Unprecedented volatility adds new urgency and complexity to old risks, reports Aon’s 2017 Global Risk Management Survey

Aon, a founding member of The Risk Institute, released their 2017 Global Risk Management Survey today. Conducted in the fourth quarter of 2016, the bi-annual survey gathered input from 1,843 respondents at public and private companies around the world. It finds that trends in economics, demographics and geopolitics, as well as technology advancements, are transforming traditional risks and adding new urgency and complexity to old challenges.

Top discussion points of the survey include:

  • damage to reputation/brand as a top concern
  • political risk/uncertainties entering the top 10 risk list
  • Cyber Crime ranking the number one risk to North American businesses
  • disruptive technologies/innovation predicted to rise in risk
  • risk preparedness at its lowest level since 2007

Damage to reputation/brand is consistently the top-ranked risk by businesses. Companies have become vulnerable due to the amplified negative impact social media has on cases of defective products, fraudulent business practices, and corruption.

Cyber Crime is now the top concern among businesses in North America, jumping from number nine to number five on the top risk list. Cyber breaches are increasing and incident response plans have become more complex, making Cyber Crime a costly business interruption.

Political risk/uncertainties have recently re-entered the top 10 risk list at number nine. The survey finds that developed nations that were traditionally associated with political stability are becoming new sources of volatility and uncertainty. Additionally, according to Aon’s latest 2017 Risk Maps, trade protectionism is on the rise while terrorism and political violence ratings are the highest they have been since 2013.

“We are living in a challenging new reality for companies of all sizes around the world. There are many emerging influences that are creating opportunity, but at the same time, creating risks that need to be managed,” said Rory Moloney, chief executive officer for Aon Global Risk Consulting. “As the risk landscape for commerce evolves, businesses can no longer rely solely on traditional risk mitigation or risk transfer tactics. They must take a cross-functional approach to risk management and explore different ways to cope with these new complexities.”

Disruptive technologies/innovation is a concerning risk emerging for the future. It is currently ranked number twenty but is expected to jump to the top ten within a few years. New technologies such as drones, driverless cars, and advanced robotics have caused an increased awareness of impacts for businesses.

The top 10 risks are:

  1. Damage to reputation/brand
  2. Economic slowdown/slow recovery
  3. Increasing competition
  4. Regulatory/legislative changes
  5. Cyber crime/hacking/viruses/malicious codes
  6. Failure to innovate/meet customer needs
  7. Failure to attract or retain top talent
  8. Business interruption
  9. Political risk/uncertainties
  10. Third party liability (including E&O)

The full report can be accessed at www.aon.com/2017GlobalRisk.

 

Intellectual Property: Defense is the Best Offense

Intellectual property is worth a good strategy for risk management.Identifying a company’s intellectual property can sometimes be a fuzzy exercise, but it’s clear that failing to do so and not having a risk management strategy to safeguard a business’ “secret sauce” can lead to dire consequences. That’s especially true for startups whose only real asset may be the big idea that got them going in the first place.

Still, intellectual property and risk management consultants say companies may not be doing as much as they can to protect their IP assets, which can include everything from product formulas to customer lists.

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

Philip Renaud, executive director of the Risk Institute at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business

“I wonder if inside the doors people are having enough robust conversations about what their intellectual property is and what needs to happen to manage the risk,” says Steve Snethkamp, a partner in the Columbus office of EY. His consulting practice covers a variety of industries with a focus on information technology.

The stakes are high, he says, pointing to incidents in which the technology behind a new product has been stolen and implemented by overseas competitors even before the IP owners can get that product to market. And it’s not easy to manage that risk, especially with all the data that can be shared—and exposed—through the ever-increasing use of mobile technology and interconnected devices.

“There is no silver bullet,” Snethkamp says, “but the first thing (for companies) is to create a cultural awareness that security is important and IP is the lifeblood of the organization. That needs to be the mantra of every person in the company from the janitor to the CEO.”

Then businesses need to clearly define their intellectual property, identify where it is located, make an inventory of it and put in place controls, processes and procedures to protect it appropriately.

“It’s hard stuff to do,” Snethkamp says.

But it’s also essential given the findings of a 2013 study by the independent Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property. It estimated that international thefts of intellectual property have an impact of more than $300 billion annually on the US economy, costing the country millions of jobs and dragging down economic growth and investments in research and development.

