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You are here: Home » Case Studies » Managing risk associated with inserting new technology and systems

Managing risk associated with inserting new technology and systems

Problem

  • Whenever new technology or systems are implemented into some existing system there can be potentially negative impacts as well as the expected rewards
  • The need to predict more accurately the risk/reward trade-off is especially critical where an existing system that is critical to an organisation's well being could be adversely affected by the change
  • One of our customers, a major Canadian bank's IT Department, has to consider many proposals for new functionality and systems each year. The problem was that many such projects can have a negative impact on existing core IT systems. For example, previously working business critical functions can be lost for unacceptably long periods due to the insertion of some new (but apparently unrelated) functionality
  • The challenge was to be able to identify which proposed new functionality represented the most risk (in terms of potential negative impact) on its existing core IT systems
  • Predicting such risks and reward before the process of technology insertion starts is extremely difficult because of the need to combine minimal objective data with a lot of expert judgement

Solution

  • For the bank we developed a risk map and associated risk table that is used as a filter for all new projects and proposals
  • Specifically, a risk assessor answers some basic questions about the new project in the risk table and the risk map calculates the "yes/no" probability of negative impact
  • If the probability of no is sufficiently low the project can proceed. Otherwise further clarification and checks are needed

Benefits

  • Reduced problems with existing core IT infrastructure due to the fact that "risky" projects are more likely to be filtered out early (and their risks mitigated if they do eventually proceed)
  • Rational, auditable justification for filtering decisions. It is fully explained by the risk map structure and the results for each project proposal
  • Minimal effort to use. Project managers and/or risk assessors answer a set of simple questions about each project proposal and then press a button to get the full results. Answers can be supplied directly via the intranet