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Technology, data analytics empower risk managers

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Technological developments and greater use of data underlie much of the evolution of risk management over the past 50 years and are likely to change the role of the risk manager even more going forward, experts say.

“I think we are just at the forefront of seeing the utilization of data and analytics transform how professionals are approaching the profession of risk management,” said George Haitsch, global client advocate at Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. in Philadelphia and former risk manager for SAP S.E. in Walldorf, Germany.

The greater use of data will elevate the position of risk managers, he said.

“There will be somewhat of a larger voice for risk managers with respect to investment due diligence and helping set direction for the company, because more and more there’s an inherent understanding that with risk comes reward,” Mr. Haitsch said.

Already, risk managers are involved in broader enterprisewide discussions and decisions, and that trend is likely to accelerate, said Carol A. Arendall, vice president of safety and risk management at US Foods Inc. in Rosemont, Illinois.

“We are not going to go down the path of introducing a new process without involving risk management.

You don’t want to get a shiny new initiative in place and then find out that there were all kinds of downsides to it,” she said.

Technological developments, in particular greater use of mobile- and cloud-based technology, will help integrate risk management processes throughout an organization, said Robert G. Petrie, president and CEO of Origami Risk L.L.C. in Chicago.

Mobile applications are “pushing the technology out from five or 10 users in the risk management department to hundreds and sometimes thousands of users throughout an organization,” he said.