Risk managers historically were focused on hard assets—buildings, equipment and inventory—but that has shifted to intellectual property and intangible assets such as copyrights, patents, technical processes, trade secrets, customer lists and distribution networks, says Philip Renaud, executive director of the Risk Institute at Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. He has worked in the risk management field since the early 1980s, including stints with L Brands, Kmart, Exel and Deutsche Post.

“It’s much more difficult to value an intangible asset and protect it,” Renaud says. “I can’t put a sprinkler system and firewall around a copyright.”

In his opinion, IP risk management in many cases becomes a defense strategy in which companies must educate team members about the importance of protecting the brand. That is particularly the case of detailing the risks when employees are working online and sharing data.

Such preventative steps are especially important, Renaud says, because of the difficulty and expense of stopping an IP infringement after the fact.

“That’s the greatest challenge,” he says. “If the company that has infringed on you is exposed, the only way to get there is through legal proceedings. That costs a lot of money.”

There is also the thorny issue of taking legal action when an IP infringement occurs overseas. “How do you get enforcement in China?” Renaud asks.

His best advice for companies is to make sure they understand their intangible assets—how they are used, their value to the business and how they are being protected.

When looking to protect intellectual property, companies should consider registering their rights with patents, trademarks and copyright, says Susan Rector, an attorney at the Columbus office of Ice Miller LLP. She represents companies in all aspects of IP ownership and information technology transactions.

“Inherently, taking the steps to register the rights to your intellectual property gives you a leg up,” Rector says. “That’s important from a defensive standpoint. It can also be used offensively against people who come too close to your (IP) rights.”

She works with a lot of startup companies that are building their business model around a proprietary product that is far and away their most valuable asset.

“Often it’s two guys, a laptop and an idea,” Rector says. “A lot of them will get big valuations (from investors), but people will only back them if no one else has done it. … They need to think about an intellectual property strategy early. If they don’t, they can lose their ability to protect that product or device.”

Intellectual property presents some specific challenges for risk managers, says Nicholas Kaufman, head risk manager at Battelle in Columbus.

First, it can be difficult to place a value on IP assets because they can be hard to measure, especially compared to property risks or auto liability. Second, Kaufman says there really is no insurance market for intellectual property because mature insurers tend to organize around areas they understand and know the likelihood of payouts on policies. That’s not the case with IP because of the difficulties in placing a value on the assets and calculating the risks to them.

Despite those issues, companies still need to have a risk management program in place for their intellectual property assets because the stakes can be so high. Kaufman says Battelle’s program takes an enterprise-wide approach in managing the IP risks for its range of products, services and research it conducts.

“We look at it holistically,” he says. “It’s not just about defending our intellectual property but making it as easy as possible for our scientists to create IP.”

Kaufman says intellectual property best practices start with an understanding of your organization and how IP brings value. Then it becomes a matter of aligning resources to protect that value.

The sooner that companies think about protecting new intellectual property the better, says Ari Zytcer, a Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP attorney who has worked in the IP field for more than 10 years. But he also recognizes that can be easier said than done.

“In identifying intellectual property,” he says, “you’re starting in the dark. Is this going to be a commercially successful product or an intermediary that leads to something down the road that you would like to protect and stake a claim? You don’t know what aspects you’d like to protect (with a patent) … so we see broad coverage at the beginning. As development continues, you home in on what is commercially viable and blocking other companies from getting into that space.”

Zytcer also says there is no one-size-fits-all approach for IP risk management.

Small companies, for instance, have to consider whether it is best to spend limited resources on patent procurement versus funding research and development and breaking into a market. Large companies generally take a more holistic view with IP committees drawn from the business side—risk management, legal, finance and marketing for example—and R&D side of the enterprise. They track new inventions and make the call on the allocation of resources for patents, trademarks and other IP safeguards.

“Having a cohesive policy for the company is crucial,” Zytcer says. “It’s almost like a marriage. The right hand needs to know what the left hand is doing.”

Jeff Bell is a freelance writer.

Navigating Political Risk in Uncertain Times

social-media-politicsJoin us on November 15 at 10 a.m. to explore effective ways to manage political risk and gain insight on how to navigate the landscape and find potential for competitive advantage.

Whether your organization is a multinational player or just starting to explore expansion into the global market, political risk cannot be ignored or underestimated. Political risk is taking on new forms, both real and perceived, and may be at its highest level since the Cold War. Companies have to elevate their awareness of inherent challenges of everything from political violence to currency inconvertibility.

