Last month we spoke to one of the founders, David Holley, about the origins of RiskPal and what they hope to achieve with the new service.
David, how and when did you come up with the idea for RiskPal?
DH: Working for more than 20 years in a sector that relies heavily on the production of risk assessments has shown me just how repetitive the process can be.
In 2018 my co-founder, Colin, actually came up with the concept of producing risk assessment templates pre-populated with risks and mitigation relevant to the task in hand. Foreseeing the trajectory of privacy legislation (namely GDPR) and having experienced the painful back-and-forth of constant edits to Word document risk assessments, we knew that RiskPal had to be a secure online SaaS solution that could be shared between team members and management.
So how does this differ to other risk assessment platforms in the marketplace?
DH: RiskPal doesn’t just assess destination-based threats but also the activity being undertaken. It gives users access to a library of relevant and easily searchable activities and corresponding mitigation advice at the click of a button, and the beauty of the system is that if it doesn’t exist it’s easy to add.
The current COVID-19 situation is a case in point: users have been able take our latest travel, health and safety advice, update it to fit their internal protocols and then quickly incorporate it into risk assessments. We haven’t seen another service as agile and customisable as RiskPal in this regard.
Your consultancy HP Risk Management specialises on the media. Does RiskPal also just focus on the media sector?
DH: Absolutely not. Some of the current library focuses on media related activities, but replacing the questions with ones related to construction, theatre design, school outings or major sports events – I think you get my drift – is easy. RiskPal makes risk assessments quicker, easier and always accessible, whatever the industry or sector.
What have been the main challenges with launching RiskPal?
DH: There have been many, but we keep on being told this is normal for SaaS development! Development timeframes have slipped and the balance between prioritising our product roadmap with client feature requirements have presented some challenges. The difficulties of embedding new technology solutions into an organisation are also well documented.
Risk assessments aren’t really glamorous or trendy, and as they involve multiple stakeholders it can be difficult to identify an advocate to lead the change, despite all those involved agreeing there is a problem to be fixed.
Many organisations also don’t recognise the compliance gaps in their risk assessment process; whether it is the sharing of unconsented personal data, missing off team members from being notified of a risk assessment or having a backlog of assessments that have not been properly signed-off, there are definite gaps that RiskPal addresses.
What is your favourite feature of RiskPal and what are your goals for the business?
DH: I really like the automated feedback feature. All too often organisations lose vital knowledge when an employee leaves. RiskPal helps to harness and share this knowledge by capturing staff feedback on their experiences and the suppliers used in-country. Over time, this contributes to valuable localised insights that can be viewed in the RiskPal country pages and list of suppliers, serving to benefit future teams.
David Holley, RiskPal Co-Founder
With more than 20 years’ risk management experience, David has a vast array of knowledge regarding all things risk-related – from operating in conflict zones to general workplace safety. David’s considerable international expertise has been instrumental in the creation of RiskPal’s extensive risk advice library.
David is a former Lt Colonel in the British army, who previously worked for the BBC High-Risk Team and as International Security Manager at National Public Radio (NPR).
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