As we stated in our 2021 Incident Management Benchmark, to say 2020 was disruptive is an exercise in understatement. And while we may reasonably hope that the worst is behind us, the uncertainty and risk that it introduced is unlikely to recede anytime soon.
Fortunately, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the events of the past year, as well as positive signs for the risk and compliance space in particular. In the face of sudden and massive shifts in how, where and with whom we work, the risk and compliance functions of businesses across the globe responded with strength and resiliency, adapting to new conditions and challenges as they arose.
The crisis also prompted new and renewed interest in going beyond compliance to tackle a host of risks through activities including business continuity planning; enhanced due diligence and continuous monitoring of third parties; advancements in how we update, disseminate, and document the use of policies and procedures; and in better training of employees, third parties and leadership on ethics and compliance issues. Our incident management systems proved consistently robust, taking full advantage of technology and automation solutions.
Similarly, the increasing size and scope of environmental disasters has led to an increased (and welcome) sense of urgency from the broader public, as well as commitments from businesses to make a difference through robust and impactful Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programs.
Above all, this year’s benchmark report demonstrates that the quickly maturing risk and compliance sector is taking a broader, more integrated and holistic approach to managing uncertainty. And that’s a good thing, because there is every indication that this will be its defining challenge in the months and years to come.
This rapid pace of change makes benchmarking your program more important than ever. As risk and compliance functions innovate to meet an expanding universe of business needs, it is essential they measure their programs and progress against both their peers and increasingly demanding regulatory guidance.