Time and time again RA and Risk functions within companies try to yield fantastic results, returns and savings by looking for the next big opportunity coming down the pipeline, investing time and money in what sometimes seems nothing more than an exercise in visibility.
I’m not knocking being seen by the business as a useful initiative in its own right – not least of all because you’re only as good as your last ‘catch’, or because businesses have a way of forgetting what value you are unless you’re shouting doom and gloom. Nor am I suggesting that mitigation isn’t needed for the ventures and undertakings of any company.
What I am saying is that I have repeatedly seen a job half done, born from the need to keep up with changes. No matter where you go in telecoms you can see degradation of maintenance for either data or processes, be it for network structure, product development or simply the processes behind stock control of CPE and SLA’s for third parties. Given time, the fixes and mechanisms we put in place will either become outmoded or decay to the point where they add little or no value.
With data and people being at the core of every business, it seems obvious that these foundation stones must be treated with the respect they deserve. A single human error repeated time after time, a decision made without all relevant information or the implementation of something which isn’t fully considered can have a butterfly affect so profound that, before root cause and even be determined, the loss of revenue or brand damage can threaten and jeopardize an entire business. If this foundation isn’t properly built and maintained, the whole thing can come crashing down.
Our functions have a need to step in and correct problems, but what mechanism do we leave behind to monitor the health of our own solutions and how often, if at all, do we revisit any to ensure they are still either being followed or remain valid, effective controls? Not often – mostly not at all! There just isn’t the time, and management often doesn’t see the worth in it, thinking that once fixed there won’t be a reoccurrence.
I don’t think that anyone can say this isn’t true. Our roles too often seem like triage, patching up one wound and moving on to the next. There’s clear value in this but we have a need to record, maintain and revisit what we have done to ensure we provide a holistic approach in our undertakings.
Think of it like spinning plates; hard to get started but easy to keep it going as long as you don’t leave it alone entirely. Neglect it and sooner or later the plate will fall.