Data Analytics has accepted a Silver Partner offer from Informatica.
WHO IS INFORMATICA?
Informatica is the world’s leading provider of data integration, ETL (extract, transform & load), integration platforms, data quality, meta-data management and master data management solutions & has been for many years (see Gartner Magic Quadrant reports in each category).
WHO IS DATA ANALYTICS?
Data Analytics is a full-service management consultancy service centring around enterprise data, including data strategy & management, data governance, data science (AI/ML/Big Data), data engineering, data quality, data platform architecture & implementation and data analytics. Data Analytics Consulting can transform your business into a fact-focussed enterprise where reality drives business decisions.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR CLIENTS
Data Analytics can now also help your business design and deploy Informatica-based solutions in Australia & New Zealand. Data Analytics, however, maintains its right to independently advise clients to choose non-Informatica products where Data Analytics architects believe it is in the client’s best interest to do so. Similarly, Informatica retains its right to advise its clients to use other professional services other than Data Analytics where appropriate.
Informatica and Data Analytics are now taking steps to enhance their respective offerings and services to clients in the ANZ market utilising the best of each other’s capabilities. For further information please contact Jeff Popova-Clark (+61 421 960 048 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Risk management has gone through various stages in its lifetime. During the early 2000s, risk management started to get more generically formalised beyond those specialist areas of risk control in domains like insurance, engineering and finance. We had various management standards for risk management including AS/NZS4360, COSO, FERMA, BS31100 and eventually the ISO31000 series. Although not mandated in any of these standards, we all got used to sitting in rooms with risk workshop facilitators trying to identify all of the risks our organisations faced and then analysing them to see how big they were, what we were doing about them, whether we were adequately mitigating the risk and what else might we be able to do to further reduce the risk. At various times throughout the last 20 years, ERM has dissolved into little more than a box-ticking exercise. However, in the era of global pandemics, global economic shocks, tsunamis, earthquakes and global warming, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is making a comeback as an important component of a sustainably successful enterprise.
Therefore it is interesting to note that there are actually a number of other approaches to identifying, analysing and mitigating risk that are not commonly practised in a structured way by most organisations. They are the forgotten risk analysis methods of ERM:
History: A historical review of events at your own organisation can identify those risks that have actually realised (or maybe near-missed) over the history of your enterprise and how frequently and how big they actually were. This should be done rigorously using metrics wherever possible. Often, if the firm’s own history is ever mentioned, it is normally done so anecdotally. This runs the risk of primacy and recency effects overriding objective risk assessments of the likely frequency and severity of a risk realisation. Also, it may be possible to see what was tried before and to assess how well it worked to dampen the frequency and severity of occurrence, rapidly detect occurrence if it occurred, contain the consequences and then efficiently and rapidly recover and remediate.
Research: A research effort to assess what kinds of risks have actually occurred to similar peer organisations across the globe and across time to help identify what could happen that may not have happened within your organisation before. Also, identify mitigations that have been attempted and assess the historical success of those.
Experts: Getting the opinion of actual experts in a field. Too often the Financial Controller or the CEO’s Chief of Staff are providing opinions on the flood risk to the organisation’s operations. Are these officers really sufficiently qualified to assess the likelihood of flash flood or river/coastal flood at the organisation’s premises, and are they qualified to estimate the frequency and severity of those potential events? And are they qualified to estimate the likely impact such events might have on operations? When specialist knowledge is available, why not use it instead.
Crowdsourcing: Very rarely are surveys or idea boxes employed to tap the ideas and thinking of all the brains available in your organisation. Your staff represent a very large number of eyeballs seeing the world, with a very wide diversity of experiences and a large repository of grey matter, which are, at least some of the time, thinking about your enterprise and what is good and bad for it. Senior executives at a risk workshop may not be aware of all of the thinking of their staff on these risks. This is much easier now in the era of cloud and social media.
Literature: Academic survey of what researchers are highlighting and identifying in the literature as potential risks to your organisation. Once again this doesn’t need to be a hit or miss of what your CRO happened to be reading last week or last saw at a conference. A dedicated effort to monitor published articles on industry-relevant risks is useful especially in industries that are changing rapidly.
Benchmarking: Undertake industry risk benchmarking. What are similar organisations to yours identifying as risks and taking mitigating action against? Is your enterprise missing something that others have identified?
Models: Develop a digital twin of your enterprise or operations and run simulations to see where its vulnerabilities are. Armed with this knowledge, how likely is something going to occur that could threaten those vulnerabilities. Models can also be used to forecast the outcomes of various mitigation options. What mix of event suppression, detection, resilience, containment, recovery and insurance provides the most cost-effective mitigation option?
