Never before has an entire global economy been shut down and reopened in the midst of an erupting global pandemic. Outbreaks like Ebola and Zika were limited to certain parts of the world only and were contained within these regions.
Business Continuity: Definition
Irrespective of the present circumstances, having a plan B comes in handy when the going gets tough. If that fails, maybe even a plan C and a plan D wouldn’t hurt.
Organizations that hadn’t planned for contingencies might want to do so right now, especially since a pandemic is in full swing.
Business Continuity (or business resilience) is a company’s ability to maintain essential operations during and after a disaster.
The disaster could be any event that disrupts operations, such as – a natural calamity like floods or an earthquake, an outbreak (COVID), economic recession, a fire, a data breach, and so on.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas in August 2017. In just four days the region received more than 40 inches of rain and when the storm subsided it had left more than $125 billion in damages in its wake.
Only companies in the area that had stored their data on the cloud survived the ordeal. This is just one simple example of how disaster preparedness helps salvage operations.
But a more thorough strategy is needed that involves risk assessment and disaster recovery. Introducing the business continuity plan (BCP).
A BCP is a set of guidelines that help keep your head above water (continued operations) when crisis strikes.
It also allows an organization to get back on track after the issue subsides.
Why is a good disaster recovery plan important? A crisis can either bring operations to ground zero or slow down growth, making losses inevitable.
How much downtime an organization can sustain before it falls off the deep end will depend on well-founded disaster preparedness and planning.
Challenges in all forms are always lurking around the corner waiting to strike.
How prepared we are to face these risks will define success or failure of the enterprise.
How (and why) to develop a Business Resilience Strategy?
Survival is the name of the game at the moment. Not thriving, nor diversification, just good old fashioned survival.
Before we proceed to a step wise guide to creating a business resilience plan, let’s get some perspective on the goings on right now on the world’s stage.
According to a study by Mckinsey, most emerging markets are still witnessing a quick rise in the number of COVID cases.
Many industries have hit an operational impasse.
Business owners and leaders are scrambling around frantically trying to devise a last minute strategy to manage this COVID mishap.
The downtime that resulted due to pandemic related restrictions will create a cascading effect that could be felt for at least a couple of years.
The threat is real and doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon. This is why it’s imperative that businesses develop a pandemic plan for business continuity, and soon!
So, how to keep business moving forward when disaster strikes?
Business Impact Analysis
Before charting out the plan, start with understanding all the potential risks for your business.
A Business Impact Analysis (BIA) helps you do just that.
Understand gaps in the supply chain, stakeholder info and the core team needed in the event of a disaster.
Creating the Business Recovery Plan
Once the BIA is in place, create an in-depth, action-oriented business recovery plan and get it vetted by senior management.
The corporate BCP should have all measures needed to help operations stay afloat during a crisis.
The plan should be all encompassing and should take into consideration every department, team and function.
Testing the Waters
The BCP should be tested and revisited often because of a forever changing business environment.
Testing and reviewing the BCP is a main step in the business continuity management lifecycle.
It’s important to do a trial run to understand what will be the minimum requirement for business to keep going.
Basically, as the Scout motto goes – “Be Prepared!”
But what about a pandemic plan for business continuity?
What we’ve been facing is a very specific “health” crisis. Therefore, the BCP checklist should have worker safety as the top priority.
It should accommodate teleworking by incorporating tools for remote workers.
The most important pillar in an organization’s recovery plan is communication!
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
How you treat people during this crisis will be remembered long after it’s over.
“Wait long enough and you reap what you sow. That hold for men. That hold for towns. That hold for a whole country.”
Supporting your employees, vendors and stakeholders starts with honest and clear messaging.
Start with drafting a crisis communication plan.
Create a transparent and trustworthy space by sharing information as quickly as possible.
Constantly communicating between teams will improve confidence and boost spirits.
Business Continuity Software
But, is a crisis communication plan enough?
What about technology? Business continuity tools (BCT) or business continuity software (BCS) is a much needed measure to support crisis management.
The main functions that a BCS supports are internal communications and operations.
A good resilience plan needs a secure business continuity tool. The two are mutually inclusive!
Clear communication channels are needed:
To relay information to workers
To receive feedback from workers
To coordinate a recovery strategy
Now, a good business continuity software should have the following features:
Messages should reach employees AND stakeholders instantly!
This is the main feature of a crisis communication tool. You don’t want your workers to be in the dark about a disaster or event that has disrupted the status quo.
A good business recovery software will take all functions under consideration – IT, operations, internal comms and HR.
It will also accommodate for top-down and bottom-up communications.
All departments will be in the loop.
Sound business continuity technologies will rope in desk, deskless and remote workers during a crisis or even otherwise.
And, the tool can double up as a regular employee app once the crisis has passed.
Data protection is key!
Data backup is crucial during any disaster.
Information security and data privacy are some elements that organizations should not neglect during a crisis.
Therefore, a BCT should be updated with the latest security protocol and compliance features.
Crisis Comms for Frontline Staff
A good crisis communication plan is all-inclusive.
Which means it includes all workers – knowledge, mobile and remote workers.
Frontline staff do not have the luxury of working remotely.
Manufacturing, retail and hospitality are some of the hardest hit industries with the highest number of blue collar workers.
Capacity utilization has not yet reached optimum levels in manufacturing facilities world over. Apart from essential services and few other products, most manufacturing units are functioning at around 30% to 60% of their capacity.
Retailers are also badly affected. Pharmacies aside, most stand alone stores and retail chains were closed during the shelter at home measures. Even after reopening, things have not yet gone back to business as usual owing to continued social distancing and fear factor amongst consumers.
These industries employ a large number of frontline staff or mobile workers.
These mobile workers need to be kept in the loop at all times.
They need to feel secure about their jobs and hopeful about returning to work in a safe environment.
Communication that reaches out to deskless workers is a must during times like these.
Which is why it is important to adopt a business continuity tool that engages desk, deskless AND remote workers.
Groupe.io as a Business Continuity Software
A business resilience tool with mobile access is so important right now.
This means that every worker receives critical information and gets access to resources from their mobile device.
A mobile-first platform means even frontline staff (those who don’t use computers at work) can be looped into all communications.
Groupe.io is a mobile-first, business continuity tool that connects desk workers and deskless workers.
Groupe is also a good tool for remote workers and helps you manage a distributed workforce.
Managing and streamlining operations is essential during these times and Groupe.io enables that process.
Scheduling, approving and monitoring tasks is easy with the Groupe.io task manager. Automation of approvals and other processes also becomes fast and easy through this all-in-one mobile app.
It is user friendly and rolls out in 24 hours!
It can be used for both top-down and bottom-up communications.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.