Executives will learn:

• To identify, measure, and manage political risk

• To examine the macro-level political risks that could affect your business interests

• About the relationship between the state and market in social and economic relations

The Institute will welcome Les Brorsen, Americas Vice Chair Public Policy at EY; Professor Richard Herrmann, Professor & Political Science Department Char at The Ohio State University; Roger Schwartz, Senior Vice President at Aon Risk Solutions; and Sarah Brooks, Associate Professor of Political Science at The Ohio State University.

If you’re interested in attending, contact Denita Strietelmeier at (614) 688-8289 or send an email to RiskInstitute@fisher.osu.edu. For more information about this and the upcoming sessions in our Risk Series, please visit our website.

3 things you need to know to succeed in risk

Panelists from the Women. Fast forward panel at this year's annual conference

Panelists from the Women. Fast forward panel at this year’s annual conference

Disruption and gender diversity are two of the biggest topics facing business leaders today. Both issues are critical to the future of every industry. And they’re closely connected.

The best way to navigate disruption is to harness the power of diverse thinking by enabling people with different experiences, ideas and knowledge to come together in an inclusive culture. Gender diversity is a critical part of the equation. Not only this, gender diverse leadership is proven to increase the skills businesses need to navigate the disruptive trends transforming their industry.

So what does this mean?

If a person, or company, wants to succeed in mitigating risk, they must embrace gender diversity at every level.

In short, everyone benefits from thinking like a woman.

  • “You need to get comfortable being uncomfortable” — Jessica Jung, Director, Oswald Companies

Achieving success isn’t something that just happens to a person. It requires a lot of hard work, tough choices, and generally being willing to put yourself out there— trying something new.

  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit

No matter if you’re the intern grabbing Starbucks for your department or a C-suite executive, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. When approaching any situation, don’t come to the meeting and just point out the risks — offer real solutions.

  • Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Every panelist punched this point home — communicate with everyone, from your spouse to your organization and boss. By being an open communicator, you project to others that you are confident, open to compromise, and available.

Each year, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business hosts an annual conference that brings together thought leaders, industry experts, and academics to engage in a dialogue about the latest trends in risk management. This year the conversation focused around governance, culture, and the vital role women play in the field.

One of the Institute’s founding member’s, EY, cosponsored a panel spring-boarding their Women. Fast forward initiative, which aims to accelerate the achievement of gender parity in business.

The Risk Institute will continue this conversation and others through this year’s Risk Series.

Building responsible and resilient supply chains

Supply chains have become global and highly complex. Building and maintaining a resilient supply chain is a key success factor for businesses operating in a fast-changing world.connected-globe-rgb-international

EY Climate Change and Sustainability Services (CCaSS) collaborated with the UN Global Compact on the study in an effort to better understand how companies are managing their supply chains in ways that support the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest sustainability initiative and EY has been a participant since 2009.

The report draws on business inputs across geographies, sectors and business models. CCaSS and Advisory Supply Chain and Operations professionals interviewed 70 clients globally to explore how they are embedding sustainability in their supply chains by managing risks and adopting new commitments around human rights, the environment and the well-being of communities in which they operate.

Overall, the study indicates that by improving environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance throughout the supply chain, companies can enhance processes, reduce costs, increase productivity, innovate, differentiate and improve societal outcomes.

Conclusions explored in the report include:

  • Companies are on a continuum from managing risks through creating shared value with stakeholders to achieving differentiation for their products or services;
  • Leaders are achieving competitive advantage in the supply chain through increased collaboration, technology innovation, greater efficiency and supplier diversity;
  • Mature supply chain models integrate buying and sourcing practices with product design and development to enhance sustainability results tied to their manufacturing and service delivery;
  • Currently, only a small percentage of companies have achieved leadership maturity levels that can lead to shared value with suppliers, enable suppliers to operate as an extension of the business and engage in meaningful, collaborative dialogue.

Based on interviews we identified several actions companies can take to further embed sustainability in their supply chains:

  • Assess materiality, to focus on the most pressing issues, taking UN Global Compact principles into consideration
  • Align resources, structures and processes to focus on supply chain sustainability across the organization
  • Train management and suppliers on market practices
  • Invest in diverse and inclusive supply chain partners
  • Stretch existing sustainability goals beyond direct operations, to include tiers of the supply chain
  • Deploy technology to increase accountability and transparency
  • Leverage buying power and influence to trigger shifts toward supply chain sustainability
  • Disclose supply chain information, beyond stand-alone sustainability reporting mechanisms

This post was written and published by EY, one The Risk Institute’s founding members, in August 2016. To view the original article or download detailed study findings, click here. 

