Cloud computing. Connected devices. “Going digital” and “going mobile.” Robotics. Blockchain. The fourth industrial revolution has arrived. In fact, these once “emerging” technologies have been around for some time. Adopting them is not an option anymore; it’s a mandate to compete in the 21st century.
The velocity of technological change has never been faster than it is now. For enterprises, speed of technology deployment is critical to success and survival, but it can’t be at the expense of the health of the organization or its stakeholders and customers.
Within the IT departments of many organizations, there has been a strong focus on quickly enabling disruptive technologies so the business can seize its promised benefits—from improved customer experience and increased operational efficiency to boosted profits. However, our data shows that when it comes to technology innovation, many companies struggle to balance the need for speed and agility with the need for control.
Agile technology risk
The future tech risk professional will need to demystify the risks of new emerging technology and develop an agile tech risk framework with enough flexibility to respond to new risks. An agile technology risk framework will include a dynamic risk assessment that combines the risk appetite of the organization with adoption of new technologies.
Some companies are taking steps to follow through on this promise. For example, we see clients leveraging data analytics and continuous monitoring to change the way they manage technology risk. The reason may be that only a handful of organizations have their arms around such technology and know-how to identify and manage associated risks. But this is the technology risk function’s role.
Of course, technology innovation and control should go hand-in-hand. After all, when the risks related to new technologies are expertly managed, organizations can feel much more confident about unleashing them at scale.
How do organizations undergoing digital transformation strike the careful balance between innovation and control?
It starts with involving technology risk in strategic planning, investment and business enablement efforts from the get-go. The IT risk function should connect with and understand the larger business strategy and focus on embedding some basic risk management up front in technology adoption efforts, rather than at the back end.
In our experience, success in embedding IT risk into the front-end strategy of technology change often boils down to a number of key factors:
1. The leadership culture at the top of the technology organization
How do technology leaders embrace, support and drive a culture of risk management? Where is technology risk positioned? Who does it report to? How credible is it? How well funded is it?
2. Where tech risk sits in the organization and who they collaborate with
Technology risk should collaborate closely with strategic planning teams, including business planning, innovation and technology enablement teams. Read more about technology risk’s role and position in the organization in the following section of our report.
3. Willingness of tech risk leaders to change their view from “It shouldn’t be done,” to “How can it be done with less risk?”
Some technology risk teams are very rigid about the risks associated with emerging technology, and therefore marginalized or kept at arm’s length from the strategic planning process. They more often than not hinder the innovation process through resistance and negativity. Rather, they must help enable and support the business growth.
4. The right talent
While the skills gap is an issue in technology risk—and we discuss it in detail later in this report—the talent issue is more about awareness than capabilities. IT risk officers should educate themselves and the technical risk professionals on their teams about macro business issues, so the technology risk function has the knowledge and understanding it needs to effectively incorporate risk insights into strategic discussions and decisions.
The article “Is emerging technology still emerging?” by Phil Lageschulte, KPMG International, was taken from KPMG’s publication entitled Disruption is the new norm.
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