Risk moves fast. One risk event can zip through the entire organization before you know it — if you are stuck in a silo.

When every department is heads-down on its own risks, the cumulative impact of a risk event can blindside an organization with devastating results. Vendors and other third-party suppliers only magnify the trouble with siloed information. Not only do you need to control the risks of your direct vendors, but each vendor will have its own set of vendors that have their own set of vendors, and so on. Any misstep from a second- or third-tier vendor can erupt up the chain, wreaking havoc at every turn. If this information is held in a silo, the next victim – department – will never be able to see what’s coming. And if you can’t see what’s coming, you certainly can’t adequately prepare.

How much faster could you respond if you could see what was coming? How much better could the organization prioritize the response if the full magnitude of a risk could be accurately assessed?

You can do all that and more if you break down those silos between departments. Here are three steps to help you get started.

  1. If you see something, say something.

There are formal ways of getting internal departments to communicate more frequently about risk, such as establishing risk committees that include a variety of functions. Even better, is when strategic discussions come about naturally during regular operational meetings. Say procurement, finance, and legal meet to discuss a vendor contract renewal. Each department can raise issues concerning the risks affecting it most. For instance, finance might bring up concerns about liability, procurement might ask about product quality and supply issues, and legal might raise concerns about the contract itself. Open discussions and a coordinated vetting process keep everyone in the loop so if something goes wrong, everyone is already up to speed on the situation and can act quickly to protect the organization.

  1. Foster a collaborative risk culture.

Managing risk needs to be everyone’s job, not just those “officially” in risk management. When risk is a part of the culture, important issues are identified as a matter of course. Simply put, if risk is included in every conversation, you are much more likely to have a good grasp of all the risks you’re facing and the potential impact.

  1. Embrace technology.

Technology is what allows those silos to be truly torn down. The right technology takes all of the puzzle pieces of siloed risk knowledge and assembles them together into one, cohesive view of risk across the enterprise. Having risk information in one place gives every stakeholder access to the same high-quality data – and collaboration around that data is seamless. Information also is collected one time, instead of each department wasting time chasing down the same data. That alone can put hours back in your day to focus on higher-value tasks.

With risk information out of silos, you can make better, faster decisions about risk at a strategic level.

Are you ready to break down your risk management silos? Find out more here.