From Risk to Resilience: Find (& Overcome) Your Company’s Weakest Link

resilient bud

Don’t fall through the cracks — grow through them.

In an interconnected, volatile, global economy, supply chains have become increasingly vulnerable. Disruptions — even minor shipment delays — can cause significant financial losses for companies and substantially impact shareholder value. Globalization has made anticipating disruptions and managing them when they do occur more challenging. The potential risks of disruptions are often hidden, and the potential impacts may not be understood, which often results in black swan events – events that can only be fully understood after the fact.

Over the last seven years, researchers at The Ohio State University have been exploring the concept of enterprise resilience, i.e. how companies can prosper in the face of turbulent change by being able to recognize, understand, and compensate for vulnerabilities.

The result is the SCRAM (supply chain resilience assessment and management) framework, which enables a business to identify and prioritize the supply chain vulnerabilities it faces, as well as the capabilities it should strengthen to offset those vulnerabilities.

Six Vulnerabilities You Need to Know About

Every business has its vulnerabilities, and most of the time those vulnerabilities are inherent to the business and difficult to avoid, but by recognizing them, you’ll be better equipped to deal with disruptions as they happen.

1. Turbulence

Definition: Environment characterized by frequent changes in external factors beyond the company’s control

Examples: Unpredictability in demand, fluctuations in currencies and prices, geopolitical disruptions, natural disasters, technology failures, pandemics

2. Deliberate threats

Definition: Intentional attacks aimed at disrupting operations or causing human or financial harm

Examples: Terrorism and sabotage, piracy and theft, labor disputes, special interest groups, industrial espionage, product liability

3. External pressures

Definition: Influences, not specifically targeting the company, that create business constraints or barriers

Examples: Competitive innovation, government regulations, price pressures, corporate responsibility, social/cultural issues, environmental, health and safety concerns

4. Resource limits

Definition: Constraints on output based upon availability of the factors of production

Examples: Raw material availability, utilities availability, human resources, natural resources

5. Sensitivity

Definition: Importance of carefully controlled conditions for product and process integrity

Examples: Restricted Materials, supply purity, stringency of manufacturing, fragility of handling, complexity of operations, reliability of equipment, safety hazards, visibility of disruption to stakeholders, symbolic profile of brand, customer requirements for quality

6. Connectivity

Definition: Degree of interdependence and reliance on outside entities

Examples: Scale and extent of supply network, import/export channels, reliance on specialty sources, reliance on information flow, degree of outsourcing

So in the face of all these disruptions, what’s the answer?

Answer: resilience.

Resilience is the capacity of an enterprise to survive, adapt and grow in the face of turbulent change.

Resilience means improving the adaptability of global supply chains, collaborating with stakeholders and leveraging information technology to assure continuity, even in the face of catastrophic disruptions.

Resilience goes beyond mitigating risk; it enables a business to gain competitive advantage by learning how to deal with disruptions more effectively than its competitors and possibly even using those disruptions to its advantage.

Resilient systems don’t fail in the face of disturbances; rather, they adapt.

 

Article adapted from “From Risk to Resilience: Learning to Deal with Disruption,” by Joseph Fiksel, Mikaella Polyviou, Keely L. Croxton, and Timothy J. Pettit.

The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business exists to bridge the gap between academia and corporate America. By combining the latest research with the real-world expertise of America’s most forward-thinking companies, the Risk Institute isn’t just reporting risk management’s current trends — it’s creating tomorrow’s best practices.

Brexit’s Anticipated Impact on U.S. Middle Market Businesses

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business

 


Despite the clear vote by British voters to exit the EU, the impact of the vote on both Britain and the European Union is anything but clear. Policymakers are now required to focus attention on some very uncertain and unsettling repercussions.

