This information is extracted from Chapter 95 of my new book, The Ultimate Business Continuity Success Guide: How to Build Real-World Resilience and Unleash Exciting New Value Streams. I hope you enjoy the chapter and my book.
The Three Technology Tools That Can Supercharge Your Business Continuity Program!
By now you know that I believe the right technology, implemented the right way, is the X factor that can move a business resilience program from good to ‘world-class’.
Throughout the book, I have clearly professed my passion and belief that technology provides value that is not attainable from siloed word processing documents and spreadsheets. Word processing documents and spreadsheets have their value, but not as the cornerstones of a mid to enterprise size resilience program, in my opinion and certainly not the road to a real-time program.
Let us begin our discussion at a high level defining my three technology pillars. As we progress through upcoming chapters in this section of the book I will serve up tips on automating phases of your program and offer a scrumptious buffet of current and future technologies that can ignite your program for years to come. I also provide you with important questions I always ask when researching and vetting prospective technology vendor solutions. These powerful tools can also help us produce opportunities ‘far beyond BC’ value, which management loves and makes us indispensable. When I was a Senior Technology Officer with with JP Morgan Chase prior to moving to business continuity in 2002 a large part of my responsibility was finding tools to make programmers more productive and give them the ability to build better systems. Searching for the best tech entailed annual trips to Comdex. Trips I very much enjoyed. Somehow, my passion for technology is even greater today.
Listed below are three major technology components you should consider incorporating into your program:
- A robust situational awareness tool-set. This can be from one vendor or a mixture of commercial and free tools. You must understand your surroundings and what can impact your business and employees. This information is critical to employee safety and potentially the sustainability of your business! Great situational awareness tools go beyond just serving up alerts after they happen. Some use predictive analytics and machine learning to help us ‘see the future’.
- A powerful and easy-to-use business continuity management (BCM) system to centralize all entities that comprise your program. In scope for centralization are BIA’s, RA’s, Plans, Testing, Maintenance and Assessments. The system can also be leveraged by other teams such as Safety, Security and most definitely IT, Cyber Security and Compliance/Audit. This corpus of data will provide insight far beyond the individual parts. You will be able to derive unique insights in the workings of your company. You might be able to spread the cost of a great system over many departments rather than solely from your budget. Importantly, this central repository is a great ‘data silo’ breaker!!!
- A powerful intelligent mass-notification tool that empowers your organization to send hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of consistent interactive notifications to employees or customers. The ability for the recipients to respond is critical for you and management to understand in real-time where employees need assistance.
If you implement these three pillar components they can be epic in elevating your program to ‘near’ world-class’. You will be able to serve your corporation in a highly efficient way.
Yes, I said ‘near world-class’. In order to get to Marty’s ‘top-of-the-mountain world-class’ status it is not easy, but well worth it. Here is what I currently demand of my programs:
- Each of the three pillars must be benefit laden for your company. Forget the worthless bells and whistles.
- Each pillar must give the end-user a great experience. Each must provide a user experience that is simple, elegant, clean and rewarding. If the tools are complicated, convoluted and ‘kludgy’ people will not use them – including your team.
- The three pillars must complement each other. They must make each other better. The sum of the trifecta must be greater than the individual parts.
The three components must behave like a championship sports team. Every professional team has great athletes but to be a championship team, the players must make each other better. This would include talking on defense and passing the ball to people where they can do the most with it. I coached youth basketball for many years and my best teams were easily the ones where the players made each other better. The ones that had a selfish ‘superstar’ and minimal teamwork fell by the wayside. Your technology tools must play as a championship team!
Tip – When you speak with vendors about their solutions ask them how they integrate with other systems. Have them provide examples, case-studies and white-papers. Ask them about API’s, redundancy and latency. These are often the ‘glue’ which can seamlessly mesh systems. We will talk about API’s and system integration further in the upcoming chapter, “Let’s Get Visionary”. We will also discuss something critical you MUST do before buying enterprise software.
Please keep in mind there are many other important technologies we discuss in the book but let’s make sure we have the three pillars in place as a foundation or at least consider their value. We can then add all sorts of beneficial technologies including some amazing Internet of Things tentacles so that our programs come alive and might even have senses through inexpensive sensors. As we move through this exciting part of the book much will become clear. I hope you sense my excitement.