Rollup: Local risk analysis is being undertaken for cybersecurity, treasury risk, workplace health and safety, IT & construction projects, asset management and various other domains. Some organisations neglect to aggregate these individual exercises as input into the enterprise level.
Post-event analysis: Although this is sometimes done, it is not done frequently with the purposes of Enterprise Risk Management in mind. Post-event analysis should look at an occurrence from many angles: (a) had we identified this as a potential risk before? If not, why not and if so, did we assess its likelihood and severity accurately? If not, why not and if so, what did we do to mitigate the risk? (b) Did mitigations function? If not, why not, but if so did they decrease the likelihood and/or severity of the risk as expected (c) were containment and recovery plans available and triggered and did they function as expected?
Scenario testing: Not quite as forgotten as the ones above. This is more commonly seen in the ERM subcategories of Disaster Planning and Business Continuity Planning, but can actually be used more widely for all kinds of risk management. Develop a scenario where things are going wrong and try to operate through the simulation. Often risks, weaknesses and vulnerabilities are brought into relief under the more realistic circumstances of a simulated scenario.
As you can see there are many other options to identify and assess enterprise risks. None of these are outside the various ERM standards; it’s just that they are not used very often in practice. This could be because many of these require somebody to spend time and effort in researching these risks and interviewing experts outside of the semi-annual executive risk workshop. But is it time to invest resources into actually taking risk management seriously? How many of these forgotten methods are actually practised in your organisation?
You knows those people who are always seemingly disagreeing with the rest. Those people who passionately explain their ideas but lose most of us along the way. Those people who seem frustrated with the status quo and are constantly speaking up inconveniently when you are trying to get alignment across the team. They are outspoken, passionate, different, annoying and generally the people that most organisations try to repress. We brand them “mavericks” and not team players. But often they are speaking out at tremendous cost to their own reputation and career. Why do they do it?
And they do it despite the natural affinity to do the opposite. A range of famous psychology experiments by Solomon Asch shows that most of us will not disagree with the crowd even when the crowd is patently wrong. Survey’s show that over 70% of employees will not correct their boss even when they know the boss is wrong. So these dissenters are already a very rare bunch. Do they do it for kicks? Do they just enjoy stirring the pot and watching the commotion?
So how can you tell if the person is (a) an innovator that has a very important point such that they were willing to risk their public reputation, or (b) is simply a misguided hot head or naïve know-it-all. If they are an innovator who sees something that no-one else is seeing, it is likely you yourself are not seeing it either. I suggest that you pull the person aside and ask them to take the time to explain three things (maybe in writing to help you take it to other stakeholders if it proves that it is actually innovation):
What is the driver for why you are speaking out? (e.g. I believe what I’m saying will avoid a risk to the company/strategy/team that is likely to occur if we don’t change, or; I believe that the current approach is less fair to these stakeholders and they will object.)
What is it you think needs to be different than what you think things will be if we don’t heed your advice/idea? (e.g. “I believe that we need to run the project in an agile, iterative style because if we pretend that we already know the risks and costs up front we are misleading everybody and ourselves, significantly increasing the risk of major project failure.” or “Our strategy presumes that everyone is like ourselves, but not every culture we are dealing with has the same goals and desires as the people in our team. For instance some of those stakeholders value time with community more highly than they value jobs within their region. We are likely to get major community pushback if we proceed this way. We need to accommodate their different personal and community goals”).
Why do you think you are the one who sees this opportunity differently than everyone else? (e.g. “Perhaps I am the only person in the team with a combination of psychology, finance, science and commercial operations in my background” or; “My great grandmother lives on a native people’s reservation and I spent significant time in my childhood there. Few others have that experience” or “I have several years experience at another employer doing these projects and they changed their approach for the reasons I am highlighting and the changes really improved outcomes. No-one else in the team worked there.”)
You may need to help the person with their communication to ensure they get it right (even if they are the only right person about this particular issue doesn’t mean they are an all-competent super person). However, there are also times when the person simply does not have all of the facts or hasn’t thought through the strategy logically themselves. Also the person just might be someone who has a psychological need to be contrary or just loves office drama. All of these potentials have useful information about the team communications and/or the mentoring/coaching needed for the person in the future.
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Psychology professors know it…Marketers know it…Sales people know it…Politicians know it…Heck, we all know it…All humans are gullible! Including me… and including you!
