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Who wins the jackpot from a killer Vendor Risk Management program?

The short answer is that everyone can be a winner. And if you’re running the program, you’re in top spot for the grand prize because you get to keep on playing.

In today's interconnected business landscape, managing third-party vendor risks has become an increasingly critical aspect of enterprise risk management. A robust vendor risk management program can help you identify, assess, and mitigate risks associated with your third parties and beyond, safeguarding your operations, reputation, and bottom line.

But who are the true beneficiaries of a killer vendor risk management program? In the first instalment of our Vendor Risk Management blog series, let's explore the various stakeholders and how they win when organizations prioritize vendor risk management:

  • Risk teams
  • Relationship managers
  • Executives
  • Vendors
  • Customers
  • Regulators

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Exploring the potential winners

Risk teams

A well-implemented vendor risk management program empowers risk teams within organizations by providing them with the tools, processes, and insights necessary to effectively identify, evaluate, and manage risks related to vendor relationships. With streamlined workflows, automated assessments, and aggregated risk reporting across the entire portfolio of vendors, risk teams can proactively mitigate potential threats, enhance decision-making, and optimize resource allocation. By being at the forefront of vendor risk management, risk teams become strategic advisors, improve operational resilience and minimize the impact of vendor-related incidents.


Relationship managers

Relationship managers on the frontline play a pivotal role in maintaining strong partnerships with vendors. By leveraging a robust vendor risk management program, relationship managers can better understand the risks associated with their vendors – and the related business processes those managers are responsible for delivering. This allows for informed discussions, negotiation of risk mitigation strategies, and the establishment of mutually beneficial agreements. With improved transparency and insights, relationship managers can build trust with vendors, ensuring compliance with contractual obligations and fostering long-term partnerships that thrive on risk-aware collaboration.



A killer vendor risk management program provides executives with comprehensive visibility into the risks posed by vendors across the entire enterprise. Armed with real-time data and insights, executives can make informed decisions regarding vendor selection, risk tolerance, and resource allocation. This enables them to align vendor strategies with business objectives, optimize costs, and ensure regulatory compliance. Ultimately, executives can rest assured that they are safeguarded against vendor-related threats, protecting shareholder value and preserving brand reputation.


Wait, what? Aren’t they burdened with lots of questionnaires and tasks? While it may seem counterintuitive, vendors can also be winners when organizations implement an effective vendor risk management program.

By providing vendors with clear guidelines, expectations, and standardized assessment processes, you foster a transparent and collaborative environment. Vendors gain insights into their own risk posture, allowing them to identify areas for improvement, enhance their security measures, and demonstrate their commitment to risk management.

The key to vendors becoming winners is ensuring that any requirements you place on vendors serve a purpose – for both you and them – and eliminate tick-the-box exercises.


The effort of your VRM program will be largely invisible to your customers – unless something goes wrong. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, and they benefit immensely from a robust vendor risk management program. By prioritising the security and stability of vendor relationships, you can ensure uninterrupted service delivery and protect customer data from breaches or disruptions caused by vendor-related incidents. This, in turn, enhances customer loyalty, drives customer retention, and strengthens the organization's market position.


Regulators in many sectors are actively pushing organizations to enhance their management of material service providers. By implementing a killer vendor risk management program, you can demonstrate your commitment to compliance, aligning with regulatory expectations and requirements. A program that effectively captures data along the way will streamline interactions with regulators while providing them assurance.

This proactive approach not only reduces the likelihood of regulatory penalties but also fosters a positive relationship with regulators. As a result, organizations can operate within regulatory requirements, maintain regulator trust, and avoid reputational damage associated with non-compliance. Let’s be honest – a win for the regulator is really a win for you.

How to maximize your chances of winning the jackpot

A killer vendor risk management program is a win-win for all stakeholders involved. But there is a big difference between killer and drudgery. For a killer VRM program, you need to develop or invest in:

  • A vendor risk management framework, with clear roles and responsibilities, the scope of the program, and its relationship with other key parts of your enterprise risk management framework, such as operational resilience, incident management, and information security.
  • A defined process to onboarding, monitor and offboard your vendors. This is where the rubber hits the road, and drudgery can set in. Make sure each step adds value. Tiering and tailoring are essential – a single approach for all types of vendors will result in either wasted effort or insufficient attention to risks.
  • Effective systems and tools. Spreadsheets and emails as primary tools quickly become painful. An effective vendor risk management makes everyone a winner through automated workflows, streamlined processes, and automated data collection that can quickly be turned into reporting, and more importantly, insights.

If you’re ready to spin the wheel, download our Vendor Risk Management eBook for a detailed step-by-step guide of to build an effective vendor risk management program.

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About the author

Michael is passionate about the field of risk management and related disciplines, with a focus on helping organisations succeed using a ‘decisions eyes wide open’ approach. His experience includes managing risk functions, assurance programs, policy management, corporate insurance, and compliance. He is a Certified Practicing Risk Manager whose curiosity drives his approach to challenge the status quo and look for innovative solutions.