It is not often you see press releases about the reorganization of risk and security teams within telcos. So an announcement recently made by Telia Lithuania deserves some attention. It stated:
…the Board of Telia Lietuva approved new governing structure where Competitive Customer Operation and Risk units are merged into a new Operational Excellence unit. From 15 December 2017, it will be led by Vytautas Bučinskas, who until now was responsible for the Company’s risk management.
CEO Kęstutis Šliužas is quoted as saying:
We are moving to another model of more efficient business creation, a model that will involve improvements in all fundamental activities – customer operations, processes, revenue assurance and management of all risks in general.
Is this a one-off, motivated by the fact that the new boss of the Operational Excellence unit is said to have already “accumulated a vast experience in risk management, cyber security, technology, customer operations, quality as well as process management and sales”? Not many telco managers can seriously claim to have such varied experience. Or might this indicate a potential trend, where security and risk are managed alongside operational activities instead of being separated from them?
Some purists will question the wisdom of closing the gap between ‘controlling’ functions and the functions they want to be placed under more control. Cynics might suspect that merging teams means you can pretend to take security and risk management seriously whilst actually reducing the amount that is spent on them. Optimists will hope that positive benefits will be realized by giving a risk manager oversight of more than just risk. There is also potential merit in integrating risk oversight with front-line decision-making. Arguably risk management teams often fail to gain traction because they are too far removed from the details of how the business works.
For myself, I am not sure what to make of this announcement. But it is worth noting, and it will be interesting to see if other telcos do something similar.