I’ve been traveling a lot this week but I did manage to catch some of the World Series between the Dodgers and the Astros, and in watching the players field and hit I was struck by their seemingly superhuman level of agility. Seeing a good shortstop field a sharply hit ball, moving to intercept it, transferring the caught ball from his glove to his throwing hand, and throwing it accurately across the body to first base, all in the blink of an eye, is a pleasure that never grows old. Success in that role is all about the ability to anticipate what might happen, respond instantaneously, and move purposefully with quickness and control. In a word: agility.
Watching the Series reminded me that it’s not just in baseball that agility is one of the critical performance attributes. It’s important in business continuity management as well. As business continuity professionals, when we confront facility damage or a cyber attack, we respond swiftly, evaluating the threat and moving to meet it with purpose and coordination. Agility is a key component of successful performance whether you are a World Series shortstop or a business continuity manager.
Unfortunately, many of the BCM programs that I’ve come to know in my talks with BCM professionals around the country are anything but agile. I would more accurately describe them as clunky, cumbersome, or lethargic.
This points the way to an important truth: agility is hard. It’s not natural to respond with lightning quickness and accuracy to a chaotic situation. What’s natural is to duck and cover and hope you don’t get hit. But if you are in the BCM business, you’ve chosen to sit in the hot seat, and agility is one of the traits you and your program need to have.
With this in mind, I put my head together with that of some of my consultants and we identified five main challenges companies face in trying to make their BCM programs agile. They are:
The more complex a BCM program is, the harder it is for the program to adapt to new challenges. Larger organizations tend to have larger, more complex BCM programs. Managers of these programs have their work cut out for them in trying to make their programs agile and responsive.
2. Lifecycle parameters
BCM programs go through lifecycles, and making changes to them is easier at some points in the lifecycle than others. A firm’s ability to change can be limited by the speed of the cycle that they are going through.
3. Unfamiliarity with the BCM process
Many companies struggle to understand the BCM process as well as their business continuity needs and what the ideal program should look and feel like. That lack of understanding can be a serious impediment to their change efforts.
4. Unfamiliarity with current threats and risks
The threats and risks companies face have changed a great deal in recent years and the threats are ever-evolving. Many firms are still coming to terms with the new threat environment and what to do about it.
5. Fear of change
Adapting to change is always a challenge for organizations. People get used to things being a certain way and they worry that change will mean the loss of things they like or new burdens and problems. People fear the unknown, disruptions to their work and routines, and that they won’t have sufficient budget or that changes will take place too fast. These fears are natural, but if you do not manage your fears, the result is often paralysis.
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There are no magic bullets to help your company instantly attain a state of peak agility. However, BCM software, even when it is designed and purchased for other reasons, typically performs a number of functions that will tend to make your program more agile.
Here are five good ones:
1. BCM software connects isolated functions.
By delivering a unified view of the BCM program across the organization, BCM software allows organizations to connect up functions that otherwise would be carried out in separate isolated silos. This can help your company communicate and collaborate better and respond more rapidly to change.
2. BCM software improves predictive modeling.
BCM software can provide the ability to quickly and concisely identify the impacts of proposed changes to your business, including the risks to your business model, your suppliers, and your financials. This allows you to better manage the resources, plans, strategies, and testing required to minimize the risks and impacts to your stakeholders.
3. BCM software facilitates incremental change.
BCM software can track and report the trends in improvement in the levels of compliance and reduction in risk. This facilitates the implementation of a constant stream of incremental improvements. These are the kind of improvements that we believe are the most practical and advisable. They involve evolutionary change as opposed to transformational change.
4. BCM software facilitates decision-making.
A key component of agility is being able to make decisions quickly and efficiently. BCM software helps with this through its ability to provide program managers with heightened visibility into their programs and risk levels. By providing an objective method for analyzing data and information, BCM software can help management make better, faster decisions.
5. BCM software builds self-awareness and reduces fear.
If you want your organization to become more agile and more responsive to your BCM needs, your leaders need to create a culture where you acknowledge, welcome, and move through fear. For this to happen at an individual level, the BCM professional needs to be aware of who they are. They need to identify their strengths, weaknesses, fears, and dreams. The process of using BCM software draws the individual into engaging with these topics and helps in building this self-awareness.
Agility is as important for a BCM program as it is for a shortstop playing in the World Series. In my opinion, it’s more important, since even at the level of the World Series, baseball is only a pastime. Minimizing the impacts of a disruption to your company and customers is no game.
Consider BCMMetrics™ Business Continuity Management Tools
These are some of the ways that using BCM software can improve the agility of your organization. The software tools developed by BCMMetrics can provide just these types of benefits. If you’re searching for business continuity software, take a look at BCMMetrics. Our cloud-based solutions facilitate compliance across your business continuity program and include tools to help with:
- Conducting BIAs. BIA On-Demand (BIAOD) gives you all the right questions to ask for every BIA interview. It also organizes the data to provide insights and easily share with your team.
- Evaluating standards compliance. Compliance Confidence (C2) makes it simple to assess your program’s level of compliance against key industry standards. It also gives you a “FICO-like” score that helps identify areas for improvement.
- Assessing your program’s residual risk. Residual Risk (R2) quantitatively identifies where pockets of residual risk exist and helps you evaluate how to handle them.
We also offer eight hours of free consulting in the first year to help with each tool to make sure you’re getting everything you want out of it. Our tools are intuitive, secure, and get the job done. If that’s what you’re looking for in a business continuity management system, schedule a free demo of our software today.