Over the course of this year and to date, adaptability is a concept that has undoubtedly infiltrated businesses across all sizes and segments. Given that many uncertainties are persisting, adaptability will remain a critical component of everyday operations, objectives, culture, and stakeholder relationships. The unforeseen longevity of change means that businesses must look towards ensuring their strategies of adaption include their strategies of continuity.
According to a study done by Mercer back in late February, 27.2% of companies did not have a business continuity plan or pandemic preparedness plan in place, and an additional 23.8% did not have a plan but were in the process of developing one.
Organizations that do have in place a business continuity plan to some degree are typically ensuring systems and infrastructures are created to aid in the prevention of potential threats and adjust as fluidly as possible. However, the magnitude of a global pandemic drastically shifts the capacity of impact at which a business continuity plan should cover and the amount of time that goes into creating one. It goes well beyond the systems of prevention and recovery to also include systems that can withstand long-term variability and uphold ongoing executions for an indeterminate recovery period.
In terms of data, what does this mean for an organization? While ensuring data security is a mission-critical priority, a continuity plan should also provide the layer of optimizing that secure data to avoid additional costs spent on a lack of productivity or lost time.
Benefits of Business Continuity Analytics
When we say optimizing secure data, we mean leveraging the expansive data sets that are pre-existing across databases and infrastructures in ways that support or boost organizational-wide performance. Performance, in this case, is not limited to solely financial; but can include critical areas such as productivity, engagement, operational efficiency, service delivery, and customer satisfaction, among others. A continuity plan that is able to hone in on the metrics of focus areas found the most representative to current measures of success should in turn set out to support/stabilize performance financially as well.
That being said, having this information readily available, up-to-date, and in a comprehensive visual format that speaks to all users can help measure the effectiveness of initiatives against the continuity plan goals. Business continuity analytics can help:
- Analyze potential risks and mitigate costs appropriately
- Guide what-if analytics for future strategic planning
- Educate on the implications of past instances on certain metrics
- Uncover hidden insights by identifying correlated metrics and drilling down into KPIs
- Discover alerted areas of opportunity to improve system restoration as well as department-specific processes
- Re-assess how current efforts are working in real-time as opposed to relying on reports that soon become outdated
As mentioned above, a business continuity plan should be rooted in a strong foundation of action-oriented items that surround the systems in place working to maintain and resume operations. However, the execution of these items and strategies should be fluid so they can be both responsive and proactive to new questions or changes that arise. This is particularly important in regards to today’s current landscape where unknowns continue and each new day can open an opportunity for adapting methods of internal/external communication, reporting, or operational processes.
Data Best Practices for Where to Start
For every business and organization, the starting line looks different – due to both internal circumstances as well as surrounding environmental factors. Regardless of where you find your organization and in what capacity you’re able to follow through, it’s important to be aware of where you are and where you need to go. For some, these steps may already be in place. For others, they may need a renewed sense of urgency; and for some, they may be the next main focus area.
- Understand how data is currently being used across departments, roles, and business-wide. Is it providing the right set of mission-critical measurements to guide further action? What data sources are missing from the story – does it seem to lack information that would fill the gaps for more effective decision-making? Asking these questions can initiate you’re following the direction toward best practices of data integration.
- As you look towards combining data sources, also ask the question – What’s the quality of your data? Before COVID-19, what form of data management did you have in place, and how does that look different now in terms of accessibility and accuracy?
- Gauge the results of meetings, reports, or touch-bases that use data and analytics to drive objective, clear discussion. How data-driven are they?
- Identify current metrics and KPIs and those that still need to be measured. Are they representative and transparent of the timely business objectives set in place right now that will hopefully enable long-term impact? Learn how to define strategic KPIs that do more than just report, but tell the whole story.
- Storyboard dashboards that can make your data story come to life, streamline automated reporting, and make analytics easier and more efficient for everyone involved.
- Lead with empowerment and patience. Influence everyone to get on board in taking on responsibilities that come with making better use of data by learning how to interpret data visualization, or even create it. When more people can engage with your data, it makes all the difference.
This outline hopefully provides the initial areas of emphasis for what will substantiate a greater conversation for building and maintaining a successful and attainable business continuity plan.
At TruOI, we are always centered on the needs of any data challenge you may have, providing you with a customized solution that meets you where you are so you can get where you want to be. We want to connect you back to what matters by transforming what data means to your business; and specifically, your business resiliency.
Check out our other related pieces below for additional insight, or contact us to start a conversation.