Do You Know the Current Business Climate?

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Understanding how the business climate is changing  will allow to you start looking at how you may need to change your recovery and resiliency strategies.

I was recently talking with my father who was in the convenience store and gasoline distribution business his entire career. We were talking about planning and how the business climate changes over time. He mentioned that when pay-at-the-pump devices first came to stations, his company resisted implementing them. Their convenience store model was to get customers to walk into the store to pay so they would purchase additional items. Their money was not made on gas sales, but on the sale of store items (beverages, candy, etc.). My father was an advocate of putting the new pumps in. He saw it as being more important than just having customers walk into the store, but instead making sure that customers were comfortable using the store for both gas purchases and quick stops for other items. If they got in the habit of using a different store to get gas because of pay-at-the-pump, they would likely stop at that store for drinks and other items as well. The result: a lost customer.

Do you know how your business climate may be evolving? Do your current processes or paradigms still meet customer needs and desires? In previous blogs and presentations, we have encouraged those in continuity planning to learn about their business processes. Understanding how the business climate is changing – and how business processes and functions may be changing along with that – will allow to you start looking at how you may need to change your recovery and resiliency strategies.

Consider the items below as you identify how your business may be changing.

Technology/Data

As your technology strategy evolves to meet the needs of the business climate, you need to re-assess the impacts of an event on IT recovery. What is the network impact? Network traffic, availability, and additional devices need to be addressed. Will the need for increased bandwidth impact other areas? What about change in the number of transactions? How might that impact data requirements? Will you need to look at a more resilient architecture rather than a recovery architecture?

How has data changed? What are the HIPAA or PII impacts? How will you ensure that this information is protected during an emergency event or when processing at a recovery location? Will there be changes to your online or social presence; has that changed the recovery/availability requirement?

People

People’s roles and responsibilities may have changed over time. Have these changes created a need for a different maintenance schedule or cycle? How will that impact staffing and shifts? What about potential natural events that may impact personnel availability or access? Will your staffing strategies during events need to change?

Locations

With the change in business processes, does the importance of the physical location change? Are people in the locations at different hours? Will security have to change? While the risks to the locations may remain constant, the impact of any given event may evolve over time.

Documentation

You should also consider how you may need to adjust your recovery plans over time. Will you need to readjust the relocation strategy or workaround procedures to address the changing environment? Will the dependencies between departments impact the continuity strategy? Contact lists and notification processes may have to be modified.

Unsure of where to start? Understanding your current business climate should be an important factor in all your planning efforts. A good place to start your assessment is with a current BIA (Business impact analysis). You can use the BIA information to see how changes may impact the entire organization and what business units may need to be addressed.

by Richard Long, Senior Advisory Consultant, MHA Consulting

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