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Should you Automate your Business Continuity Plan?

Tue, 07/29/2014 - 10:17am
Hector Miguel Opazo Santis

In my personal experience, the decision to automate a business continuity plan does not necessarily depend on the number of processes in the plan or whether there are enough resources incorporate.

In general, organizations been aiming to become more resilient. In other words, they want to improve capability to overcome crisis and interruptions at work.  Significant factors often cause organizations to rethink the importance of implementing business continuity plans as part of their strategy.

However, not all organizations have adopted business continuity plans. Many have created sustainability business plans due to regulations. Others have implemented plans without stressing the work done or even worse, they do not take the time or effort to create plans to sustainability before reviewing the work done.

Sooner or later, most organizations will be forced to make decisions using an automation tool (BCM software).

The question is whether the potential tools are lined up with the developed business continuity plan within the organization or if it is the right moment to automate.

Some criteria that should consider to determine whether business continuity automation is right for your company include:

1.Recognizing the importance of the executives in the implementation of Business Continuity plans

The development of business continuity plans should involve the executives in the adoption and supervision of the plan.  However, once the plans have been implemented, many managers no longer get involved with the team working on them.

Companies who establish successful business continuity programs often do so because executives continue to be involved in the development of the plans. These executives are aware of the new challenges that may present themselves.  These plans are discussed as strategies during board of directors.

2.  Empowering employees and creating a resilient culture

The process of approaching and training employees in an organization can be very slow. It depends on the participation of employees and whether the company encourages the necessary concentration on Business Continuity as a relevant subject.

It is important to train employees who are not only aware of the programs, but also participate in them by asking question and getting answers from management.   As a result, employees will become empowered, contribute to a resilient culture, understand the objectives beyond formal performance and be able to face any crisis at work.

3. Evaluating lessons learned from the past

As a consultant in subjects related to business continuity I have found that companies that are best at evaluating are those that have experienced crisis or disasters with relevant consequences. Situations like those often produce a cultural transformation.

Organizations that have generated savings by mitigating interruptions (measuring the financial, operational and legal impact among others) have shown the advantage of having a business continuity plan. Many are would be able to generate operational efficiency and diversification by automating their business continuity plans

It is very different operating based on theory rather than having an actual crisis, overcoming it and taking corrective action to further improve recovery time, reassign recuperation teams, and reorganize processes.

4. Constantly improving business continuity

Organizations that have more mature business continuity programs are those that manage their plans, improve their testing and continuously follow new business continuity trends.

The need to evolve and incorporate good business continuity practices, including the incorporation of standard certifications like ISO 22301, are traits of an organization that continuously makes improvements to business sustainability.

5. Managing a Volume of Information

Some organizations have difficulty managing their information manually. The same thing happens with business continuity with a higher level of complexity.  Businesses change very fast and these changes are not always considered in business continuity plans. Many organizations are unable to manage and update several plans simultaneously. For them, making the decision to automate could be a relevant consideration.

Measuring BCM program development is not enough if there is not a real commitment to the program. It is one thing to implement a BCM program.  It is another to incorporate the BCM program in throughout an organization to effectively reach the employees.

Deciding whether or not to automate your business continuity program with BCM software may not only make incorporation easier, it will also get the best out of the tool the organization chooses to use.

The best time to automate business continuity plans is when an organization understands their basic functions and the way they work within their organization.

 

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