Business continuity planning, or BCP, has become a popular search term in recent weeks — and it’s no wonder.
BBC News recently reported that one in five UK small businesses could fold over the next month due to the economic problems associated with the coronavirus pandemic. And enterprises aren’t safe either.
However, a thorough and swiftly-executed BCP strategy can assist businesses in riding out the storm.
Importance of BCP in times of crisis
A BCP plan outlines the measures and safe-guards an organization puts in place to see it safely through times of crisis — such as the world is experiencing in 2020 with the coronavirus pandemic.
Putting together your BCP strategy well before any crisis occurs, such as natural disasters or cyberattacks, allows your business to be able to react quickly.
Speed is of the essence in circumstances like these. A business’s ability to execute its BCP plan quickly could mean the difference between its survival and collapse.
5 steps to a business-saving BCP plan
1. Secure management buy-in
It’s critical to get senior buy-in for any BCP plan. As with any change management, it’s essential to have strong leadership in order for the rest of the organization to follow.
It’s a good idea to review and assess any existing plans or reports of previous crises. This will help you to identify any gaps and opportunities for improvement, which you can present to the CEO or board of Directors.
A good question to ask management is how quickly they believe stakeholders will expect services to be resumed should a crisis occur. This is sometimes referred to as a “risk appetite” or “organizational tolerance” statement.
2. Do a risk assessment
A risk assessment of the entire organization’s operations is necessary. Once you’ve identified all the possible risks, try to categorize them as follows:
- Loss of Security
- Loss of Building
- Loss of Personnel
- Loss of Equipment/Technology; etc.
Use the principles of risk management, as outlined by leading industry bodies. These are generally very effective in assessing risks associated with business continuity.
3. Analyse the business impact
This is a fundamental part of your business continuity planning. This is when you assess the likely impact of a crisis on the following:
- Financial exposure
- Technological reliance
- Resource requirements across key business areas
4. Create the plan
Now’s the time to start documenting your BCP plan. Be sure to include the following details:
- Scope and objectives
- Operations at risk
- Recovery strategy
- Roles and responsibilities
In the case of businesses dealing with a pandemic situation like COVID-19, their BCP plans would need to include provisions for remote working. This is where tools like the WalkMe Workstation, part of WalkMe for Desktop, become invaluable.
Because WalkMe Workstation is compatible with Windows, MAC, and the Web, it brings WalkMe’s digital guidance experience to any employee’s desktop, wherever they are.
A centralized hub for all business software processes, the Workstation makes life easier for employees having to adapt to changes in operations. Not only that but employers are able to view software usage of all business applications and measure productivity via the Business Productivity Dashboard.
5. Roll-out and training
Seamless execution of BCP planning is critical. Every staff member needs to be aware of the change in direction and the role they need to play.
Enterprises with large numbers of office-based employees need smart, real-time training solutions, like a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for example, in order to communicate changes swiftly.
It can be extremely difficult to maintain high levels of employee engagement while learning from home. Not only that but the IT department is bound to be overloaded with support requests.
With a DAP, remote employees are given in-app guidance, complete with strategically placed content to assist them in their exact moment of need. This closes the so-called “digital gap” between employees and their enterprise software.
Business continuity plan (BCP) templates
You can download a BCP template from SafetyCulture’s website. However, it’s important to remember that your BCP plan should be completely tailored to your organization.
In today’s unprecedented times, it’s more important than ever for businesses to do thorough business continuity planning before a crisis hits.
Swift application of the measures and strategies outlined by your BCP plan make it far more likely that your organization will survive the period of disruption.
Enterprises learning from the COVID-19 crisis need to put their faith in digital tools to empower their workforce and maintain business productivity.
The world looks very different today to 20 years ago and it will likely never be the same. Organizations need to adapt to survive the current threats to their business and adopt new digital business models to maintain relevance.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.