Why Spend on Risk and Assurance?

I volunteer to perform a number of roles for the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), but my favorite is overseeing the agenda for each RAG conference and meeting. The task means I can always look forward to learning from speakers who I admire and enjoy listening to. This year RAG has been fortunate to welcome TEOCO boss Atul Jain as a keynote speaker at two of its conferences, and I was impressed by the way Atul talks about the need to think differently if we want to achieve superior results. He inspired me to think about a challenge we have all faced – persuading bosses to support our efforts with greater investment – and to see if I could make some useful observations that are also radically different to the norm. So when it came time to line up speakers for the July RAG meeting (pictured above) I took advantage of my position and gave myself a half-hour slot to see how the audience would respond to my crazy ideas. The attendees seemed generally receptive, but you can make your own judgments about my sanity by listening to the talk, which was recorded with the permission of RAG, and is available as episode 30 of the Commsrisk podcast.

Press the ‘play’ button at the top of this article to listen to the podcast through your browser. If you prefer to download the mp3 file then you will find it by clicking on this link. Whilst you are listening, you can also follow the presentation slides below.


New episodes of the Commsrisk podcast are released every quarter. This episode represents a small landmark; it is the 30th in the series. Today’s episode was relatively unusual because it did not involve an interview of a guest. However differently I may think, the podcast has lasted this long because of the input of many knowledgeable practitioners with many varied insights. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every guest who has appeared on the show during its history: Itzik Weinstein, Gadi Solotorevsky, Mark Nicholson, Mike Willett, Glenn Hovey, Guy Howie, Lee Scargall, Geoff Ibbett, Nitin Patel, Paul Lewis-Borman, Mark Yelland, Vinod Kumar, Des Rehinsi, Tal Eisner, Hanno Allolio, Jan Dingenouts, Jan Vervloet, Shankar Palaniandy, Rob Chapman, Steffen Öftring, Paul Lia, Rene Felber, John Brooks, and my recurring co-host, Dan Baker.

You can subscribe to the podcast for free at the iTunes Store, and Android users can follow the podcast via Blubrry. If you do that, you will never need to worry about missing any of the great guests who will join me for the next 30 episodes!

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.

2 Comments on "Why Spend on Risk and Assurance?"

  1. Thank you Eric for sharing your presentation. I wasn’t able to attend the July RAG and it would have been a shame to miss this. I could not agree more about the presentations from Atul Jain which I thought were inspirational.

    I read Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. While it was not a quick or an easy read it was really interesting to get an understanding of how and why we perceive risk and loss. Prof Steve Peters book The Chimp Paradox explains it as our emotional chimp being quicker to perceive and react to risk when we are often better served by our slower rational human making the decisions.

    Your point is very well made that an executives aversion to the loss of something already owned compared to something not yet received is likely to be very different. A logical economist would tell us the risks are the same but both Kahneman and Peters show us that the executives emotional reactions would lead them to invest more effort and resources in to protecting what they already have. So why do we focus more on revenue loss than brand damage, regulatory fines and loss of share value? I guess it may be because it is easier to identify and quantify rather than the ambiguities of brand value, regulator behaviour and stock
    market movements. Lee Scargall’s graphs help to remove some of this ambiguity by starkly quantifying the share value losses suffered in some high profile incidents and reinforces the message. The easy route is not always the easy way to secure the investment into the systems required to protect a business from the risks the executives are really concerned about.

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