From Excel to Excellence: Revitalizing IT Risk Strategies for a Future-Ready Landscape

Article Yianna Paris and Dave van Stein (Xebia)

Effective IT risk management is necessary to safeguard valuable assets, achieve organizational objectives, and ensure long-term success. When done properly, it is a crucial tool for informed decision-making. However, keeping up has become challenging in the modern fast changing world of Agile, cloud infrastructure, the massive use of external dependencies and complex and opaque supply chains, and daily changing threats.

Still, IT risk management is often based on traditional management approaches that assume linearity and predictability such as checklist processes, KPIs, and periodic review cycles. Additional implementation problems like excessive documentation demands, limited stakeholder involvement, and a lack of adaptability further contribute to their shortcomings. As a result, IT risk management often struggles with the dynamics of modern software environments. To successfully navigate complexity and continuous change, IT risk management processes will benefit from a more adaptive and collaborative approach that embraces flexibility, continuous adaptation, and engaging diverse teams and stakeholders, while avoiding the pitfall of creating a new rigid framework full of constraints.

Luckily, we don’t have to reinvent everything from scratch; over the years strategy [1] and architecture [2] faced the same challenges in dealing with complexity. Risk management can benefit from adopting similar, more context-aware, approaches based on the ideas of systems thinking, complexity theory, and sensemaking:

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