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Info Sharing Session: The Role of the Future Risk Manager

27 July, 2017
8:00 am - 10:00 am


27 July, 2017 @ 8:00 am - 10:00 am

BarnOwl Info Sharing session: 27 July 2017

The Role of the Future Risk Manager

Presented by Christopher Palm, Chief Risk Advisor, Institute of Risk Management SA (IRMSA)

Thank you very much to Christopher Palm for his enlightening presentation at our BarnOwl info sharing event held at the BarnOwl customer centre in Bryanston on the 27th July 2017. The event was well attended and very well-received. Thank you Christopher.

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The content of Christopher’s presentation was much more than just theory; Christopher’s delivery of the presentation included practical insights and advice based on many years of real-life risk management experience. Christopher spent 27 years at Eskom working his way up from Group Audit Manager and Head of Forensics to Head of Enterprise Risk where he established the integrated risk management capability in 2008 and thereafter to a senior executive level. Imagine being the CRO during all the trials and tribulations of the power failures in the late 2000s! Christopher’s most valuable experience throughout his time at Eskom was the gaining of and understanding of world class risk and resilience knowledge, experience and exposure and how it is challenged in practice.

One of the key points which I took out of Christopher’s presentation is that the management of risk is about better and faster decision making for ‘planned reward’ rather than just a reactive approach to mitigate something bad. This talks to the nuances of King IV which requires the governing bodies of organisations to ensure that “active opportunity identification” is conducted. These are stand-alone opportunities that are not necessarily aligned with any downside risk. For more information on opportunity risk see: https://barnowl.co.za/insights/risk-and-opportunity-a-new-paradigm-or-old-news/ written by Gert Christiaan Cruywagen..

Christopher spoke about the management of risk not just being about issuing a report but rather engaging with your organisation in a meaningful way, not sugar coating things, having the uncomfortable discussions and becoming ‘mind changers’. Christopher spoke about risk management becoming predictive and forward looking. For example, what is the point of reporting on the state of your quarter 1 risks at the end of quarter 2? We need to be risk intelligent, forward looking, alerting our organisation as to where existing risks are heading and any new / emerging risks. This is easier said than done, however measuring key risk indicators, looking at trends, performing scenario planning and simulation/s etc. will all enhance your predictive capability. As a risk officer, there is nothing wrong with your predictions being wrong as long as they are based on the facts available at that time.

Another very real problem that we as risk practitioners often face is that we may sit back and wait for the risk culture and tone from the top to be ideal; which we know may be a very slow process. Let’s ask ourselves as risk practitioners what we can do to influence risk culture and get things moving by applying a bottom-up approach as well (see slide 7 which is upside down… this is not by error!). Let’s have our feet on the ground, get to know our organisation well and identify and network with subject matter experts within our organisation. Let’s create opportunities to be invited to the table where important decisions are made by people and committees. Let’s also identify the people and committees to invite to our table. Let’s not sit outside the board room waiting to be called in to present our risk report and then be told “sorry but we’ve run out of time for you to present now; we take your risk report as ‘read’”. We need to be able to speak freely and ensure that our board allocate key risks to senior sponsors who take accountability and drive results.

Once again thank you Christopher for your time and for sharing with us your extensive and practical experience.

You can download Christopher’s presentation here and view a video recording here.

Written by: Jonathan Crisp

Director – BarnOwl GRC and Audit software

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About Christopher Palm:

Christopher Palm is the Chief Risk Advisor at the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA). His passion is to collaborate with risk professionals and other key role players both locally and globally to transform risk management into a key component of excellent decision-making.

Christopher believes that a solid enterprise risk management capability within an entity, supported by a risk-mature Leadership, Executive Committee and Board, will lead to decisions that will effectively respond to both risks and opportunities facing the business world today and well into the future.

Christopher spent 27 years with Eskom Holdings, of which the last 18 were at senior executive level – from Group Audit Manager and Head of Forensics to Head of Enterprise Risk where he established the integrated risk management capability in 2008. His most valuable experience throughout his time at Eskom was the gaining and understanding of world class risk and resilience knowledge, experience and exposure and how it is challenged in practice.

Christopher’s educational background includes a B Com – majoring in Accounting, Commercial Law and Economics and an Honours Degree in Business Economics and Management Accounting. He complimented the above by completing the Executive Development Programme at Wits Business School.

Although he only joined IRMSA recently as an employee, Christopher previously served on IRMSA’s Executive Committee as a volunteer focusing on financial and strategic aspects for the Institute. As the founding Chairman of the IRMSA Risk Intelligence Committee, one highlight was the pioneering of the original IRMSA Risk Intelligence Report for South Africa, published in 2015.

This past year, Christopher received the prestigious “IRMSA Risk Manager of the Year 2016” award – he emphasises that he has Eskom and a number of colleagues to thank for their part in this achievement!


