A Business Resilience / Business Continuity (BRBC) website or mobile app are great ways for employees to easily access important information. These are also wonderful branding opportunities for your program.

Tools I mention in the category include HTML5, BCM

Your website can include:

  • Breaking news
  • Critical emergency phone numbers
  • Best practices
  • BC team member’s bio’s
  • BC team members contact info
  • Links to important websites such as NOAA, FEMA, Weather.com
  • Local alert services reporting nearby incidents – use geo-location if you have multiple sites geographically dispersed
  • Simple secure metric reports tied to a back-end database. You get extra credit for building this feature/benefit!
  • New Business Continuity Plan request form. So, process owners can populate and send you basic information on their process

Consider a section focusing on the well-being and safety of your employees outside of work. For example, a personal plan template and information, a pet plan template and information, an In Case of Emergency (ICE) wallet card template and a home emergency supply kit template. Remember, if people do not have a personal plan and supplies, it probably will impact their ability to come to work during a disruptive event.

You can also include the ability for users to view their business continuity plans on the site, but that will raise the bar on security and role based access. I believe this is better served in a BCM tool, which can be linked to your web portal or mobile app.

Building your website:

If you have basic html skills, you can easily design a simple website. It does not have to be fancy. Start simple and grow. If your company uses SharePoint, you can build a simple SharePoint repository and blog. You can even buy an inexpensive web template on a site like 99designs.com that will look professional and can be customized by your team. I have created hundreds of custom websites and several SharePoint portals.

Another excellent alternative is WordPress. I am quite impressed how far it has come. You can quickly easily build a full featured blog, which is great for interacting with employees or you can use WordPress to build a full feature web site. If you host WordPress on your own server, you can choose from thousands of themes. Each theme’s look and feel can be customized through an easy to use interface.

If you have basic HTML, CSS and PHP skills you can even dive into the underlying files that make up a WordPress theme and customize every detail of your site.

WordPress also has thousands of plug-ins that can be installed in minutes and provide some very nice benefits.

To learn more about WordPress visit WordPress.org. If you decide you do not want to host your WordPress site, you can have it hosted on WordPress.com. If you host the site, you will have more customizing options.

By the way, 95%+ of my programming skills are self-taught. Little-by-little I improved my skills and ultimately, I built enterprise database solutions for some of the largest companies in the world.

My advice is to start on small projects first and learn. Every programming language I learned I started with a tiny ‘Hello World’ program. It provides a simple win and it has become a good luck tradition for me. There are many great books and websites devoted to building websites.

If you need advice contact me (marty@ultimatebusinesscontinuity.com).

Building your app:

If you love to code like I do or you just want to learn and have fun, you can try your hand at building an app for your employees. It is not hard. There are three ways you can build apps. I list each below from the simplest to the most difficult:

HTML5 app development:

If you used HTML5 to build your website it will work on mobile devices as well. HTML5 is ‘responsive’ which means it will adapt to desktop screens, tablets and mobile phones. HTML5 is easy to learn and fun to use. The downside is, it does not have as many features as native or cross-platform tools but you most likely will not need those ‘bells and whistles’.

Tip – If you use HTML5 be sure to test on various mobile devices. You may have to tweak the code for your site to look good on different devices.

Cross-platform app development – a powerful development solution:

Believe it or not, it really is not that hard to create a cool looking app that runs on multiple platforms.

Rather than programming your app in the latest native language specific to IOS or Android, which will entail developing and maintaining a couple versions of the code, you can use one of the powerful cross platform developer tools built specifically to ‘write-once’ and run on multiple platforms. These tools use a higher-level language such as JavaScript to develop apps. Higher level scripting languages are powerful and much easier to master than lower level languages such as Java, Swift or C# (C sharp).

I have built native apps as well as cross platform apps. For business resilience related apps, I think it makes more sense to go the cross platform route.

Tip – Cross platform app development tools have greatly matured in the past few years. They are more reliable and feature laden then 3-4 years ago. Many successful companies are thriving using cross platform developed apps.

You will have to do some minor tweaking to have your app run on both IOS and Android, but compared to developing at a lower level for each platform, it is a minuscule effort. Also, updating the apps is much easier than maintaining multiple code bases.

Native app development:

Beside wowing your management, a native app allows you to take full advantage of a mobile devices hardware and software features. You can interact with contacts, phone, notifications, cameras, accelerometers, etc..

Tip – I will warn you that developing native apps can be time consuming and complex. Unless you are a programmer, this might not be the best choice for you.

Whichever method you choose I commend you for taking on the challenge. Happy Coding!