Tag Archives: Automation

“Lack of strategic focus on technology at Board level” finds ICSA poll

A poll conducted by ICSA: The Governance Institute and recruitment specialist The Core Partnership reveals that just 51% of Boards of Directors understand the challenges and opportunities that data and technology present to their organisations. Some 29% of the company secretaries who took part in the survey think that their Boards do not fully understand and a further 20% could only attest to ‘maybe’.

A lack of knowledge is viewed as the main barrier that prevents Boards from engaging properly with technology at a strategic level. Some 58% of respondents consider this to be the main obstacle, with 22% alluding to another reason, 16% citing language as an impediment and 4% blaming the on-boarding process.

Some of the main issues raised are as follows:

*The speed at which technological advances move means key aspects of the technology journey may not be provided in a timely manner

*It’s hard to find time in busy agendas to focus on the technology aspects

*Most Boards are made up of people who are of a generation that do not really understand the possibilities and threats offered by technology

*There has been a focus on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and cyber security, but that focuses on risks rather than opportunities

*Challenges arising from data management are more readily understood (eg the impact of poor data quality), but the real opportunities available to organisations through the effective use of data are less well considered (and especially through the ‘lens’ of commercial strategy)

Peter Swabey

Peter Swabey

Artificial Intelligence and automation

When asked if there were particular areas in which Boards needed to improve their understanding, a quarter of respondents chose Artificial Intelligence and automation. Other areas highlighted for potential improvement were using data effectively, the GDPR, cyber security and IT governance. Some 23% of respondents stated the belief that their Boards need to hone up on all of the areas mentioned.

Peter Swabey, policy and research director at ICSA, said: “The pace of change is such that new technology is emerging quicker now than at any time previously. This can be challenging for all Boards, but particularly so for those predominantly made up of people who are not ‘digital natives’. On top of this, changes in corporate governance, data privacy requirements and regulation mean that it can be difficult for non-executive directors to maintain an adequate level of knowledge across all areas. While it’s incumbent upon directors to proactively seek to expand their knowledge, there are time limits on what’s achievable given the part-time nature of the role.”

Swabey added: “It might be suitable for some organisations to have an IT specialist sit on the Board, but this wouldn’t be appropriate for all. Moreover, having one director with responsibility for technology might allow others to obviate their responsibilities, which is clearly not an option. As one respondent quite rightly said: ‘Technology is both an opportunity and a threat – Boards need to understand how it impacts the business both operationally and strategically’. This is a responsibility that all directors must share.”

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Dates announced for next Corporate Risk Associates Risk Forum

One of the UK’s leading independent risk management consultancies is inviting risk safety professionals, academics and peers in the industry to its highly acclaimed annual Risk Forum. Corporate Risk Associates (CRA) will be hosting its seventh annual conference entitled ‘To Automate or Not to Automate’ on 5-6 October at the Stratford Manor Hotel in Stratford Upon Avon.

Chaired by Jasbir Sidhu, CEO and founder of CRA, the two-day event will focus on the increasing prevalence of the use of automation in safety critical industries. The company wants to energise interest around whether the reduction of human input with the introduction of increasingly complex automated systems will be either ‘friend or foe’.

With high profile professionals and leading academics due to attend, the event promises to deliver in-depth content that will be both stretching and stimulating. The speakers will also be available for further discussions during the event.

CRAJasbirSidhu

Jasbir Sidhu: CEO and founder of Corporate Risk Associates

Sidhu very much believes that the risk management profession should have a strong voice. He said: “The CRA Risk Forum has evolved year on year as we react to what people in the industry are telling us they would like to know more about. We’re delighted to have provided this platform which creates an opportunity for experts to share Best Practice, while also transferring valuable and insightful knowledge as we all endeavour to be the best we can possibly be in our chosen profession.”

Sidhu added: “We’ve selected extremely high calibre speakers that we know will deliver expert advice in what is such a complex area. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see what the general consensus will be on automation after all of the speakers have delivered their insights with feedback shared in our open discussions.”

No less than 110 delegates attended last year’s event, with people travelling from as far afield as the West Coast of the USA and New Mexico to engage with leaders in the industry.

Sidhu continued: “We’ve always been greatly impressed by the turnout of each event we have hosted. We now run into our seventh year and, with a fantastic programme planned for the two days, we anticipate that this will be our most successful CRA Risk Forum to date both in terms of attendance and knowledge sharing.”

Established 16 years ago, CRA specialises in managing safety, reliability and risk across the nuclear, oil and gas, transportation and defence industries. The business was recently awarded the industry accolade of Risk Management Specialist of the Year by industry body Continuity Insurance and Risk (CIR). CRA is also proud to have been awarded the Institute of Physics’ Best Practice in Professional Development Award.

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