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Covid-19 – Business Continuity and beyond!

By April 23, 2020 No Comments

The Premise
The coronavirus pandemic has caused massive humanitarian disruption, and businesses are no exception. Companies across the world are facing challenges in managing supply chains and workforce. Quarantines and travel restrictions have led to fluctuations in business revenues.

The US has witnessed one of the most brutal phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, with New York being the worst hit. During this crisis, the well-being and safety of employees becomes paramount. However, IT leaders also need to ensure employees have the resources required to work from home securely to run the show.

Like Thomas Friedman said, this is the era of acceleration. Jobs, economy, technology, climate, and society have transformed right in front of our eyes. In the current situation, it has become crucial for businesses to ensure Business Continuity.

For IT leaders, this means having plans to bolster business continuity and run it smoothly during crisis no matter what shape they take. Right from adding data centers, to communicating the difficulties of remote work, IT leaders are in for a long haul!

When it comes to Business Continuity Plans, most organizations struggle to execute since the plan remains only on papers. BCP is all about staying on your feet all the time. It is all about how quickly businesses adopt changes during times of crisis.

Given the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses are now assessing their readiness to the impact this crisis could have on their supply chain, employee well-being, and other operations. The implementation of BCP enables businesses in restoring and resuming critical functions. The approach provides a layer of shield to the most vital assets of the company, data, people, revenue, and reputation.

Let’s look at the top concerns for the Chief Information Officer, and how to reduce this stress:
Encourage a Resilient Culture
We are living in a highly unpredictable world today. Organizations should foster a culture of compassionate, calm, and empathetic employees. Workers who have digital capabilities and like to work in a collaborative environment should be the norm.

The success of any organization, during these trying times, depends on how proactively it addresses critical situations by implementing innovative solutions. The organization should identify possible opportunities to adapt and develop new business models.

The COVID-19 is neither the first, nor would it be the last outbreak to impact the world. It has taught us harsh, but proper lessons on how to be proactive and better prepare for such incidents.

Create an Ecosystem, Based on Social Collaboration
Employee ecosystem should not be limited to their workspace alone. It should be much broader and easily accessible to employees, like childcare and healthcare. If organizations can weave all these together, it would create an improved social ecosystem.

An organization’s broader ecosystem should incorporate skilled, niche, flexible, and contract workers. They could generate the need for digital solutions to collude not only with their coworkers but also with the broader ecosystems like healthcare and childcare.

Encourage Agile Workplace Model
Work from home equipped with data, technology, and security should be enabled, based on the nature of work and the relevant skills. Approaches like these should be the new norm, considering the technology available and the related infrastructure. A workplace enabled by such flexibilities align with millennial expectations.

Address critical issues across business functions by creating diverse teams. The focus of these teams should be to resolve unexpected problems.

Create a global organization by adopting the agile model. It allows employees to work across locations, pick up new skills, yet be highly productive.

Machine Enabled Human Workforce
Organizations should strive towards making the transactional process more data-driven to reduce stress on operations. With today’s technology, it is possible to achieve efficient automation.

A machine enabled human workforce will allow organizations to redeploy and reskill its employees and assure continuous operations while using AI-led real-time monitoring. Machines are capable of learning continuously and would provide an excellent source for further scaling operations.

While digitalization can resolve transactional and repeat processes, the human workforce can focus on solving complex problems incapable of being addressed by the machine.

Enhance Cybersecurity
While remote work gives you great flexibility, there are cybersecurity risks that organizations can encounter during this crisis. The COVID-19 outbreak has seen a surge in cyberattacks exploiting the current chaos. There is a need to beef up cyber protocols to deal with compromised security.

People-based initiatives like pop-up windows, lock screens, two-way communication channels can go a long way in enhancing cybersecurity. Security technologies like multifactor authentication, control mechanisms to provide remote access on-premise should be the new norm.

Adopt Global Services Model
Use of a blend of service models to mitigate risk to the organization. Shared global services allow organizations to deliver high performance anywhere and anytime. A command center for a virtual workforce enables real-time distribution of work across the network.

Collaborate with the most dependable service providers to ensure brilliant execution. Allocate intricate work based on capabilities instead of location and time while also maintaining assurance and compliance.

Embrace the Change
Disruptions, like the COVID-19 pandemic, brings in a wealth of new opportunities. Use this time to renegotiate favorable contracts with vendors.

You cannot predict disruptions like these and the impact it could have on your business. However, being disruption-ready pays off, as it is not as tricky as responding too late after it has transpired.

Closing Thoughts!
The coronavirus has created massive disruption throughout the world, and it is spreading like wildfire. It calls for equally agile actions by businesses across the globe. However, these actions should be in line with the organization’s BCP.

A collaborative cum pragmatic approach is the need of the hour to beat this crisis. Acknowledge good work where due, and it will go a long way in maintaining business continuity.

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