alone have increased by 900% in the past eight years. In another report, the firm found that cybercrime is one of the top five risks identified by most executives (58% and increasing).
Meanwhile, law firm Baker McKenzie recently announced its list of the top 10 risks faced by business clients. They are IT disruption, theft and fraud, talent risk, geopolitical risk, information security, resilience risk, third-party risk, conduct risk, climate risk, and regulatory risk.   

Faced with this list, IT leaders clearly need to be highly skilled. Yet they must also depend on the support of tools and best practices that can help them execute on the risk management of projects.

On the other hand, embracing risk can come with perks. Moving away from traditional technologies and taking on new initiatives can lead to improved operational performance, cost savings, and compliance reassurance that pays off in the long term.

Disaster recovery capabilities are vital
The ongoing task of staying abreast of compliance and regulations has become a major focus for IT in recent years.
For instance, IT leaders need to be aware of state, federal, and international laws regarding data storage and transfer, privacy protocols, and other regulations that can result in costly non-compliance fines if violated.

Also, it needs to be remembered that any unexpected disruptions or inefficiencies in the IT infrastructure can lead to delays or errors within operations that could result in significant financial losses to the company.
Any compliance failures that occur could cause significant operational risks for an organisation, so it’s essential that all teams, including IT, are adequately protected. Proactively implementing measures to protect the organisation against data leaks, breaches, or other information and resource mismanagement is vital. 

Although risk may seem daunting, with every problem comes opportunity. By addressing risk, IT leaders are free to identify new opportunities for IT infrastructure expansion. Addressing risk also gives IT leaders opportunities to better anticipate emerging risks, as well as obtain a wider understanding of governing regulations and how they impact technology investments and cost-saving initiatives. 

The benefits of process automation
By comprehensively reviewing existing processes, IT leaders can identify, resolve, and minimise the effects of any issues or risks that may arise. At the same time, process automation can further reduce risks by automating error-prone and manual tasks, minimising the risk of data errors, compliance failures, and security breaches.
Effective process management and automation can also offer opportunities for IT leaders to identify any benefits or advantages that come with new technologies or improved workflows. Proactively managing and automating these processes will allow for best practices to be set, which others in the organisation can then follow.

Overall, process management and automation can ensure that IT leaders are ahead of the game instead of playing catch-up when something goes wrong.

Understanding IT and business processes in detail better equips IT leaders to identify opportunities for innovation and risk management.

Also, process automation increases the efficiency of operations, leading to a number of potential benefits, including cost savings and enhanced business performance. By managing and automating processes, senior managers will also gain a better understanding of impending issues such as system failure and disaster recovery. 

Regular management is key
Once effective processes have been automated, they then need to be regularly managed to ensure they remain efficient and add as much value as possible. If this is not undertaken, an organisation could end up with broken processes that expose it to additional risk.
As an example, if an organisation’s new staff technology provisioning process doesn’t work effectively, it may lead to a new employee not being assigned their laptop until a week after their start date. They may also be given incorrect permission privileges and risk a data confidentiality breach. Managed and automated processes prevent this from happening.

By deploying effective and automated processes and then managing them, IT leaders can ensure their organisation enjoys the best possible outcomes. Risks will be reduced, and business productivity enhanced.