As we move into the fifth month since COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic, many of us have had time to reflect on what matters most. For me it’s been all about the health and well-being of family, friends, customers and colleagues.

With many of us now working from home, our ability to connect and communicate digitally has become more important than ever. The results from our first-ever Integrated Risk Management (IRM) survey point to a similar need to look to digitalization as a means of enabling safety and sustainability while preventing risk and transitioning quicker from compliance to performance during the tough years ahead.

Unlike traditional IRM, which may still rely on siloed and spreadsheet processes, IRM 4.0 leverages Industry 4.0 technologies, such as digital twins, to forecast potential risks before they happen, allowing decision-makers to proactively manage process risks that could lead to loss of production and harm to people and the environment.

The survey suggests how digitalization may very well be the key to the IRM equation. With an IRM 4.0 platform, we have a renewed opportunity to strengthen safety culture, make products and operations more sustainable and generate the conditions conducive to greater productivity. Now you can harness data to see risk and opportunities at a glance and in real time, allowing you to make more-informed, strategic and tactical business decisions. An integrated approach intersects process, progress and performance.

Our own experience indicates that IRM 4.0 can also bridge the divide between profits and sustainability. In fact, we have seen continual growth in sustainability-related initiatives by the largest industry players despite the pandemic. In some cases, the growth may even be because of the pandemic—people are more aware of the need to reduce global risk through stronger sustainability commitments and the use of advanced software tools to achieve their goals.

According to the survey, while most companies say they are proactive rather than reactive when it comes to risk, the percentage of companies taking a predictive approach to risk is still very low, at only 12%. Yet, the vast majority of respondents agree that Integrated Risk Management increases workplace safety (92%) and risk mitigation (93%) and allows you to harness the influx of data, learn from it and get a bird’s eye view of your real risks.

In other words, IRM 4.0 offers risk-mitigation capabilities that were previously impossible, leveraging predictive and prescriptive analytics to mitigate incidents before they occur. The combination of AI, smart sensors and digital twins, for example, can provide you with dynamic visualizations to predict and proactively prevent incidents along risk pathways.

Despite the pandemic, I am optimistic that we will see continuous growth in the IRM technology and services market in the coming years. Companies want to use technology to identify existing and emerging risk and move away from reactive risk management toward Operational Excellence. They want to move one step closer to zero incidents. They want to transmit their risk-related data in real time and map it against cumulative risk impact and dynamic process safety barrier management models so they can make critical and timely risk-related decisions. They want to be able to provide the right information to the right people at the right time.

We cannot say definitively when COVID-19 will be behind us, but we do know that as companies return to full operations the possibility of unforeseen risks become more probable. I hope that the survey proves useful for you in thinking about your company’s future and that you are able to use this time of reflection to come out of the pandemic with a renewed spirit for making your own activities more safe, sustainable and productive while transitioning from compliance to performance with digital IRM 4.0 technologies.

Unlocking the Path to Digital Transformation

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Paul Marushka

Paul Marushka

As Sphera’s founding President and CEO, Paul Marushka is responsible for providing overall strategic leadership for the company in developing, directing and implementing go-to-market, service, product and operational plans. Marushka has grown businesses by bringing innovative solutions to market in leveraging software, analytics and technology services. Prior to joining Sphera, Paul served as President of Marsh ClearSight, a business unit of Marsh & McLennan and a leading provider of software, services and analytics for enterprise risk management, safety and compliance management and claims administration. Marushka also has held executive positions at software and data companies such as Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) and CCC Information Services.

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