About BarnOwl:

BarnOwl is a fully integrated governance, risk management, compliance and audit software solution used by over 200 organisations in Africa, Australasia, Europe and the UK. BarnOwl is a locally developed software solution and is the preferred risk management solution for the South African public sector supporting the National Treasury risk framework.


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GRCReady is the official provider of risk management content for the BarnOwl GRC software solution. GRCReady provides extensive risk libraries and risk maturity checklists/surveys which are integrated with BarnOwl.

GRCReady, based in Australia, offers a comprehensive and holistic library of products and associated services including templates, policies, procedures, guidelines, checklists etc.t to help owners and directors of SMEs, startups and corporates to satisfy their corporate governance, risk management and regulatory compliance needs.

By integrating GRCReady's rich content libraries into BarnOwl's GRC software, we are able to offer our clients a state of the art, turnkey GRC solution.

GRCReady provides, arguably, the most comprehensive risk and governance maturity assessment framework with detailed steps and artefacts. BarnOwl's survey and action plan portal provides a simple and effective way to monitor and report on your current state of risk maturity and suggest and drive remedial action plans to take you to your desired state of risk and governance and maturity.

By integrating GRCReady's risk libraries with the BarnOwl GRC software, means that you don't have to start from scratch. In addition, ongoing updates and insights keep you informed and up-to-date on best practices.



Season Rhyrhm is BarnOwl's preferred partner in Botswana assisting with BarnOwl implementations, support services and client relationship management.

Season Rhythm is an established and distinguished player in the ICT sector in Botswana, specialising in a range of cutting-edge solutions. Season Rhythm leverages BarnOwl to provide tailored GRC&A services to businesses in Botswana facilitating:

  • Governance: Enabling organisations to establish and uphold effective governance structures, ensuring transparency and accountability in decision making processes.
  • Risk Management: Equipping businesses with tools to identify, assess and mitigate risks, safeguarding against potential threats and ensuring continuity in a business environment.
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  • www.sr.co.bw/ict


BarnOwl works closely with NSA in the field of GRC and assurance.

NSA is an education and risk & assurance advisory services provider, consisting of a team of professional consultants and facilitators who have been hand-picked on experience and expertise. NSA services include:

  • Strategic intervention: 30 expert consultants facilitating strategic planning, combined assurance, effective governance and risk management assignments.
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  • Online skills development: skills in demand for 2030, including cybersecurity, Protection of Personal Information, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and programming.

BarnOwl and NSA work closely with our clients to align and enable best practice GRC and assurance framework & methodologies within BarnOwl. NSA regularly presents online information sharing sessions together with BarOwl.



Nico Technologies is BarnOwl's preferred partner in Malawi assisting with BarnOwl implementations, support services and client relationship management.

Nico Technologies Limited is an established IT products and services provider in Malawi, specialising in managed IT services, IT infrastructure services, IT project management, digital solutions, digital transformation and IT advisory.

Nico Technologies uses BarnOwl extensively within their own organisation to automate and manage their own risk and compliance functions.



Morgan Solus is BarnOwl's preferred business continuity specialist consulting firm with its 'BCM toolkit' software. BarnOwl GRC together with the BCM toolkit, provides a comprehensive risk management and BCM software solution.

Morgan Solus is a specialist consultancy firm focusing on risk, resilience and continuity. Morgan Solus's core services are centred on resilience, crisis management, business continuity (BCM), IT services continuity and disaster recovery (DRP) and training.

The BCM toolkit ensures a consistent approach to implementing BCM and IT disaster recover and cuts down implementation timelines by 60% whilst driving up successful outcomes.

BarnOwl's extensive GRC and assurance functionally coupled with Morgan Solus's BCM toolkit provide the ultimate risk management and BCM software solution.



Arbutus Analytics is Barnowl's preferred data analytics software. BarnOwl GRC integrated with Arbutus Analytics, provides the ultimate in continuous risk monitoring.

Arbutus Analyzer is a powerful data access and analysis solution specifically developed for auditors, business analysts, and fraud investigators. Its robust performance and user-friendly features offer you the ability to access and analyse data quickly and simply.

BarnOwl GRC, integrated with the real-time metrics from Arbutus provides a strategic early warning system driving preventative and predictive capability facilitating effective business decision making business improvement.

www.arbutussoftware.com with local sub-sahara African distributor www.betasoftware.co.za


Barnowl works closely with Pax Resilience in the field of GRC and sustainability.

Pax Resilience offers solutions in risk, resilience and cyber security. Pax Resilience strive to create peace of mind by assisting you to build the resilience in your organisation so essential to survive and thrive in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world we live in.

Pax Resilience regularly presents online information sharing sessions together with Barnowl.



Paige Law is the official provider of compliance content for the Barnowl GRC software solution. Paige Law provides an extensive Library of South African acts including provisions [CRMPs] and checklists which are integrated with Barnowl.

Paige Law specialises in compliance, Commercial Law, Legal process consultancy, managed legal services and POPIA/ GDPR.


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