Business resilience is the ability to maintain continuous operations, protect people and assets, and preserve brand equity in the face of disruptions.
In the early months of 2019, there were few who could have predicted that within one year, businesses around the world would be reeling from the devastating impact of a deadly global pandemic. Research suggests that between March and July of 2020, more than 80,000 small businesses permanently closed their doors as a result. But small businesses weren’t the only ones affected, many large, long-established organizations found themselves facing significant setbacks or even bankruptcy.
Looking back, the message becomes clear: Emergent situations happen, and if you aren’t ready for them, your business might fail.
Business resilience is an approach that attempts to prepare organizations for unforeseen disruptions. Whether facing natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, IT and utility outages, or even a worldwide health crisis, resilient businesses are able to create effective plans of action to survive and recover from emergencies with their infrastructure, customer base, and reputation intact. Building a comprehensive resilience plan gives your business and your people a playbook to follow when standard processes and procedures fail.
There are several risks to not adequately planning business resilience:
Planning helps businesses prepare for a range of likely and
less-likely disruptions. The benefits of planning include the following:
The ISO 22300:2018 defines business continuity as: “the capability of
an organization to continue the delivery of products or services at
acceptable predefined levels following a disruption.” Disruptions can
range from a change in legislation that forces change, to the loss of an
employee. Continuity is the act of anticipating these disruptions and
forming a plan to ensure that business operations can continue in the
event of a disruption.
Business resilience, according to the ISO 22316:2017, is: “the ability of an organization to absorb and adapt in a changing environment to enable it to deliver its objectives and survive and prosper.” Essentially, business resilience is the ability to recover from and adapt to potentially damaging incidents. Having the right mechanisms and contingencies in place empower companies to absorb business disruptions without severe impact to business operations.
A truly resilient business advocates for behaviour that is aligned with a shared vision and purpose. It has an up-to-date understanding of the organisation’s context, and is capable of absorbing, adapting and responding to change. Good governance and management are crucial, and there should be a diversity of skills, leadership, knowledge, and experience.
Ideally, there is coordination across managerial disciplines and contributions from areas of expertise like technical and scientific. Finally, there is a strong degree of risk management and prioritization of risk.
Effective business resilience demands a comprehensive understanding of your business, your customers, and the possible disruptions you might face. It also requires buy-in from your entire organization, from key decision makers to non-management personnel. With that in mind, here are four important tips to help ensure business resilience in your business.
Every business is unique. As such, every business will need to
approach business resilience slightly differently. Start by identifying
important business elements, such as your vision or mission statement.
Determine who your customers are, and what they expect from you. Make
note of your vital processes and procedures.
All this information will help you designate and prioritize essential functions, so that when disruptions occur, you know where you should be focusing your efforts to maintain and recover. Establish an acceptable minimum level of operation, figure out which personnel, functions, and resources you can function without, and know what vulnerabilities you need to overcome to stay in business.
Facilities managers are essential players in establishing effective business resilience plans. By creating operational plans, establishing budgets, initiating training, conducting drills, and more, FMs prepare your facilities and your employees to respond quickly and effectively if a disruption occurs.
As you enter the business resilience planning phase, work closely with your FMs. Having their expertise to inform your strategy will help your business bounce back quickly from otherwise damaging disasters and other unexpected events.
Adverse business events are not as rare as they once were. And while we may think of major disasters as once-in-a-lifetime emergencies that our businesses will likely never have to deal with, this simply is not the case. In fact, the number of these disasters has tripled in the last two decades. And there’s no denying that the very concept of business resilience was put to the test worldwide in the face of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, with agile organizations proving much more capable of weathering the storm.
Safeguarding your business and ensuring continued operation demands a
renewed focus on resilience throughout your entire organization.
ServiceNow continuity management provides the essential resources and
tools to help organizations recover quickly and effectively, minimizing
service downtime while protecting personnel and assets.
With ServiceNow, business resilience is easy. Create reliable continuity plans that prioritize critical functions, identify and reinforce possible weaknesses, reduce negative impact using secondary site definitions and predefined runbooks, and establish vital objectives to help keep everyone working towards the same goal.
You can’t stop emergencies from occurring, but with ServiceNow, you can help make sure that they don’t harm your business, employees, or customers.