The changing economy fueled by a global pandemic has altered the way organizations operate. These changes underscore the importance of business continuity programs for organizations of all sizes—now, not later.
Without business continuity planning, some organizations struggled to shift to virtual workforces almost overnight, alter schedules and production to survive under stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines, and retain customers when brick-and-mortar locations closed.
Unfortunately, some businesses may never open their doors again.
And while the global pandemic is front and center today, the reality is that a major disruption could happen to any business with similar devastating impacts at any time.
Some 83% of business continuity managers surveyed in our 2019 Business Continuity Benchmark Study said that continuity of operations is a high-priority for their organization.
For organizations to survive crises and disruptions, advanced planning, forward-thinking, and the ability to adapt are key for success and resiliency.
In short, the current environment underscores exactly why business continuity is critical to meeting the challenges of disruptions head-on.
“We’re Not Ready”
Buying software solutions has long been perceived as a time-consuming, expensive endeavor for organizations. And often those who make it through the journey to select the right software vendor and get the solution implemented, still struggle to get employees to stop doing things “the old way” and use the new system to its fullest capabilities.
That’s why some common objectives to considering business continuity software are:
- “We’re not ready.”
- “We’re too busy.”
- “We’ve never needed it before, why now?”
- “We think our existing processes are fine.”
That old mindset is why many business continuity programs fail and others struggle to accurately mitigate, manage, and recover from business disruptions.
A Scenario Without Business Continuity Software
Image this: Your region just experienced a major natural disaster. Core services like electricity and internet still work. All of your employees are safe, but your headquarters experienced significant damage and it will be months before it’s safe for use again.
You don’t want to shut down operations altogether, so you decide to spin up remote teams while your building gets repaired.
Unfortunately, all of your core departments use siloed, propriety software and it’s impossible to interact with all the data you need across your company.
For example, you need a list of all employees along with information about their roles and responsibilities. Your HR department has access to that information, but there’s no good way to share it other than to export it to a spreadsheet and send it to you.
Your IT team has a similar list, but you’re not sure if it’s updated. You’ll need to share the most current one and cross-reference. This process takes days—days where your company can’t be fully operational
To further complicate it, you never did a review of all your critical functions—only assets—so now your leadership team has to unite over video calls to talk about your most essential roles and what you need to do to provide basic services to your customers without access to your core office.
Your company has a remote-work policy, but you’ve never trained your full company on it. Some of your employees aren’t tech savvy and you haven’t completed an evaluation to see if they have high-speed internet, secure connections or personal devices they can use at home. Few, if any, have training about cybersecurity or data privacy protocols for working outside of the office.
How do you communicate standards and requirements? How do you follow up with each employee remotely to ensure your company data is not at risk? How do you know if your team practices basic cyber hygiene to decrease the likelihood of a breach?
Without a business continuity plan that specifically tackles a disruptive event sending your team into a remote environment, you don’t.
And it’s even further complicated if you’re using spreadsheets and phone or video calls to make decisions in the middle of a crisis.
Software’s Helping Hand
This is only a small part of the scenario that teams recently faced during the pandemic, and while hopefully it’s a lesson learned that hopefully won’t get missed again, you can see how not having business continuity software can make a complicated situation even more challenging.
If you had business continuity software to manage this situation, you could have immediately activated the plan, accessed critical information in one place, quickly and efficiently delivered clear guidance to your teams, and would have been able to efficiently follow up across your organization.
You could also simplify and streamline communications with your team and ensure they’re accessing correct policies and procedures for this specific event type.
With business continuity software, you could even assign each team member (or groups) specific tasks, for example, a required cybersecurity lesson with comprehension testing, to ensure your employees have the training outlined in your business continuity plan and that they’ve retained that information so they can immediately put your security protocols in place.
Time is Relative
So, when you think you “don’t have time” to go through the process to select and implement business continuity software, think of how much time you could have saved in this one scenario.
A business continuity solution can break down your operational silos, enabling you to share relevant, valuable—and current—data across teams and use that data to facilitate better decision-making.
And, if you’ve gone through all the steps to set up your business continuity program properly, you will already know all the critical information you need to manage a crisis, and if you’re using business continuity software, you’ll get instant and clear visibility within easy-to-understand dashboards.
Business Continuity Software Benefits
Here are some other ways business continuity software can help you manage operations during a crisis and ultimately save you time, money, and frustration:
- Determine which core functions and roles are critical to your operations
- Determine, evaluate, and manage organizational risks, including risks associated with your third-party vendors
- Complete business impact analysis and vendor risk assessments
- Activate an incident response plan, complete with task assignments and related communications
- Identify and manage critical components of your supply chain, including making rapid changes as needed
- Facilitate clearly defined response protocols
- Ensure timely and clear notifications are sent to your employees, vendors, and key stakeholders at the beginning, during, and after an event
- Develop and implement crisis communication strategies
- Quickly identify plan gaps so you can mitigate risks
- Develop contingency plans for roadblocks
- Launch recovery processes with appropriate documentation and task assignments
- Create reports and get instant insight into which components of your plans work, where you have deficiencies and what you can do better
- Facilitate employee safety and wellness protocol
No More Excuses
In most cases, software solutions make processes faster, and it’s no different for business continuity software.
Business continuity software can help you automate manual tasks, remove repeated and duplicated work, facilitate better data sharing, give you more insight into your operations as a whole for better decision-making, and decrease the chance of human errors.
When you weigh those benefits against your objections, why haven’t you already taken the steps to begin this process?
Need help to begin? Contact an Assurance business continuity advisor and we’ll start you on the right track.
Topics: Business Continuity
Written by Assurance Software
Assurance Software takes your company’s enterprise-wide business continuity and resiliency program to the next level. With Assurance as your go-to partner for continuity and resilience, you can confidently mitigate risk, manage recovery, and safeguard your employees, customers, operations and brands.