Smart BCM digital tooling
For many years, spreadsheets have been the staple of Business Continuity Management, and they still have a role to play. However, there is growing demand for dedicated BCM software that provides clear and actionable insights into the dependencies, risks, and vulnerabilities of an organization’s critical processes, activities, and resources – and, therefore, enables people to focus on what is vital for their operations and areas.
Smart digital tooling provides real-time mapping of organizations, broken down into a reliable business impact analysis. Risks, BCM plans, MTPDs, and RTOs can be stored and connected to provide a complete understanding of where impacts will be felt and the organizations’ ability to withstand business or service disruptions.
Of course, dedicated BCM software offers many more benefits, not least streamlining operations and saving costs, as testing, reporting, and creating valid action plans is automated, and AI predictive analytics offer insights into potential threats and responses. However, the big push from the market is currently for smart digital tooling for effective impact analyses that can support proactive mitigation of risks and vulnerabilities.
With so many parts of an organization exposed to the impacts of disruptions, from IT to HR through to Operations, working in isolation lowers a company’s ability to prepare for and manage business disruptions. Therefore, the days of BCM departments working in silos are coming to an end as organizations embrace the benefits of taking an organization-wide approach to business continuity.
Having a culture that supports business continuity is, of course, a big advantage and prerequisite for a successful Business Continuity Management System across the organisation. Interestingly, new intuitive BCM software solutions are helping to drive this transformation, and as such, helping to safeguard critical operations, services and processes has become more inclusive as staff collaborate, with clear lines of responsibility, to implement BCM strategies across the organization.
Evolving regulatory demands
Stringent regulatory requirements are compelling organizations to reassess their BCM strategies. As regulations such as the Operational Resilience guidelines and policies (UK), the Digital Operational Resilience Act DORA (EU) and Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Program CIRMP (Australia) are rolled out, organizations must prove their ability to identify risks and vulnerabilities, withstand disruptions, and additionally, implement improvement programs through training and exercises.
Beyond that, new regulations such as Operational Resilience, surpass traditional business continuity, requiring organizations to identify and mitigate the impacts of disruptions to their operations as well as their markets and industries as a whole. Failure to meet these regulations can result in severe penalties, reputation damage, and operational setbacks. And as more organizations look to meet new compliance regulations, a greater focus will be put on resilience in the face of unforeseen events, laying the groundwork for a more proactive BCM approach.
Validating continuity plans via tests & exercises
In line with these new regulations and to build the strength of organizations to manage and recover from disruptions in uncertain times, there is a growing trend for more rigorous tests and exercises. Creating business continuity plans is all well and good, but it’s only when put to rigorous test that they can be properly validated. Exercises offer many benefits, whether through traditional tabletop exercises or comprehensive simulations that closely mimic real-life scenarios.
Effective test and exercises enable organizations to assess the viability of BCM plans, identify capability gaps, and refine crisis response strategies. Additionally, they bring cross-departmental teams together in a safe environment and ensure key staff collaborate and understand one another’s skillsets and roles prior to a disruption – which is invaluable in a real-life crisis response. Periodic reviews and updates of continuity plans based on exercise outcomes and changing risk landscapes ensure the plans remain relevant and robust.
Increased collaboration with 3rd party providers & peers
Today’s interconnected business ecosystem means organizations can no longer rely solely on internal BCM measures. Disruptions within a supplier network can significantly impact an organization’s ability to deliver products or services. Businesses have become dependent on third-party providers’ resilience in maintaining business continuity. As a result, many organizations are extending their BCM scope to encompass providers and partners.
Collaborative efforts with suppliers and partners involve assessing their BCM capabilities, ensuring alignment with organizational standards, and establishing mutual support mechanisms. This network-wide approach is even being expanded to include peers and competitors, as industry-wide exercises bring many organizations together to work collaboratively to improve robustness in the event of major disruptions.
The evolving risk landscape in uncertain times is driving these trends as companies look to embrace and strengthen their business continuity, safeguarding their people, assets, and reputation, and identifying new and innovative ways to thrive amidst uncertainty. Contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve this quickly with a fast ROI.