By integrating processes across your organization, you can align operations to a designated risk management framework and begin examining advanced risk perspectives, such as reputational and legal risk.
Mapping out an organization’s data structure will highlight the roles and responsibilities needed across your business functions. The next step is to review what people, processes, and technology are currently in place to achieve your business objectives. Before businesses can calibrate a digital risk strategy, you need to have a clear understanding of the scope of operations and a baseline for an internal risk management framework. Businesses can then measure activity and performance across departments accurately and at scale.
Silos and Consolidation, Identifying Where to Standardize Through Your Enterprise Network
Silo’d departments, processes, and data is historically the nature of how organizations operate. Business functions, whether an individual or a department, find a system that works for them, put into action, and optimize. By no means does standardization require activities across your enterprise to be uniform. There is a high level of strategy in this evaluation between adopting connected systems, and focusing on efficiency or shaping a best in class operation by business unit. However, by implementing a series of standard operating procedures, organizations can make it more accessible to share data across a standard methodology. A defined risk management framework can streamline reporting to deliver both aggregated and normalized data to management, executive teams, or your internal audit authorities.
Before you can establish any form of standardization, you need to review the current business processes in place. Analyzing your data flow maps is an excellent place to start, as these will show you high-level documentation of the people and processes, along with their roles and responsibilities, that are currently in place. From here, you can record active systems and workflows to identify commonalities. By setting a criteria to categorize and align systems and operations with your business objectives, you can establish a repeatable risk management framework. This categorization enables you to compare the elements shared, what works, what causes (or has caused) conflict, and, most importantly, what positive tactics are repeatable across business units?
Beyond the practices themselves, what technologies or software is in place to support these efforts? Do these applications efficiently aid the people and processes in place? Are different software solutions instituted for similar use cases across different business units? Understanding the scope of work across related processes gives you a common ground to evaluate and then optimize. Technology assets, or workflow processes that work well for one group, could be shared across groups with similar objectives and related tasks.
Accepting Outliers and Adding Context to Operations
There will, of course, be groups that operate differently and do not align. Certain processes and practices will be outliers, instances that do not mirror the rest of your organization. Identifying these processes and understanding why these systems are different is an essential understanding for adding context to your risk management framework. Does this set of operations have a specific subset of objectives driving their initiative? Do the people spearheading the tasks at hand have a unique cultural driver? Understanding why these systems are different will help you further categorize and weigh processes across a varying landscape of operations.
Another reason to note and understand these differences is to aid in user adoption. Keeping user adoption and practical application will help to address the balance between connectivity, efficiency, and the diminishing returns of going too far in either direction. If a system doesn’t make sense for a group, they will eventually abandon it regardless of investment in the application or across training that addresses their need. A sales team is typically very different in comparison to a research and development team in both their set of business objectives as well as cultural drivers in how they operate.
There are typically benefits to mapping and standardizing processes at the baseline to get everyone on the same page to enhance user adoption. You can have the best system to identify and measure risk across your organization but, inconsistencies in the process make it difficult to measure risk. Without a baseline of operational understanding, the scorecard to use to measure risk has little value. One application may be riskier than another, and as an organization, you need to weigh both the process and technology together to appropriately value inherent risk as well as establish suitable remediation plans to offset adverse risk.
Standardizing your processes creates a foundation, or risk management framework, to measure risk across your business, aggregating risk across shared practices, and normalizing risk across divisions that do not compare directly. This understanding will help leadership and your auditing authorities design an appropriate reporting and measuring tactic for each division.
To learn more about how the OneTrust GRC platform can support your risk management initiatives please contact our team of experts. For more information on connecting data to build an enterprise risk management framework, or how a flexible data structure can help your organization scale and combat cybersecurity threats check out our other blogs.