Business Continuity

Building Bridges in Higher Education Business Continuity

Business continuity helps organize a business’ response to disruptions and emergencies But business continuity programs don’t come together as easily as that statement does, and this is especially true for larger organizations like colleges and universities.

The best way to build a successful business continuity program, especially for the planners in higher education, is by creating a collaborative environment. Having a collaborative program can really benefit a business continuity program and a good business continuity program should be a synergistic effort amongst many departments.

A partnership between the continuity planner on campus internal departments, and external entities generates the collaborative approach needed for an efficient business continuity management program.

Creating Business Continuity Plan

The COVID-19 crisis has been a perfect stage for demonstrating the value of a strong continuity program. The pandemic forced all colleges and universities to radically change the shape and scope of operations, and adapting was a collective effort between all departments. Continuity planning played a big role in how smooth that transition was for many, putting a focus on short-term planning and setting a long-term planning goal.

The business continuity plans (BCP) guide the restoration of normal day-to-day functions when crises threaten to upend operations. One BCP can’t cover all operations across all departments, however. Departments, especially in higher education, have unique operations and needs, and a general BCP can’t capture all of these nuances. A continuity planner can’t do all the lifting at a higher education institution.

Collaboration allows a business continuity program to thrive, and institutions can bring in ideas, processes, and platforms to facilitate that piece of the operation.

Ingraining Collaboration

Higher education institutions have many departments and collaboration between all departments is crucial during a crisis. Continuity planning is the same, and collaboration should be a central point in the thinking, exercises, and technology used for business continuity.

Continuity planners and their institutions should socialize the idea of a team-based planning approach to make the process go smoothly. Everyone at an organization benefits from strong continuity planning, and that’s exactly how the idea can be sold. Continuity keeps operations going even when it seems impossible, and the value in that is easy to see.

The process of planning needs work for the people who are putting their time into the effort. Technology is the key to making that a reality. Moving on from paper and spreadsheets immediately pushes a more open program out to other departments, one that can seamlessly work with them and accurately capture their operations within plans.

Expanding the role of technology can make a program even more efficient and bake collaboration into the process. The right platforms can automatically push escalations and ensure departments across campus participate, for example. To build a truly collaborative business continuity program, something has to make planning widely accessible, and technology can fill that gap.

Collaboration and Business Continuity

Business continuity programs don’t work if they leave departments out of the process. For colleges and universities, this statement is especially true. Fortunately, collaboration can quickly plant itself into the operation through a change in thinking, exercises, and technology.

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