Why You Need a Digital-First Business Continuity Management Approach

In the modern digital economy, a digital-first business continuity management approach can help organizations ensure that their IT assets continue to operate and deliver value.

Digital technology acts as the machinery of the modern organization. If that technology suffers from interruptions, service outages, or other problems, then organizational performance will also suffer.

Business continuity management is a holistic discipline dedicated to identifying and minimizing potential threats to an organization, as well as the impacts presented by those threats.

Unless organizations develop contingency plans for potential disruptions and threats – such as data breaches, IT service outages, or supply chain disruptions – they will be completely unprepared when disruptions do occur.

However, there are a number of other reasons why business continuity management is important.

The Value of Business Continuity Management

DRI International, a non-profit whose mission is to help organizations prepare for and recover from disasters, claims that there are several reasons why organizations need business continuity management:

  • Business continuity management is a legal requirement for many industries, such as healthcare and finance
  • Customers often demand it from their vendors
  • Insurance coverage increases
  • Business continuity management can improve an organization’s reputation

Clearly, there are quite a number of reasons to focus on business continuity.

But perhaps the most important of all is the actual minimization of risk, service interruption, and damage, as mentioned above.

Since this business field is holistic, it naturally takes into account all potential threats, both physical and digital. However, since digital technology drives the modern organization, it is crucial to pay close attention to the digital side of the equation when developing business continuity plans.

Technology’s Role in the Modern Organization

Digital technology is completely transforming the modern organization, with 85% of business leaders believing that digital is important for success, according to Deloitte.

Digital transformation – leveraging technology to enable new business capabilities, enhance business value, and improve organizational performance – is occurring to businesses around the globe. 

But digital technology isn’t just affecting individual businesses, it’s impacting the way people work. According to the World Economic Forum, for instance, technology will disrupt the workforce on a massive scale: between 2 million and 2 billion could lose their jobs to automation and technological innovations, for instance.

At the same time, new technology offers a great deal of potential value and will also create new jobs. By 2025, the logistics and electricity industries could see the arrival of up to 6 million jobs globally.

In short, technology is dramatically changing the way we work and conduct business, underpinning the entire business landscape, both at the micro and the macro levels.

To stay competitive in the modern economy, organizations must adopt digital technology regularly, close the gap between humans and machines, and leverage digital innovations more and more each year.

Given our increasing need for technology in business, it should be clear that technology-related disruptions should become more of a concern. 

Business continuity management tends to focus on disaster preparedness and recovery, which is an absolute must … however, organizations that truly want to stay prepared can go several steps further.

Beyond Continuity Management: Improve Resiliency with Technology

It can be difficult to predict how certain events will impact a business – or what role digital technology will play in the event of disruptive change.

In 2020, countless workers around the world were required to work from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Few people could have predicted the importance that digital technology and remote working would play in such a scenario. Yet that situation demonstrated how digital technology could improve organizational agility and resiliency.

In short: digital transformation can help businesses become more flexible and resilient when confronted with disruptive change.

When designing business continuity management efforts, it pays to look beyond contingency plans and engage in digital transformation efforts that can help an organization become more agile and adaptable.

Here are a few areas to focus on when engaging in digital adoption and transformation:

  • Digital adoption. Digital adoption refers to the complete integration of new technology into a workplace. Having a digital adoption strategy and a business unit that manages digital adoption efforts is becoming more and more necessary each day. The more effectively that organizations can adopt new technology, the better they will be able to adapt to digital disruptions.
  • Digital maturity. Digital maturity refers to an organization’s overall digital capabilities. Those capabilities depend in part on the organization’s tools and infrastructure, but also on employees’ skills and the design of the digital workplace. After all, software tools are only valuable to the extent that employees can use them.
  • A digital culture. Mindsets and values also affect an organization’s ability to cope with disruptions. Having a company culture that is digital-friendly can improve employees’ ability to innovate, handle problems, and stay productive. 
  • IT modernization. Legacy IT systems and hardware simply have a harder time competing with more modern solutions. Cloud-based technology, for instance, offers a significant advantage for organizations: workers can use cloud-based SaaS platforms to work from anywhere, a necessity for the virtual workforce. And cloud-based storage offers redundant storage in multiple locations, adding an extra layer of security against potential disasters.

Naturally, organizational changes that focus on these areas should not replace business continuity plans. 

Instead, they should augment them. And business leaders should recognize that the right digital transformation programs can help organizations prepare for and deal with a wide variety of disruptions, digital or not.

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.