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In July, a major U.S.-based retailer was hit by an unexpected outage when, for more than two hours, all registers throughout the chain went down. Citing an “internal technology issue,” store officials said no customer data was compromised, but the very next day the company had issues with its registers again.

The problem? The retailer uses an outside technology vendor to accept payments at its registers. There were problems at the vendor’s data center, and it prevented the retailer from accepting certain payment types until the vendor’s issues were resolved.

The outage left customers frustrated and created long lines and extended wait times. A Gartner report indicates the average cost of IT downtime can be $5,600 a minute. This story is one of many examples of loss organizations can face during an unexpected outage of services or supply-chain disruptions.

So, what can you do to ensure your organization is resilient and ready to respond? Dive into your business continuity management (BCM) software.

Ensuring your BCM software has the critical features needed to help you assess, mitigate, and resolve risks is key to preparedness.

In the 2019 Business Continuity Benchmark Study, business continuity (BC) program management and planning functions were touted as the most highly valued BCM software features.

The ability to manage BC plans, perform business impact assessments, and utilize BC strategies are valuable components for an effective BCM platform, but what are some other valuable features your BCM software should include?

We surveyed over 1,100 BC professionals worldwide on what software features are most valuable for their BC program.

Here are some highlights based on their responses:

1. Mapping dependencies

When an organization faces a crisis, the ability to use BCM software to map dependencies is high on the list of needed features. If something goes wrong that directly impacts your organization’s operations, for example if a supplier suddenly has a glitch and can’t deliver product, what will the impact be on your ability to manufacture or deliver your organization’s goods?

If you’re managing your BC plan using piecemeal static applications like spreadsheets or word processing documents, mapping dependencies becomes incredibly difficult—if not impossible—during a disruption.

A BCM software program can help you quickly and efficiently tie everything together so you can fully evaluate the impact of a disruption. Assurance Connect, for example, enables you to exchange information through more than 100 complementary systems, so you can get a full-picture view of the impact.

2. Contacting employees with ease

More than 70% of the Benchmark Study respondents said the ability to contact employees easily is also a valuable feature for quality BCM software. Do you have an effective emergency notification system (ENS) to reach employees, stakeholders, and customers during a crisis or disruption? This is an important component of your BC program. Check out our complimentary tip sheet to learn more about how you can ensure your ENS system is crisis ready.

The affirmation that the ability to easily contact employees should be included in your BCM software further highlights additional study findings that employee safety is a high priority for most organizations’ BC programs. Download the study now to read more about the findings.

3. Analytics and dashboards

The ability to provide senior management with analytics and dashboards also made the list of important features. This is especially true for larger organizations where complexities and organizational structure often drive customer needs. Assurance’s dashboards and analytics help BC program owners and team members get the right information to the right people at the right time through executive-level snapshots, the ability to review BC plan history, make real-time updates, and focus on program improvements.

4. Supporting a risk-based approach to BC

Some 72% of our respondents said it’s also important for BCM software to support a risk-based approach to BC.

A risk-based approach is essentially a top-down approach at finding and managing risks in your organization. It enables you to examine human, natural, and technological threats and provides a clear picture of risks that can prevent your organization from doing business.

With a risk-based approach, your organization can uncover these risks and then develop control mechanisms as well as mitigation plans to address them.

Assessments within AssuranceCM can help your organization evaluate risks as you’re building your program. These assessments help you determine which risks could stop your organization from doing business in a streamlined and useful manner, instead of evaluating all risks that may affect your organization as often seen in a broader enterprise risk management program.

BC assessments, with a risk-based approach, provide a clearer picture to facilitate efficient evaluations and mitigation from top-down to help your business quickly recover from disruptions.

Other Features

Other key features highlighted in the study included the need for crisis management, mobile access, and more.

Want to learn more about the Benchmark Study and how other organizations are using, valuing, and evaluating BC programs?

Download the Benchmark Study now or contact an Assurance certified business continuity professional today. We will be happy to help.

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Topics: Business Continuity

Assurance Software

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.

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