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Risk Management: The CEO’s New Imperative
Covid-19 Response

Risk Management Strategies: The CEO’s New Imperative

Incident management and disaster recovery have always been a part of corporate strategy, but now it's front and center. A risk management expert shares advice on keeping employees, customers, partners, and communities safe and informed.

“Incident management and disaster recovery have always been on the corporate agenda, however, many companies have delegated these responsibilities deep in the organization. Now with the COVID-19 crisis, these issues have moved front and center,” shares Bob Sibik, co-founder of Fusion Risk Management, as he chats with me over webcam from his living room in Chicago, “Suddenly every CEO and executive leader is learning a lot they didn’t know about risk management to prepare for the board meeting, to talk to employees, and to reassure customers.”

I virtually met up with Bob to discuss returning to the workplace safely. That’s because Fusion Risk Management is extending, and an AppExchange partner that has been working quickly to help businesses reopen. Bob shared 35 minutes’ worth of advice on keeping employees, customers, partners, and communities safe and informed during COVID-19 and beyond. Here are the highlights.

Bob Sibik, Co-Founder, Fusion Risk Management

Bob Sibik, Co-Founder, Fusion Risk Management

Tell us about risk management. Why is it important, and why now more than ever before?

Bob Sibik: Any company can and will manage risks when they become urgent. The real question is how much will managing that surging risk derail your ability to do anything else? How much will your business fall off the rails as you turn your focus and attention to a crisis? The most resilient companies plan ahead and take a proactive approach to risk management so they can keep teams productive and business on track when things get tough.

It’s all about resilience and business continuity and how you can function effectively in crisis. And it has become significantly more important now that we’ve experienced the global disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A few months ago, CEOs and executive leaders were focused on growth and operating efficiencies. Now, the C-suite is also focused on risk and resilience. It has become the third pillar of business success. We want to get people back to the workplace safely, learn from this pandemic, and be better prepared in the future. The C-suite is looking to risk management experts for help, to make sure they don’t get caught unprepared again.

How can companies make this shift? How can they make risk management a core capability?

Sibik: There are a number of strategies to achieve this kind of change. First, we counsel CEOs that risk management and operational resilience must be part of the core values of an organization. But it has to be balanced. It must not impact your ability to grow the business, and you should not overspend on operational resilience to the extent that it has a negative impact on the bottom line. Putting the value of operational resilience in proper perspective will better position you to accept risk. Accepting risk includes dealing with it, managing events like COVID-19, and ensuring that you can deliver for your customers.

Second, bring together the various silos within your organization, and discuss learnings from this pandemic. This exercise will help you function more collectively, and act more collaboratively. Collect these lessons to understand what worked well, and what didn’t work well. This understanding will inform your plan to reopen, get you back into business, but perhaps most importantly, get you ready for what is next.

Isn’t it true that operational resilience looks different for each organization? How do you plan for that?

Sibik: No matter the company, the ability to bring together data with technology presents you with a single perspective, enables your inherent resilience. By studying your resilience, you’ll understand where your organization might break, how it might break, and what else might break as a result. Create that single pane of glass to understand where to invest.

For instance, you might determine that you need more capacity or redundancy for availability of critical systems. Determine your deficiencies, weaknesses, or single points of failure in your supply chains, in order to put preventative measures into practice. This way, things won’t break, or won’t break as easily.

Another example is remote work. It’s not uncommon that companies have had to relocate their entire workforce to work from home, but in doing so, it’s crucial to understand how working from home might disrupt processes. Rapidly working with the most critical employees gets the most important things up and running first. The relationship and the dependency mapping between these critical aspects helps focus on the most important business processes.

How should customers prepare for what is next?

Sibik: We have to consider the immediate future, such as a second wave of COVID-19, but also what the new normal looks like. Consider the new world order, a new business as usual, the post-COVID-19 era. What does that mean for organizations as we try to operate in that environment? That might include a different way of understanding and interacting with customers and employees, while ensuring productivity.

To prepare, bring all of your customer data together to get a clear perspective, act collaboratively, and focus on the ongoing management and maintenance of those proactive and reactive measures. This ensures that you can respond quickly and effectively now and in the future.

One of our customers is tracking every issue that occurs going forward, and then rapidly reporting on it, assigning resources to work on that issue, and tracking the progress of the remediation. They have learned a lot of lessons, and through Fusion’s dashboards developed leveraging Salesforces’ technology, the executive team can see these issues, the status, and make informed decisions fast.

It’s about shifting your mindset. It’s about survival now; this is not a subtle ROI. If you don’t plan for these contingencies, you can be wiped out. We’ve seen this with a hurricane or when a tornado hits a power plant. But now, everybody gets it because everyone is facing the same crisis. You can’t plan for everything, but you can prepare for everything.

Technology must play a huge role in this.

Sibik: I find it hard to even contemplate how someone could do effective risk management without technology. Data is crucial, and technology manages and houses data. Without current and actionable data — which is going to depend heavily on technology — you can’t run an effective risk management program.

Technology automates the management and maintenance of your data, which enables companies to see and understand, in real time, threats and risks. This will prepare you for breaks inside your organization. Paper and pencil can’t do this anymore. It’s got to be done with technology.

Our 300+ customers know technology plays a huge role in risk management. They have all embraced our system on the Salesforce platform. Many had Salesforce, but hadn’t contemplated using it for business continuity and risk management. Now they are with the Fusion’s Risk Management System.

How can you set yourself up for success with technology?

Sibik: Technology works when you have a good database, a good data model, and good workflow automation. The administration of keeping data current is not something that can be done with annual updates. Your operational resilience information needs to be updated constantly, so that when things change, you’re prepared for the impact, and can swiftly take action. And Fusion is that natural extension of your CRM, helping you understand how crises and other events are impacting your ability to deliver services and products to your customers, directing your organization where you need to act immediately, and what can wait.

Our customers have become some of our best and most innovative product designers. With all of the different ways they’ve utilized Fusion Risk Management, they have enlightened us about what can be done with the data model, and have helped us understand that we could do more with the platform. This is an opportunity to digitally transform your organization.

How does Fusion Risk Management and help with that?

Sibik: There’s tremendous synergy between, Salesforce, and Fusion. We’ve built a business continuity, crisis management, and risk management system on the Salesforce platform. This securely integrates both the Fusion framework system with, enabling customers to return to work effectively and safely.

Relevant data might include your critical locations and vendors, and the status. You can tie your processes to the locations that you’re opening, including the employees in those locations. These types of actions can take place in Lightning app builder. You can drag and drop Fusion Lightning components onto the Command Center, to see relevant data that’s important for making decisions as you go through the process of reopening your business.

Critical information about your sites, critical services and products you provide your customers, the underpinning processes, people, systems, and third parties are displayed from the Command Center. We take that information and extend it to help customers make effective decisions by prioritizing what matters. You’ll be making informed decisions not because it’s next on the list, but because it’s the next most important thing on the list.

Thank you, Bob and Fusion Risk Management for your time and insights. It’s inspiring to hear that getting back to work requires working together, as people and as a community, and with technology, we can make it happen. Learn more about Fusion Risk Management and other solutions that extend at AppExchange COVID-19 Resources.

This post was originally published on the AppExchange and the Salesforce Ecosystem blog.

Amanda Nelson drives the community and communications strategy for the AppExchange. She is a conference speaker, published author, and a social media professor. Nelson has worked in content marketing, social media, and community marketing for B2B tech startups and Salesforce since 2013. In addition to marketing, Amanda is passionate about writing, running, and border collies.

More by Amanda

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