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The one sure thing about Mother Nature is its unpredictable, even fierce disposition.
A scan of recent news provides the evidence. Tornadoes, heavy rains and hail have dealt significant destruction to the Midwestern United States, causing great personal and economic damage. In Europe, a new study shows that certain areas of the continent will face extreme weather events more frequently in the decades ahead. Thankfully, experts in construction, weather forecasting, and emergency response continue to create new innovations to get people and businesses back on their feet more quickly and mitigate the impact of future events.
In business, incidents similar to these appear often and can present significant obstacles on the road to success. While we plan for the worst and hope that what we built will never have to be used, businesses must be prepared for anything…including what can’t be planned for. To meet these challenges, business resiliency is crucial to maintaining competitive advantage and protecting brand reputation. Companies today are looking for new ways to unlock the full value of business resiliency in a time when impenetrable data protection and “always on” services are expected.
To fully understand the breadth of business resiliency, organizations must think beyond traditional disaster recovery and business continuity management when building new programs, deploying resources, and adapting to the changing needs of clients and customers. Responding to risks by framing them as opportunities to achieve an organization’s objectives faster makes for a more trusted partner and enables growth.
In addition to disaster recovery and business continuity, things like operational availability, personal expertise, facilities, regulatory compliance, market readiness, and security and privacy, all factor into business resiliency, and contribute to the vitality of a company’s IT infrastructure and strategic direction.
Below are three keys to effectively aligning a business resiliency framework with an organization’s strategic direction to unlock its full value:
- Get participation from senior leadership. Establish a resiliency framework that consists of centralized governance and emphasizes risk mitigation, business integration, and IT services. The framework must create value while accounting for an organization’s unique culture and attributes. A more holistic approach can move conversations from IT recovery to supporting corporate objectives.
- Elevate the resiliency discussion to the strategic level. Demonstrate value by establishing business resiliency as a means to support growth. Approaching risk resolution in this way gives leaders more confidence to innovate for the future and underscore business continuity as part of an enterprise risk management strategy. A smart approach goes further by proactively driving resiliency into the operational design, rather than simply settling for reactive recovery plans or underwriting risk.
- Establish a more business-centric approach. Tying business continuity to business goals can have lasting benefits for an organization’s bottom line. With the help of senior business leaders, critical processes can be identified and prioritized to inspire action in previously overlooked areas. If implemented correctly, this approach can bring greater clarity, overcome conflicting agendas, and move businesses in the right direction.
Now in the cognitive era, the continuous availability of data, systems, applications and business processes is becoming fundamental to the way businesses are strategizing for the future. At IBM, we are working to promote the full value of business resiliency by investing in new capabilities to help clients both prepare for obstacles and elevate resiliency’s role to one that is wide reaching and necessary to their success. More often than not, the clients and customers that embrace this model will find themselves ahead of the pack and well on their way to their intended destinations.
Business Continuity Awareness Week 2016, taking place from May 16-20, is an international event to raise the awareness of business continuity and overall business resilience around the world. For more information, visit The Business Continuity Institute.