The Risk Conversation

and the

Information Molecule™ for SAP

Managing risk is critical to business success. It’s one of the reasons companies choose SAP to drive business practices, collect data, and measure performance. We strive to standardize and optimize our business processes and encourage our employees to achieve their goals, objectives, and measure their progress through KPIs.

Yet, ‘for want of a nail the battle was lost.’ Despite our best efforts to collect the data we need, to watch closely the things that matter, too often it’s the missing nail – the small, neglected defect – that causes disruptions, failures and lost opportunities. After the fact we usually learn that someone knew the nail was missing. It probably was even in some report and if it wasn’t, it will be. Our conclusion always tends to be same: We need to communicate better. So we are awash in information and with each new problem and each failure brings more ‘communications.’ We mistake more reports for substantive conversation.

Perhaps we need to ‘communicate’ less and talk more.

Figure 1
Figure 1

What if, from risk perspective, we could see the whole picture from the ‘nail’ to the ‘battle?’ The Information Molecule (patent pending) makes this possible. Molecules represent the people, places, organization, tools and products in SAP – all in the same way (Figure 1). Virtual reality (either on our computer screens or on more advanced platforms) lets us move through this SAP universe of information and travel from the molecules that are minimally important and low risk (green) to the molecules that are very important and at risk (red.) The SAP molecule can be viewed and navigated using tablets, smart phone VR applications and interfaced to technologies such as RFID, making it available where it is needed the most – on the job.

The Information Molecule™ for SAP makes it easy for people assign their perception of risk to anything in SAP from a piece of equipment on a shop floor to product being shipped to a customer.

Figure 2
Figure 2

For example, Figure 2 is a molecule representing an asset in SAP that is a piece of equipment on the shop floor; it shows the data in SAP about this piece of equipment and the risks levels known about this piece of equipment as viewed from the perspective of reliability personnel. (This same information could also be viewed from the perspective of the equipment operators.) We travelled to this molecule because it was readily apparent that it is something not only important but at risk.

Now notice that the ball in the center of the molecule representing that piece of equipment is actually not red. The piece of equipment is not perceived to be at risk. So how did we get here and why? It turns out that molecule we travelled to is actually a safety inspection on this machine and the person making this inspection thinks the safety issue is important and there is risk. (It could have could be the data from a vibration analysis showing that this equipment is starting to fail.) It is the ‘nail’ – the knowledge someone has of risk. Maybe it is worth a conversation.