Just think about it: around 30% of the world’s population identify as Christians. That means that Christians would agree that 70% of the world are gullibly wrong about a pretty fundamentally important issue. Muslims (25% of the world) would think the other 75% of the world’s people are gullibly wrong; Hindus 85%, and; atheists would think that almost 90% of all humans are gullible. So a Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu and an Atheist might walk into a bar and disagree about many fundamentally important things. But they would all agree that the vast majority of humans are gullible because they would all agree that the majority of humans have allowed themselves to be duped about at least one “really important thing”.
So if the majority of people can be hoodwinked into displeasing the universe’s most powerful being(s) (or spending a lot of their time trying to please a non-existent one — a nod to the atheists there), then what else can us humans be hoodwinked into believing? And if so many can be hoodwinked into believing false things, then what real-world consequences are there for this “mass gullibility”?
Throughout most of history, the majority of humans have believed some true whoppers despite little to no evidence. Most humans believed the earth was the centre of the universe; almost no-one thought the earth was a globe and, instead, believed it flat with edges; white Europeans believed they were a superior race; many thought that evil spirits caused sickness and could be drained from the body through blood letting; almost everyone believed in magic and that there existed practitioners of magic like witches and shamans. No evidence…doesn’t matter.
Unfortunately reality does not care a whit about what humans believe or disbelieve: The pollution will spread where the wind blows; the fresh water will simply flow to the next lowest point; the contagious virus will leap from host to host; the sun will shine all the spectra, both the harmful and the helpful; carcinogens will interact with the body’s cells and the natural resources will simply run out when there’s no more left. So acting based on an accurate understanding of reality is a fundamentally important thing to do in a great many situations. Climate change, natural resources, pollution, economics, politics, science, engineering and many other spheres of human life; these are hard enough when we have access to all the facts. But when we are acting with incorrect information (especially if we sincerely believe it’s true), our chances of achieving good outcomes are greatly diminished.
Worse still, what if nefarious individuals decide to deliberately abuse our penchant for gullibility by convincing us of untruths for their own benefit? Perhaps they could peddle false stories like “that evil country has weapons of mass destruction, we need to invade” or “smoking our cigarettes doesn’t cause lung cancer” or “putting extra money in the hands of the job-creators through tax cuts will grow the economy and benefit everyone who works” or “taking our patented drug will modify this number which means you are less likely to get a bad disease; that’s much easier than exercising and giving up fast food ”. There is big money to be made by taking advantage of our innate human gullibility!
In politics it is even worse; What people believe to be true, actually is more important than reality. If a politician can convince voters that something is true that makes those voters more likely to vote for the politician, then whether that something is actually true is unimportant. Once a politician realises how gullible humans (and therefore voters) are, they realise they can simply make things up; “there is a caravan of armed enemies about to invade our country and the other political party wants to welcome them in” or “there are not thousands dying from that pandemic, they are just dying of normal causes”. Then the gullible human voters will vote based on their mistaken beliefs, potentially achieving the opposite to what they intend their vote to achieve.
But each of us individuals does not have enough time or expertise to check every single thing out. We are forced to rely on trusted others to verify what we cannot. And this creates yet another opportunity for the nefarious. Corrupt the trusted… and you get lots of people believing what those trusted people are telling them. We used to trust journalists…they were so ethical they would go to jail rather than reveal their sources, and some would even risk being murdered (and some even were) to get the truth out.
But in 2016, Professor Benkler of Harvard Law, found that 60% of statements on Fox News are either entirely or mostly false and an earlier 2011 study by Fairleigh Dickinson University showed that Fox News viewers believed more falsehoods than any other surveyed group, including people who watch no news at all! This becomes more important when it’s noted that Fox News is currently the most watched Cable News channel in the US, and has been for years.
We all trusted scientists and doctors. But more and more of them are working directly or indirectly for self-interested profit maximising corporations. How do we know when they are telling us the unvarnished results of unbiased scientific research and when, instead, are they twisting the message or the research itself to benefit their benefactors? Dr Ben Goldacre outlined a myriad of ways that seemingly independent scientific studies and publications have been corrupted and Stanford Professor John Ioannidis concluded in 2017 that medical practitioners are still treating patients as if all research was uncorrupted. Our local doctor is gullibly trusting “The nefarious and the corrupted” on our behalf.
Should we just give into the forces of self-interested falsehood tellers? Are we all just gullible sheep awaiting our inevitable fleecing? Or are their things us individuals can do to stop ourselves being taken for a ride? And what should we as a society do to limit the costs of “mass gullibility”? I have some suggestion for both us as individuals and for society as a whole in subsequent articles to follow in this series of Mass Gullibility articles.