The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has exposed the business continuity plans and readiness state of many companies. While this crisis is concerning, history shows that the world has faced other wide-spread crisis situations, such as the Bubonic Plague, Spanish Flu, MERS, SARS, Swine Flu, and many others. Those examples are Pandemics, but the crisis could also be caused by nature disasters, terrorism, wide-scale technology failure, and other situations. History illustrates that these situations eventually pass, and it also shows that there will be other future crisis situations.
How will your business handle the crisis to minimize the disruption and impact, and how well will your business be prepared for the next one?
For years I've stressed the importance and helped clients prepare a comprehensive, actionable Business Continuity Plan that is properly tested and retested on an ongoing basis. We've also discussed "Digital Transformation" and how the right "Digital" capabilities can be very valuable during a crisis.
Company's have different levels of business continuity capabilities and readiness that can be described in these groupings:
Many business leaders have properly prepared their companies for dilemmas and crisis situations. Today I talked with a client company leader that I've advised throughout the years. They have a comprehensive, actionable Business Continuity Plan that is well supported by solid technology/"digital" capabilities. When the COVID-19 situation escalated, they simply executed their plans and leveraged their digital workplace capabilities. Employees are now working from home/remotely, and can utilize the same technologies and digital capabilities they use in the office. While the work environment has changed, their customers are still well-supported and operations have continued with minimal to no impact. I was very happy to see that the guidance, efforts and proper investments are really paying off.
Unfortunately there are companies that do NOT have a solid Business Continuity Plan, and as as result, they are scrambling to react and figure it out during a crisis setting, which causes chaos, customer service interruptions and a very significant operations impact.
Too often, business leaders don't make Business Continuity Plans, Disaster Recovery Plans, and Digital Transformation a priority until they experience a major impact. Don't let your business be "THE BAD". Be proactive and take the proper actions to protect your business.
Even in the midst of a crisis, a business continuity expert can help you quickly address the current gaps, issues and pressing needs, fast-track the process, and get your business operations back on track.
And then there are companies that even after experiencing a crisis will still fail to take the appropriate actions. They will use excuses such as "we're really busy right now", "we have other priorities right now", "we're just hoping that it won't happen", and other cop outs that shouldn't be acceptable. Don't be "THE UGLY".
As a business leader you must anticipate and prepare your company for potential threats/risks. Often the reason companies fail to start or don't complete the process is they don't have the right internal resources/expertise, or the process seems too daunting. This is a compelling business need where a seasoned expert can make all the difference. Engaging the right expert can help your company build the right plans, fast-track the implementation, quickly change your state of readiness, and protect your company's future.
Mark Johnson is the Chief Executive Officer at Xtrii. He is a 10x CIO, global technology advisor and business leader. He has received global awards and recognition for excellence in technology and innovation.