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Visual Risk Assessment leads to informed decisions
Nicky ClarkeMay 19 20224 min read

Better risk visualization leads to more informed decisions

Organizations are fast recognizing the benefits of digital, particularly visual  Enterprise Risk Management tools and apps to better tell their complex business stories.

The ability to automate reporting risk and update an organization's risk portfolio so the data and results are real time and accurate, saves time and money, helping to improve efficiency and reduce human error.  

Challenges of risk reporting

From our experience, we have seen many organizations struggle with teams individually reporting risks identified across the business, with findings merged into one final spreadsheet.

With such a large amount of data, spreadsheets can’t manage this consolidation easily, making the reading and analysis of the data time consuming, linear and difficult to understand. Without fixed taxonomy there is the added confusion of everyone working on their own classification of content, making the amalgamation of data difficult. 


Learn how SharpCloud can bring risk data to life, facilitating effective risk  management through visual communication


Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) methodology

Traditionally, the BowTie method is used as a way of visualizing enterprise risk management and communicating the context of the controls put in place to manage risks.

What is a BowTie?

A BowTie is a diagram that visualizes the risk you are dealing with in just one, easy to-understand picture, which makes it a great communication tool. The diagram is shaped like a bow-tie, creating a clear differentiation between proactive and reactive risk management.

BowTie diagrams are a simple and effective tool for communicating risk assessment results and clearly display the links between the potential causes, preventative and mitigative controls and consequences of a major incident.

Whilst designed to give a better overview of the situation in which certain risks are present and to help people understand the relationship between the risks and organizational events, it's still a simple and static visual explanation. 


Definitive Guide:
Enterprise Risk Management: Issues and Opportunities in Communication

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Visualizing risk

The ability to visualize an organizations risks, causes, and controls, and bring that data to life, will help to identify global risks across the business portfolio. Gaining meaningful insight into complex data and translating it into digestible information, enables a more relevant discussion and more informed decision making.  

SharpCloud risk BowTie story - interactive and visual

Using SharpCloud's risk BowTie template, you can create an interactive and visual story for each risk and gain a new perspective as spreadsheet rows and columns seamlessly transform into a familiar bow-tie format and other flexible data-rich views.




  • Visualize the individual causes and the controls in place for each risk, and how they interconnect with one another

  • Explore the relationships and get a better understanding of the impact of a risk

  • Create BowTie stories for each individual risk

Two more valuable stories can then be created based on this data;

  • A portfolio level story for strategic presentation to the board - an amalgamation of the individual risks into one view. A dynamic dashboard creating the bigger picture, better transparency, and visibility for stakeholders.



  • A control library story to review the effectiveness of the risk controls in place and manage them by visualizing their effects.

Visualize risk complexity

Each risk has its own BowTie, but the ability to add relationships and additional data starts to help visualize the layers of complexity faced by risk managers today. Something which would otherwise be impossible to fully understand quickly and easily from a spreadsheet or static presentation.

Relationships are actual data points in SharpCloud, meaning they are living, breathing, information that enhances your story and supports your decision making. Complex information can be broken down and simplified using relationships, helping you to understand your data better and make smarter decisions. 

Clearly identified relationships help you understand how various risks interconnect with one another and the wider business. Each item within a story contains all the additional information - dive down into the detail - documents, presentations, videos or links to individual threats. 



Clear visual presentation and a variety of flexible views make it easier than ever before to identify, assess and prioritize risk.




Automate risk reporting with SharpCloud

With SharpCloud data is automatically updated from the individual spreadsheets into the relevant risk stories, ensuring that all data and content rolled up into the portfolio story, is real time and accurate. Content is centralized, easy to view, edit, share, and understand.

The ability to automate reporting risk and regularly update an organization's risk portfolio, saves time and money, improving efficiency and reducing human error. Day to day processes, communication, and ultimately decision making, become more efficient and productive.

Don't just take our word for it...

Network Rail win risk awards using SharpCloud

Network Rail's use of SharpCloud has resulted in wider industry recognition including winning awards at the ALARM Risk Conference and CIR Risk Awards, both for Best Use of Technology in Risk Management."


"SharpCloud has enabled us to revolutionize risk conversations in Network Rail by simplifying a complex and interrelated dataset and providing various lenses of key risk information. Its visual nature and appeal has helped bring the business together through collaboration of linked risk information."

- David Shipp, Enterprise Risk Manager



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