Schneider Electric explains how your company can adapt and survive a crisis like COVID-19.
27 May, 2020
It was ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who first said “change is the only constant in life.” a proverb which is ringing very true in this new environment the business world has found itself in since the COVID-19 outbreak. It will be how organisations plan for, and neutralise the potentially devastating impacts of these emergency situations that can be critical to a businesses very survival. For many small and medium-sized businesses, the statistics paint a grim picture, revealing that 40% never reopen after a disaster, and of those that do, 25% fail within one year. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the US. Ready.gov has estimated that 63% of companies have no process in place to bounce back after an emergency. Worrying news given the current environment however, just because crises like pandemics, climatic events, natural disasters and other catastrophic events are beyond our control doesn’t mean their impacts cannot be anticipated, evaluated and mitigated. We now have the technological capability to actively boost business continuity and viability in the face of these unanticipated events — or we can make their consequences worse by ignoring foreseeable risks.
We now have cutting-edge digital platforms which combine advanced analytics with remote connectivity which offer companies the visibility they need to identify potential vulnerabilities, and we can confront and lessen shocks from sudden, fast-moving threats to business continuity. Leveraging digital technology gives leaders mission critical data that helps them prepare in advance for emerging situations. Through anticipating emergencies and running mitigation scenarios in advance, businesses are able to prioritise and execute more effective crisis response tactics, and reduce risks for their operations, employees and customers.
Unplanned events, like COVID-19, can and no doubt have had a devastating effect on your business, particularly in our interdependent and interconnected world. It takes a smart company to realise that having both technology and planning in place to speed their incident recovery and protect people, assets and earnings, is absolutely critical.
Business continuity planning shifts the focus from the emergency itself, to identifying and protecting vital processes within your organisation. Every organisation’s response blueprint will contain a unique combination of risk, incident, crisis and continuity management features. No matter the operational context, to make your company resilient requires proactively planning to overcome the consequences of uncertainty, and using digital tools is the way to achieving these better outcomes.
Equipping critical infrastructure before the disaster strikes is obviously the first step to being prepared. While we are very much in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, planning for the disaster is still possible. For example, BASF has combined digitization with remote monitoring so cloud-based connected services can ensure operational data is up-to-date, centralised and stored in a secure, readily available digital vault. Physical and production assets are fully catalogued, so management has visibility into the criticality of each business process, as well as the knowledge required to maintain operations. Digital technologies give stakeholders access to more accurate and complete information so they can reduce guesswork and implement a standardised and coordinated approach to creating and maintaining compliance assessments and audits, in addition to testing business continuity plans. Because technology continuously evolves, pragmatic leaders reassess their organisation’s needs, budget and plans continually, and when the capabilities aren’t available in house, look to the wide variety of managed, professional services that are available to help implement the plan.
One of the benefits of connectivity in our “always-on” digital world is that, when combined with a solid strategy, technology enables speed, agility and knowledge in times of crises like this one. COVID-19 hasn’t respected regular work hours, holidays or weekends, and if your organisation is to be resilient it must be willing and able to engage effectively at a moment’s notice. Apps and mobile crisis platforms can be used to activate key staff immediately and give them direct access to essential information that helps them quickly coordinate business continuity efforts, while enabling team members to identify their role, location and activity more quickly than ever before. We have seen this in practice with most staff are working from home around the world.
In addition to enabling many employees to work off-site, and access remote expertise as circumstances dictate, collaboration applications and virtual/augmented reality software offer the potential for the organisation’s on-site employees to get help troubleshooting their issue from remote service professionals who can access real-time status and condition updates efficiently and provide timely guidance.
Adaptable companies whose planning, strategy and coordination enabled them to weather crisis are frequently more efficient, better connected and more customer-centric. The digital tools that enabled remote workplace collaboration, virtual process management and real-time connectivity can also create a results-focused mindset. And just as trust in your organisation can be irreparably damaged by disruptions and poor incident management, so too can confidence in your brand be greatly enhanced by successful crisis resolution that boosts the customer experience.
Today’s stakeholders expect prompt, real-time updates of a company’s response procedures, mitigation scenarios and best practices that state-of-the-art digital easily enable. Owning the narrative is a key plank in a resilient organisation’s ability to reassure customers and employees that their incident response action team is taking immediate and effective action.
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