Creating a Framework to Maintain Business Continuity During Disruption

Written By: Julie Fancher
March 19, 2020
4 min read

We are living in a time of unprecedented disruption and volatility to our everyday life. As the world grapples with the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), we are all learning to adapt and adjust to changes like working remotely, social distancing, sheltering in place, among other things that require everyone to rely more heavily on technology to connect.

Your organization has different teams with subject matter experts that specialize in specific, different areas of the business. Operations is what connects those different divisions and people to make sure everything stays on track.

You are more critical than ever in managing and maintaining business continuity. When business as usual is no longer usual, it’s imperative to outline and establish processes that can help make your business one that can withstand any crisis.

Improving your operations and streamlining your processes can help give you a competitive advantage in an increasingly global business environment. Now is the time to address the impact to your critical business operations and ensure operational continuity in a time of crisis.

In this time when you are working just to maintain business continuity, this is a suggested framework to help establish those processes and data to help prioritize what problems to address, how to create governance to ensure the processes are secure, how to deploy and then scale your solution within your organization and finally take feedback, iterate, and continuously improve.

1. Address the Immediate Problem

Right now, there are likely a number of problems that you need to quickly address as you adapt to dealing with volatility.

Is it streamlining your processes to better track your assets while everything is done remotely? Is it finding a way to easily track students in need of breakfasts or lunch while schools are closed? Is it rapidly creating an application for people to submit their symptoms? Is it getting critical data out of your legacy systems and in the hands of your employees? Are your offices open and you need to track inventory and back-suppliers?

Whatever it may be, it’s critical that you first zero in on one problem that will have the greatest impact. Narrowing the scope will help prioritize efforts and get your team on the same page.

2. Establish Governance

Establishing a governance framework in a fast pace, rapidly changing environment is a critically important step to set rules and permissions. It also helps determine who is the point person for developing solutions and addressing any problems.

Governance is especially important when dealing with sensitive data, like information relating to healthcare or in other highly regulated industries.

Governance frameworks will also allow you to determine who owns the application, who is able to build, who is able to edit and access the application, what is the source of the truth, what is the process of creating new solutions, and what is the application roadmap moving forward, among other things.

It’s important to note that part of establishing a governance framework in an emergency situation is that it might only involve one to two people. This helps to ensure that multiple people aren’t working on the same solution at the same time and that there is a single source of truth.

3. Deploy and Scale

You are likely moving quickly to try to solve an immediate problem that is hampering your operations or limiting your ability to serve your internal stakeholders, customers, or the community.

In order to ensure success, it important that there are clear and intentional processes to establish enablement and adoption measures. This will ensure that users see the benefit of the application and quickly adopt it instead of relying on old processes that may no longer work, especially in an emergency or rapidly evolving situation.

While you are moving to address these immediate problems, it is also important to think about scalability. Your solution may be helpful to another department within your organization. Having governance in place will also assist with scaling your solution organization-wide.

4. Iterate to Continuously Improve

Finally, working to iterate and continuously improve will allow you to target additional use cases or problems.

In order to keep up with the rapid changes that we have seen in dealing with disruption, you must continue to innovate, take feedback, adapt quickly and improve those processes and solutions that are providing the greatest impact.

Once you have gone through the effort of iterating your application, there must be the discipline to continuously review and improve. These solutions could not only help maintain business continuity during this disruptive period but provide a significant benefit and service to your customers and community.

Written By: Julie Fancher

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