Today we will discuss another very intriguing topic “What is business intelligence in Vietnam?” Please welcome our special guest speaker, Mr. Nicolas Aasheim, the general managers of Emerasia in Ho Chi Minh City. Thank you, Nicolas. Can you introduce yourself?
[00:00:28.250] - Nicolas Aasheim
Yes, my name is Nicolas Aasheim and I'm the general manager of Emerasia, which is a risk management consulting operating throughout Southeast Asia.
[00:00:37.490] - Business-way.TV
Yes, and I learned that in your company you also organize the stress test. And can you explain more about what is a stress test?
[00:00:47.740] - Nicolas Aasheim
Yes, stress test is part of the general services we offer within the Business Intelligence. A stress test is an action meant to replicate as closely as possible an actual situation that is potentially threatening to you or to your company absent the real danger. The reason behind such a test is to uncover any vulnerable areas and once they've been uncovered, fix them so they can withstand the real problems should it ever occur. Simple example to illustrate, this is what we call the intrusion test. We attempt to enter a house and if the attempt is successful, then we will have uncovered the vulnerable areas. How do we get in? Was the door not properly closed? Was the lock not functioning? Why didn't the alarm go off? Was there an area within the premises that is not covered by the area? And once we have identified what doesn't work, it's easier to fix it. And of course, if the attempt is unsuccessful then that means that the security setup functions well, has been well designed and is well implemented. So in other words, a stress test aims at uncovering problems before they actually occur by pretending they do.
[00:02:13.530] - Business-way.TV
Yes. I see. It means that a stress test is that you create a situation to find where is the weak point of the system?
[00:02:28.250] - Nicolas Aasheim
Exactly. You might say we get an iron bar and we try to break it. Yes, if it breaks, we see where it is. That what was the breaking point. Maybe there was less metal at this place then. Maybe it was because it was badly designed. That's the idea. I'm not saying that we tried to destroy everything we did the stress test, but the idea is to put pressure on a specific system to see how it reacts and whether it reacts according to plan, which in this case means that everything's okay. Or if it doesn't and then we can determine why it didn't and most important, then we can fix it.
[00:03:12.630] - Business-way.TV
[00:03:13.170] - Nicolas Aasheim
So covering problems is not a problem because that's the whole point. There is a problem, let's identify it and let's fix it.
[00:03:22.000] - Business-way.TV
That's very interesting. So can you share more about your experience in Emerasia.
[00:03:25.710] - Nicolas Aasheim
My company as a risk management consultancy? The essential of our trade is to identify risks and define solutions to meet them. We have more than 20 years of experience in that area and can count on experts with proven track records. And while a certain number of threats are obvious to everyone, there are others, and that those are the most dangerous ones that lurk unbeknownst to everybody. So we always try to strive to think outside the box so that we can identify threats or risks that have somehow remained under the radar. And once the risks have been identified, it becomes much easier to find a solution to fix them or if not, to eliminate them, at least to mitigate the potential impact.
[00:04:18.350] - Business-way.TV
I see. That's a very interesting part when you fix them or you mitigate the consequences of something. And then can you share with us a case study that you did in the past so we can understand more about your job?
[00:04:38.060] - Nicolas Aasheim
Okay, let's see. A few years back, a client contacted us because to seek our assistance in explaining a discrepancy he had identified between his figures and what his sales department was reporting to him. So after carrying out a thorough assessment of the situation, we suggested that the person most likely responsible for this problem was the sales manager. The client, we suggested them to carry out a stress test. And we did that by contacting the sales manager under false identity, asking him to provide us information that he was not supposed to give. And after, while very cautious, the sales manager accepted and we played the game for a while until we had all the evidence in our hands that proving his wrongdoings and establishing beyond doubt that he was the scammer. And once we had that, we handed that information to the client, who confronted him and fired him and needless to say, implemented much more thorough procedures after that.
[00:05:47.150] - Business-way.TV
I see. That's a very interesting topic when we try to see about the intergrity and the reputations of the staff and accompanying something like that. How do you organize stress like that?