In what is very likely the earliest data anywhere about the impact of Brexit on U.S. companies, the National Center for the Middle Market at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, has just released the results of its survey studying the impact of Brexit on companies within the Middle Market segment. The results have indicated the following:

  • About half of middle market companies say Brexit would have little or no impact on their business.
  • The other half, however feel that they will be impacted. One in eight companies foresee an extremely significant impact.
  • Manufacturers will be impacted more than the market as a whole.
  • Approximately 28% of Middle Market companies say they will reduce investment in the U.K., while approximately 21% will reduce investment elsewhere in the E.U.
  • Much of that money will remain in the U.S., with approximately 26% say they will increase investment in the homeland. Likewise, Asia may also be a direct beneficiary of investment.
  • The study also revealed that an impact on sales and procurement may be seen. Companies have indicated that they will purchase less from Britain given the reduction in British Sterling.
  • An expectation also may exist that increased “red tape” may be an indirect result of Brexit. Questions remain about any changes to customs, tariff on imported goods, quota restrictions, etc., as well as overall changes in import/export trade regulation in the short and longer term.

The complete study can be found at https://go.osu.edu/BrexitMidMarket.

NCMM Brexit Survey 2016

We are appreciative of our partnership with the National Center for the Middle Market and for their foresight and timing in issuing this informative finding.


The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business brings together practitioners and researchers to engage in risk-centered conversations and to exchange ideas and strategies on integrated risk management.  Visit The Risk Institute website for more information about how you can join the conversation about enterprise risk management.

Zika – Can We Predict the Next Pandemic Outbreak? (Pt 1)

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business

 


The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health organizations have called for top level meetings to address the Zika virus and its worldwide impact. Researchers first discovered the virus nearly 70 years ago. Very few cases were reported until 2007 when an outbreak on Yap Island in Micronesia infected nearly 70% of the population ages three years and older. The WHO has warned that the virus could potentially spread to every country in the Americas.

Companies need to focus on how they can mitigate the risk of Zika within the workplace. Does your company have employees in infected regions?

http://www.paho.org/hq/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11554&Itemid=41715&lang=en

Image courtesy of Pan American Health Organization and WHO. Click for more info.

Do you have employees that travel to infected regions? Central to risk mitigation for any employer is to learn as much as possible about Zika and its potential impact to your organization.  Employers need to be flexible. Consideration should be given to delaying trips to infected areas, holding virtual meetings, etc.

An organization’s business continuity plans will need to be tested to respond to geographic specific exposure that could have wider impact upon the business and it customers.

On June 13th, The Risk Institute will host guest speakers, Julie E. Mangino MD, FSHEA (Division of Infectious Diseases, The Ohio State University, and Department of Epidemiology, OSUWMC), Professor Steve Rissing (Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University), Nancy Green CPCU, ARM (Executive VP, Aon Risk Solutions) and Thomas E. Hopkins (Sr. VP Human Resources (retired), The Sherwin–Williams Company) will collaborate to provide insight into:

  • How evolutionary biology provides a road map into eruptions of Zika and other similar viruses.
  • The facts about the spread of the Zika virus and how to mitigate the fear factor.
  • The facts about prevention, treatment and links to specific birth defects.
  • How to prepare your business for Zika and other pandemic viruses, including business travel concerns.

This first session of our 2016-2017 Executive Education Risk Series will emphasize how to proactively use risk management to balance the risks related to Zika and wider pandemic planning in order to meet business goals and enhance business performance.

The session will provide thought provoking ideas and advance The Risk Institute’s unique role in uniting industry thought leaders, academics and highly respected practitioners in an ongoing dialog to advance the understanding and evolution of risk management. The Risk Institute’s conversation about risk management is open and collaborative with its relevance across all industries and its potential for competitiveness and growth.

 


On June 13, 2016, The Risk Institute at The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business will present the first session of its 2016-2017 Executive Education Risk Series, Zika – Can We Predict the Next Pandemic Outbreak? For more information, or to register, please visit http://go.osu.edu/Zika-u-osu.

 

Business Continuity Management: A Business Case Simulation

Risk Institute Portraits Fisher Hall - Third Floor Feb-02-2016 Photo by Jay LaPrete ©2016 Jay LaPrete

By  Philip S. Renaud II, MS, CPCU
Executive Director, The Risk Institute
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business

 


Each and every day, businesses face the challenge of managing in the face of disruption. That disruption may be a result of a supply chain failure, natural catastrophe, cyber event, the list of disruptions goes on and on. With the volatility that businesses face, the need to structure proper business continuity / critical incident management plans has never been more important.

According to a recent study authored by Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty, 58% of participants reported that Business Interruption (including supply chain disruption) was a key risk to their businesses.  The Aon Global Risk Management Survey 2015 also lists business interruption as one of the top ten risks facing companies.

To quote Tony Hayward following the gulf oil blast that killed 11 workers and caused one of the worst environmental disasters in US history:

BP’s contingency plans were inadequate. We were making it up day to day. What was going on was some extraordinary engineering. But when it was played out in the full glare of the media as it was, of course it looked like fumbling and incompetence.”

