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Tackling Business Continuity Exercise Challenges

BC managers know the drill: once you’ve defined prioritized activities, established recovery strategies, and check-listed action items, it’s time to test. That’s where exercise management comes in; or, does it? Too many managers have decried exercise management challenges to business continuity management (BCM) holding the program back. What are they?

Common exercise management challenges to BCM

Well, from managers, one often hears that once the business continuity plan is established, exercises aren’t completed. And if they are, exercises aren’t performed frequently enough.

That’s despite stakeholders knowing that without regular testing of a firm’s resilience to disruptive impacts, no one can have confidence in the firm’s ability to address matters if things go wrong.

And that’s not all. BC Managers also note that even when exercises take place, testing only involves comparatively smaller-scale exercises.

Indeed, there’s limited exercising of the kind of complex disruption scenarios that overwhelm organizations – the precise scenarios that the BCM program was set up to prepare for in the first place.

So, what’s the culprit?

Manual exercise management behind common exercise management challenges

For too long, exercise management, like many other facets of BCM, has been overly manual. In consequence, exercises, when performed, seem labored, tedious, and removed from real-world scenarios.

Now, of course, the COVID pandemic and concurrent crises has given new urgency to exercise management in BCM.

Nevertheless, without the right tools to overcome the exercise management challenges created by manual methodologies, organizations are likely to revert to form.

So, what should those tools look like?

Digital exercise management

For starters, exercise management tools should be digital – meeting users where they are, which is often on mobile devices.

Next up, exercise management functionality, to be effective, must be as simple as possible.

What would that look like?

BC Managers should be able to create exercises within digital business continuity management software easily. They should also be able to specify scenario categories as well as the type of exercise they will be conducting.

Ideally, dashboards within the platform should navigate Managers and their teams through different stages of a given exercise, highlighting what’s needed to complete each stage.

It should also be clear to participants what’s been impacted because of the exercise.

Digital functionality to ensure collaboration, mitigate common exercise management challenges

What’s more, exercises are about working together. And here, platforms should facilitate collaboration as a key component of exercise management.

Platforms should make it easy to see who’s involved in the exercise. Chat functionality should be available, so that participants can message each other about the exercise.

That’s not all. When Managers add teams or personnel to an exercise, those people should be

automatically notified that they’ve been tapped.

When they log in, they should be able to access the dashboard for the relevant exercise.

Another capability to ensure collaboration and overcome common exercise management challenges to BCM is the ability to record meetings, minutes, and action items.

Then, there’s the most important aspects of the exercise – reporting. Pragmatic business continuity platforms like Noggin make it easy to record what’s been learnt, what’s gone well, and what are areas for improvement.

How do we do it? Request a demo of Noggin for Business Continuity with Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) functionality included to find out.

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