By Prasad Rai
We are facing unforeseen circumstances where businesses of all sizes across sectors, are witnessing being impacted. The challenge is to take necessary measures to sustain the operational efficiencies. Companies are evaluating their strategic models and building a robust environment strengthening financial establishments. The situation has made the brands to look at the Business Continuity Plan (BCP) as a contingency mechanism.
Nevertheless, each challenge is a disguised opportunity to re-invent and to rethink and break the conventional processes. This can be a time to encourage innovation and creativity that can help business continuity. Any business depends upon business continuity plan to maintain the essential functions during and after any crisis. In case, businesses do not have a plan in place, then this is the time to hot the refresh button. Now, will you decide if your plan is effective or not. Following pointers will help you ascertain that.
- Start right start with Business Impact Analysis (BIA):
The prior determination and evaluation of the effects of any potential threat for business operation with a Business impact analysis (BIA) is very important. In BIA, a gap analysis needs to be performed by the business in order to assess the organization’s preparedness for steady performance and operations. It is important to consider the following stakeholder groups while conducting the aforementioned analysis:
- Employees: The workforce is the backbone of any organization and hence it must be the topmost concern. During tough times, the alignment of management and the staff create long-term impact on business. To begin with, the organization must first identify the critically important processes, followed by the staff members who will execute these processes. Once this is done, the organization must then decide whether these processes must be conducted on-premise or could be performed remotely. Generally, consideration of any action which allows the organization to perform remotely is prioritized. Also, in order to avoid end moment issues, building backup capabilities is vital as it can be useful in case a section of the workforce cannot work because of any reason.
- Customers: The relationship that an organization has or will have with its customers undergoes stringent test in such time. One-minute mistake can lead to a long-term impact on business reputation. The debt level of customers must be closely monitored by the organisations and they should also regularly keep a tab on the credit risk situation of customers.
- Suppliers: Since they are one of the key elements for a business, an organization must consider important to determine which suppliers and what supplies are of utmost importance to keep the organization functioning in all times. All supplier contracts could be reviewed by the organisations in order to identify their importance and understand the implication. This can also help in identifying the alternatives in case one supplier stops the supply of goods.
- Create Mock Scenarios (Futuristic Analysis)
The hard times teach us to take every step with caution as there is zero chance of mistake. In order to be assured about a safe step, a futuristic analysis of the “worst case” scenarios or “high-probability” case scenarios is important. This can be done by creating mock scenarios or futuristic models. By doing so, the organization will get enough evidence and outcome to decide their next move. Also, this will provide the organization with new ways or alternate business models to serve their customers.
- Risk Identification and Mapping
Risk factors must be analyzed on priority as it might have an everlasting impact on the functioning of the organization. New risks must be identified, and a futuristic analysis or modeling is the best way to do it. All businesses should consider creating mock business scenarios as mentioned above to identify new risks. Along with it, potential risks including operational, strategic, financial, external factors and the probability of their occurrence at any time should be wisely considered.
- Prioritizing internal communication and organizational sync
It is important to create a multi-functional response and to ensure there is an organizational synchronization around the key objectives. Also, it is important that all the governance and compliance clearances are secured by the organization and are renewed as required. The organization must also decide the amount of communication to be done with the stakeholder. Prior identification of content and frequency of communication to be done with the stakeholders is always required. Also, it is a vital aspect of every business continuity plan to set up planned communication with stakeholder groups.
- Execute the plan and ensure uninterrupted supervision
The roadmap to effective execution of business continuity plan enlists the KPIs and monitoring them throughout the process. The frequency of these checks like measuring monitoring and adjusting factors like liquidity, stock, sales etc. can be increased by leveraging various real time data feeds. Workforce should remain the primary focus at all times. Above all, businesses need to have ability to retain its customers and maintaining the production lines and supply chains.
(The author is Vice-President – Applications, Oracle India and the views published in this article are his own)