With this in mind, The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, held a business case simulation exercise for students on April 15th. The event was cosponsored by The Risk Management Association (a student-led organization) and The Risk Institute. Participating students were divided into teams and presented with a fact-based scenario.  Students were then asked to prepare action strategy against the following “4 R” components:

  • Response (Protect Life and Property, Manage the Incident)
  • Resumption (Resumption of Time Sensitive Operations)
  • Recovery (Recovery of Other Operations)
  • Restoration (Repair/Restore Facilities and Content)

Students worked diligently during the day exercise to think through options, respond to life and safety concerns, communication challenges, manage customer expectations, etc.

Judges for the event were:

  • Keely L. Croxton, Associate Professor of Logistics, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University
  • A. Michael Knemeyer, Assistant Professor of Logistics, Fisher College of Business, The Ohio State University, and;
  • Daniel Oglevee, Senior Lecturer in Finance, Academic Director of The Fisher Executive MBA Program, The Ohio State University.

Business Coach for the event was Gregory Clark, a graduate of The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.  Greg is now Global Lead, Business Continuity DHL Supply Chain. Greg provided very meaningful coaching for the students as they worked through the simulation exercise.

Students were pleased to be able to participate in an exercise that provided the opportunity to exercise material presented in the classroom with a real world, hands-on scenario. The Risk Institute is pleased to have an opportunity to prepare our students for events that they will experience once in business. As has been said on numerous occasions, anyone can manage an organization when things are going well – it is when things become difficult that true leaders emerge.

The session proved thought-provoking for the students and demonstrated The Risk Institute’s unique role in uniting students, industry thought leaders, academics and highly respected practitioners in an ongoing dialog to advance the understanding and evolution of risk management. The Risk Institute’s conversation about risk management is open and collaborative with its relevance across all industries and its potential for competitiveness and growth.

 


For more information about upcoming events, our students, partners or research, visit our website: fisher.osu.edu/centers/risk.

Can New Technologies Undermine Your Company’s Brand? The Employee and Customer Experience

minton bernadette 130x195By Professor Bernadette A. Minton
Academic Director and Interim Executive Director, The Risk Institute
Arthur E. Shepard Endowed Professor in Insurance
Professor of Finance
The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business


It’s almost 2016 (or it is already, depending on when you’re reading this). Everything is digital, and so you took the plunge and developed a mobile app for your customers. The launch of your new mobile app was supposed to streamline and enhance the customer experience, but since it was released it seems as if your customers and your employees rue the day the app appeared. Is it possible that this app has actually been detrimental to your business? Have you found yourself thinking, why haven’t my customers and my employees embraced this new technology?

From Apple to Zillow, digital disruption – the impact of new technologies on the existing consumer brand experience – challenges consumer business. The first thought that comes to mind is that digital disruptions continue to raise consumer expectations about the brand and their online and in-store experiences.

Yet, there is another side. One that is not often considered, but equally important: the digital expectations of the company’s employees. The employees who are charged with innovating the brand and enhancing customers’ brand experiences are also savvy digital users themselves with their own increasingly elevated digital expectations. Senior executives need to consider how digital disruptions also are influencing and modifying their employees’ behaviors and expectations.

At our upcoming Risk Series, Digital Disruption: Brand, Strategy and Technology, taking place on January 21, 2016, our session leaders Deborah Mitchell, Clinical Professor of Marketing, with The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, and Keith Strier, Principal, with EY Advisory Strategy and Practice and Founder of IDEAS (Innovation, Digital Enterprise & Agile Strategy) collaborate to discuss applications of current research on consumer behavior to digital engagement with customers and employees to understand your organization’s digital vulnerabilities and opportunities.

I invite you to join us and other executives in this interactive session as we engage in conversations about the leading strategies to understand customers’ and employees’ digital experiences as well as discuss the current challenges firms face in today’s digital environment. You will gain insights into how you can develop an enterprisewide digital strategy aligned with your firm’s corporate strategy and brand vision. You will also be in the position of leveraging, and not just mitigating, digital disruptions with your employees and with your customers.


The Risk Institute Executive Education Series will continue on January 21, 2016 with Digital Disruption: Brand, Strategy and Technology, a half-day course for executives. For more information, or to sign up for the session, visit FISHER.OSU.EDU/RISK