The fruits of business resilience

  • About ServiceNow
  • Trends and Research
  • Cybersecurity and Risk
  • Lana Gates
  • 2021
October 07, 2021

Business resilience: Two employees with face masks work at computers in an office.

Business disruption can happen any time, especially when you least expect it. That’s why it’s critical to have a business resilience plan in place.

“We define organizational resilience as the ability to maintain performance in the face of environmental, political, social, cyber, and other disruptions,” explains ServiceNow Chief Financial Officer Gina Mastantuono in the Workflow Quarterly Fall 2021 issue.

The issue details research by ServiceNow and ESI ThoughtLab that highlights the need for a resilience strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis: Only 26% of US, 21% of Asia-Pacific, and 15% of European organizations ranked as resilience leaders, meaning they’ve taken 12 to 24 steps toward resilience maturity.

The majority of organizations across regions fall in the intermediate range, having taken six to 11 steps toward resilience maturity. Clearly, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

The benefits of business resilience

Organizations are implementing measures to bolster their resilience stance to reap such benefits as:

  • Greater revenue or sales
  • Reduced costs and greater efficiencies
  • Better planning and decision-making
  • Increased customer satisfaction and retention
  • Improved health and safety

Half of the 1,080 senior business leader survey respondents are working to modernize their IT platforms and improve communications (see Figure 1). Others are focusing on resilience training and managing privacy risks.

Top steps being taken to improve resilience and manage risks now: Modernize IT platforms 50%; Improve communications 50%; Provide resilience training 40%; Assess and manage privacy risks 39%; Provide vision and objectives 35%; Improve regulatory compliance 33%; Accelerate It support 32%; Adopt business continuity tools 32%; Digitize customer experiences 32%; Set up resilience-related roles 30%; Build a resilience-focused culture 30%.

Figure 1: Top steps being taken to improve resilience and manage risks now; source: ESI ThoughtLab


Returns vs. usage

Part of the hesitance in fully embracing a resilience strategy is uncertain return on investment. Organizations have to weigh investments in resilience efforts against potential outcomes and realized value. For example, although more than half (55%) of organizations are reaping returns from deploying tools that help them understand resilience, only 23% have deployed such tools (see Figure 2).

Similar gaps occur in other areas, the biggest of which is managing third-party risks: Half of survey respondents see the value of doing this, but only 15% have taken steps toward doing so. “What’s really needed is a high-level framework that focuses foremost on business resilience,” notes Tom Campanile, a partner at Ernst & Young, in reference to risk management.

Top resilience steps generating value vs. % taking steps: Deploy tools to understand resilience 55% vs. 23%; Provide vision and objectives 53% vs. 35%; Manage third-party risks 50% vs. 15%; Manage environmental, social risks 50% vs. 24%; Set up roles 50% vs. 30%; Increase focus on continuity planning, etc. 48% vs. 25%; Create a common toolset 48% vs. 20%; Integrate digitized workflows into platform 47% vs. 24%; Create reporting on risk indicators 47% vs. 19%; Adopt continuity planning tools 46% vs. 32%; Build scenario planning into strategy 46% vs. 26%; Build resilient ecosystem 46% vs. 17%; Establish accountabilities and rewards 46% vs. 22%

Figure 2: Top resilience steps generating value vs. % taking steps; source: ESI ThoughtLab


Follow the leader

Perhaps the best approach toward a more robust resilience posture is following what resilience leaders are doing:

  1. Build resilience plans early—This makes them less costly and more effective.
  2. Design for resilience—This will enable better performance.
  3. Embrace digital technology and solutions—This will help drive resilience.
  4. Assess critical business processes—Doing so will provide insight into how risks affect them.

As organizations become more resilient, their benefits increase. Having a management team that’s committed to boosting resilience is key.

Take a four-question quiz to assess the resilience of your organization. Get more insights into the importance and benefits of business resilience in the Workflow Quarterly Resilience issue.

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