Identifying potential risks should be a major part of your digital workplace plan. As you progress in your project, don't be surprised if new risks arise. Risks should be addressed as quickly as possible because they can have a significant impact on your plans down the road. Here are just some of the most common risks associated with a digital workplace initiative:
- The project has no executive sponsor.
- There is a change in executive leadership.
- The company had poor financial performance in the last quarter.
- Funding for the project is delayed or reallocated.
- Resourcing is not available within the organization or prioritized for the project.
- A key stakeholder leaves the company or is sick for a long period of time.
- There is no content strategy, plan, or resources.
- There is pressure to stop using your existing solution by a specific date (e.g. licensing or migration).
- Discovery of a security flaw in the technical architecture (e.g. corporate, regulatory compliance).
- Consolidation of multiple internal technical systems and/or applications.
- Change in scope (e.g. a third-party integration is required at the last minute).
Once you've identified risks, you'll need to evaluate the level of risk and the impact on your project, your employees, and your organization. Traditionally, risk mitigation uses three levels of evaluating risk:
For every organization, what defines high, medium, or low risk varies. Think about what high risk means for your project and digital transformation. For example, anything that brings your project to a complete halt may be a high-risk, while issues that can be addressed without causing roadblocks or delays to the timeline may be low-risk.
Prioritizing how you will address risks becomes easier once you've evaluated the level of risk. It's important to remember that not all high-risk items will be a top priority – the amount of time and resources needed to address the risk also need to be considered to properly (and realistically) prioritize risk. Some organizations prioritize risks by looking at the impact and effort related to that risk. For example, if addressing and resolving a risk results in higher impact but requires a lower amount of effort, that will likely be a top priority item.
Minimizing risks is an ongoing effort. While risk mitigation can be overwhelming, exposing the challenges of digital transformation and change management, it's a critical aspect of any digital workplace strategy. Self-awareness as an organization means there will be fewer surprises down the road. By completing risk mitigation steps 1 to 3 you'll be able to understand what your challenges are and how they impact your organization, employees, and digital workplace. This makes it easier to minimize these risks moving forward through proper planning. If you're aware of the risks, you can plan to minimize the impact on your project, your employees, and your organization.