The Future of Risk Management & Risk Managers

Posted on August 15, 2017.

What does the future look like for the Risk Management Profession?  What skills will you need?

At our recent ARM Global Conference held in London, the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) gave us a ‘sneak peek’ at their ground-breaking research on the Future of Risk.  The full findings will be published later in the year, but what they had to say so far was very interesting, and set me thinking about our own research, and anecdotal evidence we see from our clients and the way that they are evolving the management of risk and the use of ARM within their organizations. Most IRM members surveyed agreed that we are going to see more use of technology and more automation in the future, with Artificial Intelligence a major contributing factor to the way that organizations operate.


From Compliance to Collaborative 

As more of the manual, labor-intensive elements of jobs are automated, so it will become the Risk Managers’ job to use their professional skill, judgment, and experience to seek opportunities and turn risk to advantage for the business.  Risk Management must become more proactive, more forward-looking, and in particular, continue to become better at providing the information that the Board needs to maintain its ‘license to operate in society’.  Not only will it be essential that Risk Managers have, as a pre-requisite, a greater understanding of the business, but they will also need to continue to become more collaborative with other departments.  Tools like Risk Visualizer, a diagrammatical tool that enables the fast, easy capture of risk information, and then provides a powerful way to articulate the risk story, will help Risk Managers to achieve this.


Risk Management supports every major business decision

In the past ten years, we have seen both the risk landscape and expectations faced by risk departments change beyond recognition. The globalization of industry, widening communication networks and the rapid changes in technology and demographics have changed the nature of risks that organizations face, in number, complexity, and the speed with which they arise. Our own research indicates that the extended supply chain and geopolitical risk are increasingly on Boardroom agendas, impacting risk processes, and must be factored into the overall risk picture.

The Risk Manager of the future will need to develop their business skills so that as well as understanding the business, they are better able to liaise with other areas of the organization. There will be more emphasis on the soft skills required for collaborative working and the ability to sell the benefits of Risk Management to every level of the business from those working in business units that may be reporting risks and incidents, to a line of business managers, senior management and the Board. By evolving corporate culture so that Risk Management is ingrained within the business underpinning every major decision, organizations will be best placed to deal with increasingly complex risk and the correspondingly lucrative opportunities to gain competitive advantage.