Interdependencies and Thinking Outside Your Organization
Crises can hit businesses unexpectedly at any time. When an organization is faced with a crisis, it’s important to be prepared by all means. With the inherent uncertainty crises bring, your organization needs to be ready for anything from a small hiccup to a worst case scenario.
Any crisis that hits your business has the ability to also disrupt the businesses around yours. Local disasters often send waves through communities and force businesses within certain regions to rebound. Additionally, industries and its geographically disparate players can undergo supply shortages, targeted cyber attacks, and other continuity threats.
Business continuity is intended to help a business shore up its weaknesses when these incidents happen. As a planner, you can implement dozens of policies and processes within your organization to build resilience, but interdependencies can still throw wildcards into your organization’s continuity planning.
The Importance of Interdependencies in Business Continuity
Interdependencies are the natural result of many business operations for organizations. Silos are rare in today’s world because so many processes and operations benefit from the helping hands of other people and organizations.
As a result, internal connections develop between departments. Most organizations also rely on external partnerships and take on vendors to make their services available to their customers. Business continuity programs need to fully document these internal webs and external connections to fully prepare their organization for disruptions.
If an organization doesn’t map its external interdependencies, incidents become much more of a gamble. An organization may survive on a few select streams; knowing which of these streams are most essential to operations and processes helps an organization build its resilience and secure back-ups should the primary streams stop. Business continuity programs need to plan for disruptions that happen outside the organization.
Working Interdependencies into Your Business Continuity Program
Strong business continuity program management is imperative to a company’s success during crises. Program management ensures that large scale initiatives are being delivered. Strong business continuity program management will pinpoint your organization’s most important interdependencies and help prevent setbacks during responses and plan activations.
Proper business continuity program management should prepare an organization for all possible events. Therefore, a solid business continuity program should have a strong sense of its organization’s external interdependencies, as these connections can break the shell of resilience an organization builds around itself in the absence of proper program management. How can you ensure your business continuity program captures these interdependencies and limit their impacts on your organization? â€
1. Contingency and Business Continuity Plans
When a crisis hits, what does your organization do? How prepared is your organization?
You should not only ask these questions of your organization, but of your partner businesses and vendors. Their preparedness is your preparedness and this fact emphasizes why contingency plans are so crucial. These plans need to be discussed, set and implemented so that your organization is ready for the next unpredictable event. Plan out the necessary steps to recovery and restoring functions and services.
Your organization should not only have contingency plans but also business continuity plans. A business continuity plan (BCP) is used to track your organization’s day to day operations and specify how to go on with business after a crisis occurs. A BCP helps figure out how your business will survive a crisis and return to a normal operational state. In doing this, BCPs should draw new connections and interdependencies to sustain essential functions when first tier interdependencies go down.â€
2. Set Recovery Goals
Your organization’s interdependencies are interdependencies for a reason. Your business and its functions rely on streams of information and services to realize both their daily and long-term goals. Your job as a continuity planner to determine how long these functions can be down before your organization takes irreparable losses.
Even when your business is on smooth waters, these recovery objectives should be at the front of your mind. If a partner business drops their support for an essential stream of data or services, you need to know how long your organization has to spin up a new stream. Your planning should revolve around how you can limit losses, and grasping these thresholds through your organization’s operations will cut down the impact of an unavailable interdependency.
Looking In From the Outside
The success of your organization starts from the blueprint. Having efficient business continuity program management is crucial, so when something goes wrong you have a plan and steps to get back to business. This brings organizations a piece of mind, quick responses, and easier recovery.
Almost all businesses in today’s world have interdependencies outside their organization and operations. Success during crises and returning to normal operations relies on capturing these relationships and planning for their potential dissolution due to disasters and outages. Any continuity planner should ensure their organization’s program works these connections into planning and response operations.