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Advanced skills, talent help manage new tech risks


85% of Canadian organizations are investing in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). Few of them, however, are managing the risks associated with technology, such as cybersecurity threats and lack of talent. These are just a few of the top findings from PwC Canada’s new report Risk in Review 2018 which examines how organizations can manage innovation-related risks around organizational culture, technology and talent.

Among those organizations planning to implement new technologies to improve products or customer experience over the next three years, 83% predict that cybersecurity or privacy threats will increase as a result. According to respondents, 47% said that they are adding new skills, 40% are rethinking risk appetites and thresholds, and 32% are using new technology for real-time information when asked how they are adapting their risk management capabilities to more effectively handle their organization’s innovation strategy.

“The focus on and investment in new technologies among Canadian organizations is at a high but so too is the risk of cybersecurity and privacy attacks. Risk executives must effectively manage and develop talent and technology, and at the same time, not let risk hinder the success of innovation,” says Jennifer Johnson, National Leader of Risk Assurance Services, PwC Canada. “It will be key for Executives to manage and develop their talent and technology in the digital world with a new level of risk awareness, while not letting risk management become a hindrance to the success of innovation.”

Digital and data proficiency have to increase across the organization at all levels

Managing talent is the most important step in managing risk. The report suggests that the challenge of attracting and retaining talent is more difficult than ever. Close to half (46%) of Canadian organizations perceive a lack of properly skilled teams as a barrier to the benefits of digital innovation. Further, 72% of Canadian CEOs are concerned about the availability of digital skills in their industries and 67% believe t those same skills are lacking  amongst their senior leadership teams.

“The solution is not to just hire more specialists. Rather, digital and data proficiency have to increase across the organization at all levels. Leaders must work with their teams to help them develop the necessary skills and proficiencies to effectively manage and minimize risk in the digital world,” adds Johnson.

Emerging technology deployments affect entire organizations. Beyond cyber and privacy risks, survey respondents cite regulation, compliance, human capital and operational risks arising from the innovations as most critical to their organizations’ strategies.