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Business continuity planning (BCP) is critical for organisations operating in any environment. With the high likelihood of natural disasters, political instability, and, as we know all too well, pandemics, BCP can help you prepare for the unexpected and ensure resilience. It is a key indicator of a business’s success or failure, which ultimately comes down to how well-resourced and nuanced its continuity and resilience plan is.
Risk assessment is a vital element of BCP. It involves identifying potential risks and evaluating their likelihood and impact. By doing so, organisations can prioritise their efforts and develop strategies to minimise the impact of disruptions.
It is all too easy to brush off these seemingly mundane tasks, but they are the fundamental building blocks of the plan. Without an accurate risk assessment, there is a high likelihood of resourcing and putting in place a system that cannot address your critical risks — the result: failure.
There is an abundance of market knowledge and subject matter expertise on specific industry risks. This isn’t the only consideration. Specialist understanding of market and geo-strategic risks is also critical. Supply chain risk differs from Boston to Nairobi.
A crucial part of BCP is the development of contingency plans, which outline how to respond to disruptions and resume operations. These emergency or disaster plans should identify critical functions, necessary resources, alternative sources of supply, and redundant systems. You cannot expect employees to manage a crisis whilst handling their day job. Resource these active roles accordingly.
Technology can also play a crucial role in business continuity. Cloud-based services can provide flexibility and scalability, while data backup and recovery solutions can protect critical systems and processes. Information moves quickly, so ensure that decision-makers have the right access to it. And remember to remove noise from media and social platforms that is unverified. Fake news can be fatal for good data-driven decision-making.
Finally, it is essential for organisations to regularly review and test their BCPs to ensure that they are up-to-date and effective. Tabletop exercises, simulations, and full-scale drills can test the organisation's ability to respond to disruptions and maintain its operations. If you conduct two fire drills a year, you cannot expect your crisis management team to functionally address a civil unrest event with the same skill sets. These need to be trained separately.
In conclusion, BCP is vital for organisational resilience in today’s unpredictable environment. Adopting BCP practices can increase confidence and peace of mind, knowing that your organisation is prepared for any unexpected event. By identifying risks, developing contingency plans, leveraging technology, and regularly testing and refining BCPs, you can minimise the impact of disruptions and ensure long-term success. The market will respond positively to vendors and organisations that show the ability to continue to deliver services , even when the conditions are difficult to do so, use it as a unique differentiator and market your readiness and investment into BCP- it shows commitment to the market and ultimately customer.