What is "Opportunity for Change"
"Opportunity for Change" is a concept is that within all crises there is an opportunity as well as a downside and we, as people responsible for our business continuity should "You never let a serious crisis go to waste". So there is now a window of opportunity to review, reconfigure and reinvigorate our business continuity provision.
Some of the suggested actions are::
- Review - your response to date and lessons learned
- Reconfigure - update and change your, plans, procedures and recovery solutions
- Reinvigorate - your business continuity programmes by planning training and exercises for the next year
Opportunity for Change - Review
Here are some of the questions you could ask yourself and others while conducting your review:
- Did you feel your organisation was ready to respond to COVID-19?
- Were your plans used effectively by the Incident Management Team to respond to COVID-19?
- Was the content of your plans relevant to this incident?
- What in your plans did those responding find useful, and what did they not use?
- Were those in your incident team the people written into your plans or was there a major difference.
- Were your recovery strategies relevant to this incident and were any of them used?
- What tools, techniques, and reporting methodologies have your incident team been using, and have they been captured so that they can be used again?
- Was the exercise and training you carried out over the last few years relevant and did it help the Incident Management Team to respond more effectively?
- Was your incident management hierarchy relevant for this incident or did new teams and layers of incident management have to be invented?
- Where your internal and external communications plans fit for purpose or were the communications response developed as the incident progressed.
- Did you have any specific pandemic plans and where they fit for purpose?
- Was a pandemic on your risk registers and were the control measure or mitigation measures you had in place relevant for COVID-19?
- Do you need to fundamentally change your business continuity response or are only some tweaks necessary?
- Did you use the information in the BIA as part of your response or was the information irrelevant?
We’re working with organisations to provide an external debrief to help answer some of the above questions and provide them with lessons learned for use in the event of further lockdowns.
Opportunity for Change - Reconfigure
Once you have looked at the lessons from COVID-19 there is the opportunity to reconfigure how you deliver business continuity within your organisation:
- Embrace resilience and look to amalgamate a number of different disciplines into one team. This could include cyber / information security, health and safety, physical security, risk management, facilities management, communications, emergency management, human resources and crisis management. Note this list is courtesy of the Business Continuity Institutes "Good Practise Guidelines". Some of the department in this list may be difficult to formally put together. If departments care not going to be in the same department form a group for them to work together. This could be an opportunity to harmonise risk management, incident management, awareness training and spending on the disciplines across the organisation.
- If you look at social media and post on business continuity agile is a word a lot of people are using. People are using this word in lots of different ways but for PlanB Consulting it means to simplify the way you deliver business continuity. Now is a good time to look again at your BIA and Risk Assessment and check it is fit for purpose and it is not stuffed with information which does not add value and nobody is quite sure what it is there.
- Again in a similar way review your plans, did they provide what you needed in the response to the pandemic? Did they contain a whole load of information which was not needed? Have a think about innovative ways to configuring your plans. Could you have checklists to get you through the first 24 hours of any incident and then the remainder of the plan is a larger reference document?
- Develop a formal method for horizon scanning and have regular cross-department meetings (see 2.) to identify new and increasing threats. Those who read Charlie's blog are constantly being informed of new threats and issues they should consider which might impact on their organisation.
- Do you have the right business continuity team? Do they have the skills required to deliver and drive business continuity across your organisation? Would software help you better monitor and deliver business continuity. Do you have too many staff or too few? A good internal review or get a third party (PlanB Consulting?) to review your business continuity and take this opportunity to reconfigure how your organisation delivers business continuity.
As staff are thinking about going back to work then there is the opportunity to look again at your business continuity programme. This could include:
- Awareness training for staff and reminding of all the other threats beyond COVID-19 which could take place especially with winter coming in the next few months.
- Carry out training and upskilling of staff
- Review and update you plans with lessons learned from COVID especially where recovery solutions have changed
- Look again at your exercise programme and develop it for the next 3/4/5 years
Further details of debriefing and to book a debrief with PlanB Consulting click here