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How to assess your risk when you move to a new system

How to assess your risk when you move to a new system

When you take the time to do an exhaustive risk assessment, everyone will say to you, ‘See! We told you that you agonised for nothing!’ But it’s the fact that you did the risk-thinking that made it as smooth as butter.

Moving to a new system always comes with some risk. In this article we share with you a solid framework for handling a risk assessment. If you want your new system to be up and running quickly and easily, spend some time planning to make it so. Keep reading to find out how.

What your risk assessment needs to include

A great risk assessment process lets you:

  • discover the risks to your organisation
  • discover your vulnerabilities
  • rate and prioritise risk events
  • create contingency plans.

It will also include a rating system and enable you to clearly see which risks are potential hazards, and which are not.

Risk discovery: A starting point for surfacing risks to your project

One of the biggest troubles that business have is understanding what risks they might be facing. It’s a good idea to brainstorm all of the possible risks to your business.

To kick-start your risk assessment process, we have developed a Starter Guide. Below is a guide to some of the risks that you might face changing over your system. How many more can you find?

Questions that will help you surface risk

There are some excellent questions that you can ask, to kick-start your risk discovery process. We have compiled a few to get you started:

  • Who will be impacted by the changover?
  • When will they be impacted?
  • What is the cost of work interruption?
  • What is the passive, down-time cost of not being able to work?
  • What does it cost you to have idle staff?
  • What does it cost you to have idle resources?
  • What is the cost of an increasing backlog of work?
  • How will you keep your data completely secure during the upgrade?
  • Who has access to company and customer data during the changeover?
  • What is the risk to morale if your team isn’t trained sufficiently?
  • What is the impact to productivity if your team doesn’t understand how to use, access or deal with the system?
  • What could go wrong if your staff don’t understand changes to security protocols and what it might mean for them
  • Could you be in a situation where any team members might refuse to use the system?
  • Have planned for extensive testing?
  • Do you have Plan B, Plan C, and Plan D ready to go if you need it?

Use your vulnerabilities to mitigate risk

The areas in which you are vulnerable are oftenhidden behind the risks themselves. Let’s take the idea that some of your team members may refuse to use a new system. Exploring what might drive that behaviour, you realise that it could be that they get frustrated because a new security protocol is in place.

Where is the vulnerability? Change management, and training. Knowing this, you go back to your change management plan, and address this tendency up-front in workshops. Then, in your scheduled training, you include a focus on the changed process flow using a mobile device, that show people why they’ve changed.

The outcome is that the team understands the need for the new process flow, and know that if they get frustrated that they will be supported. In turn, your risk of hitting roadblocks along the way has been eliminated.

As part of your preparation, work to understand your vulnerabilities. Then see if you can reinforce those areas so that you are less likely to experience problems.

Rate and prioritise your risks

Rating risks is easy if you already have a risk rating tool, such as for Occupational Health & Safety. Consider adopting it here: You don’t need to recreate the wheel.

Your OHS scoring system will tell you the likely severity, the probability of occurrence and the likely impact to the business in terms both reputational and financial. That’s exactly the kind of risk assessment from which your system changeover (or introduction) can benefit.

Rate every one of your risks and then step back. Focus your attention on the risks that are:
1. Highly likely to occur
2. High severity.

This doesn’t mean you can ignore the rest of them. What it gives you is a strategic view of the risks, and a rational, logical means of addressing them.

Create contingency plans

The final step in your risk assessment is to create contingency plans. Start by looking over your implementation plan.

Consider what you’d need to do if each step didn’t go as planned. Is there a Plan B for that step? If not, what could you do?

Then think about what would happen if Plan B failed for that step, and create Plan C.

Contingency plans allow you to build a safety net that enables you to keep moving through your changeover as smoothly as possible. If something goes wrong, no problem, you know what to do to keep the project moving.

Risk assessments are no laughing matter

At myFLO we have a long history in helping organisations to make sure that bringing in a new system is going to be as successful as possible. To find out how we can help you, contact us on 1300 78 46 60.

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