Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Technology Failure and Lack of Innovation Join Talent Recruitment Among Top 10 Risks Ranked by Business Leaders

Economic slowdown tops list again as organisations focus on growth and business fundamentals

Business leaders across the globe identified economic risk as the greatest threat they face today, but also emphasised the need to innovate, mitigate technology failure and manage talent to compete in the future, according to the findings of Aon?s 2011 Global Risk Management Survey. The web-based biennial report was released by Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon Corporation (NYSE: AON).

As the global economy continues to recover, the threat of sustained economic trouble weighs heavily on the nearly 1,000 business professionals from 58 countries who participated in the 2011 Global Risk Management Survey.

This group identified the economic slowdown as the number one risk facing organisations across all geographies, with 67 percent of respondents reporting loss of income in the last 12 months associated with this risk.

Aon's 2011 Global Risk Management Survey Top 10 Risks
Global UK
1Economic SlowdownEconomic Slowdown
2Regulatory/legislative changesDamage to reputation/brand
3Increasing competitionRegulatory/legislative changes
4Damage to reputation/brandIncreasing competition
5Business interruptionFailure to innovate/meet customer needs
6Failure to innovate/meet customer needsTechnology failure/system failure
7Failure to attract or retain top talentBusiness interruption
8Commodity price riskFailure to attract or retain top talent
9Technology failures/system failurePolitical risk/uncertainties
10Cash flow/liquidity riskExchange rate fluctuatio

George Zsolnay, head of Aon Analytics in the U.S., stated, ?The findings shared in our report underscore the undeniable interdependence among various risks as well as economies around the globe. It is more important than ever for organisations to embrace an enterprise-wide approach to managing risk, and optimise their strategy on a global basis.?

Rory Moloney, head of Aon?s Risk Consulting business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, commented that, ?In the UK and Ireland, businesses are acutely aware of the uncertainty surrounding the financial stability of European nations, which is most likely the reason we see political risks and exchange rate fluctuations in their top 10 concerns. This survey was conducted prior to the upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the New Zealand and Japan earthquakes, so it is possible these concerns would be even higher on the list today.?

For the first time in survey history, failure to innovate/meet customer needs made the top 10 list of global risks, debuting at number six.

This development reflects growing concern about the risk of losing market share to more forward-looking competitors. Technology failure/system failure also earned its first top 10 spot, ranking ninth on the list. Technology concerns lead to fears about additional risks, including business interruption and damage to brand, which are also found on the report?s top 10 list.

?Throughout the economic recession, many organisations pulled in their oars ? tabling research and development projects, decreasing spend on information technology and freezing hiring,? said Constantin Beier, global head of Aon Analytics and chief commercial officer of Aon?s Center for Innovation and Analytics in Dublin. ?Today, business leaders are realising this strategy won?t work in the long term. Organisations must begin reinvesting in fundamental areas such as these if they are to survive and thrive.?

Failure to attract/retain top talent ranked at the bottom of the top 10 risks list in 2009, a time when companies were experiencing hiring freezes and layoffs. In 2011, this risk is viewed as more acute, taking the number seven spot on the list. The majority of respondents (60 percent) reported they do not have a plan in place to handle this risk, and a trivial number (4 percent) said they are seeking outside support for recruitment and retention strategies.

Additional Findings

  • Only 39 percent of respondents measured their total cost of risk, down from 44 percent in 2009. Failure to track or manage all aspects of TCOR could be detrimental to an organisation in the long term. As the economy recovers and the soft market dissipates, more organisations are expected to track TCOR.
  • The chief risk officer role is a growing trend. Thirty-one percent of respondents reported having a CRO, up from 25 percent in 2009. This finding represents the realised value of having risk officers in the c-suite and the emerging acceptance of risk management as a core function of business success.
  • For the third straight survey, financial stability was cited as the top criterion in an organisation?s choice of insurers. The desire for competitive pricing was tempered this year by an interest in dealing with carriers that have the financial capacity to pay claims.
  • As companies struggle to contain cost in a post-recession era, they are more willing to sacrifice flexibility and innovation for broader coverage and better terms and conditions.

For more information and to register for a copy of the Global Risk Management Survey report, click here.

Political risk/uncertainties


Kelly Brook Lokelani McMichael Monika Kramlik Alice Dodd Amanda Bynes

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