[00:06:05.390] - Nicolas Aasheim
Well, the first thing and most important thing is to have an open and comprehensive conversation with the client on what exactly is the problem and where it lies. Obviously, there need not be a problem for a client to wish to carry out such a test. Maybe we're dealing with the general manager who's staying far ahead and prefers to pay some extra money to carry out a stress test just to avoid much greater expenses later on. But usually when clients contact us, it's because they're already facing a problem. So the fundamental point is here once we have had that conversation with the client, we present with a plan and he has to agree. We were completely transparent on what we plan to do, and he has to agree to it because obviously we're going to put his system in a difficult position. And in order for that to be effective, he must agree, he must accept that we will give that kind of medicine.
[00:07:16.860] - Business-way.TV
I see. So it's quite sometimes it's that hard for the client to work on that solution.
[00:07:26.530] - Nicolas Aasheim
Mission sometimes they can be a bit reluctant because they are afraid that we're actually going to do the real thing but what we're doing, we're faking it but faking in such a way as to reflect reality as much as possible so that if the problem actually occurs then he will be prepared and he will have put in place the necessary steps to prevent it from becoming a very big problem.
[00:07:58.200] - Business-way.TV
I understand so because the activities of your company are interesting like that. Are there many companies that choose to do the stress test?
[00:08:11.490] - Nicolas Aasheim
Well, too few in my opinion it's regrettable but it's understandable there aren't enough companies who see the point in carrying out such tests unfortunately.
[00:08:33.270] - Business-way.TV
So in your opinions there are quite many companies that they should do a stress test but they didn't do. So what do you think about the reason that they are still hesitating?
[00:08:47.690] - Nicolas Aasheim
Well. I'd say it's a very human bias unless you're facing a pressing problem you tend to not to think about it in disregard the necessary steps you need to take to avoid from becoming a very big problem. So if only I had known syndrome, the thing is you can presume that we know but that means that you need to be willing to take some time to think about it and call upon proven expertise, our expertise in this case if I may say. Because we can help the client identify the risks and we identify more importantly identify solutions, so that to avoid that these risks if they ever become reality, it creates a huge problem. In a way you might say stress is just a form of insurance.
[00:09:47.520] - Business-way.TV
It's very interesting about what you say when you try to find out the problem and then you propose a solution to minimize the consequence when it happens something or just eliminate consequence that's really good for a company.
[00:10:12.290] - Nicolas Aasheim
It is. We can never guarantee that we fully eliminate a problem. But if a problem is identified, the risk is properly identified and we know what to do, should it occur then the damage becomes less important. And the psychological effect is very beneficial because if you have a problem and you know what to do then you don't panic. But if you have a problem and you don't know what to do then that's when you may start to act in a way that is not well thought.
[00:10:54.400] - Business-way.TV
I totally agree with you for that and I know that stress test is just one part in the business intelligence and what are the other parts?
[00:11:06.750] - Nicolas Aasheim
Well, obviously business intelligence is much more than just stress tests. Stress tests are a form of defensive part of business intelligence. The aim is to secure your perimeter and then it's very broad meaning, it can be either your physical premises, your internal procedures, the loyalty of your staff, the facing blackmail situations, corruption, cybercriminality, even physical violence. But as I said, business intelligence. And it's much more than that. No business endeavor is fully free from risk. If that were the case, we would all be entrepreneurs. But while developing your business, there are some risks. You're aware that there are some risks around you, and it's only natural for you to seek to reduce them as much as possible. And the way to go about it is to gather as much information as possible on the course you want your business to follow and avoid sailing into uncharted waters. And some of the information required is readily available, but some is not. And that's when you call Emerasia.
[00:12:18.710] - Business-way.TV
Oh, I see. I think that they learned a lot of new things about how we can minimize the risk of a company when we start to operate, because you see that, for example, international company, when it comes to a new market like Vietnam, they have a lot of things that they didn't know. So that's the reason why maybe they should find a way to minimize the risk of business and of operation. I think it will be good for them, and it will be great for their strategies in the future.
[00:13:04.170] - Nicolas Aasheim
Yes. When entering a new market, being a bit over cautious might not be the worst possible path ahead.
[00:13:11.460] - Business-way.TV
Yes, that's a great advice. I think I work on market entry for a market entry firm, and I will remember that, and I think it will be good for our future guidance.
[00:13:25.780] - Nicolas Aasheim
[00:13:26.210] - Business-way.TV
[00:13:26.440] - Nicolas Aasheim
I hope so, too.
[00:13:27.230] - Business-way.TV
Yes. Thanks you very much for your sharing. And thank you for showing us a new way to do the risk management. Thank you.
[00:13:38.800] - Nicolas Aasheim
Thank you very much.