The Noggin Blog

The Challenges Manual Processes Pose to Meeting Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs)

Posted by The Brain on Aug 4, 2020 4:51:12 PM

We’ve said it before. Producing the assets that are relevant to the context of your organisation will only strengthen a business case for the business continuity planning resources needed to maintain acceptable levels of risk – once you’ve measured them.

But what would those resources look like? We argue, practical business continuity technology should be part of the mix. Why? Well, during moments of disruption, every minute matters. And manual processes are ill fitted to help you meet recovery time objectives (RTOs). Read on to find out why.

MKT-448 - Crisis Newsletter Graphic - 5 August 2020-01

Here’re the facts. In a crisis, manual processes, practices, and systems just won’t cut it. According to the latest Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Horizon Scan Report, failure of manual processes gets cited as the reason for the failure to achieve accepted response levels over 25 percent of the time.

Not surprising. After all, gathering, validating, and sharing accurate information, communicating with staff, customers, and other stakeholders, as well as getting staff to follow planned procedures remain key business continuity challenges, which manual processes do very little to mitigate. Arguably, manual processes make them worse.

On the other end, the data shows that an investment in technology and an increased dedication to training and exercising create a positive return on investment (ROI). Seventy-three percent of the organisations who’ve made that investment achieve their expected response levels.

Of course, not all business continuity management software is created equal. Indeed, limitations exist on both ends of the market.

So-called point solutions, while affordable, offer limited functionality – a poor ROI given the sheer number and variety of potential threats and continuity events that disrupt the average firm every day: not just COVID-19, but also rising cyber-attacks, IT outages, severe weather, compliance threats, and more.

Conversely, overly complex can be an issue, too. At that end of the market, costs tend to be prohibitive – often out of proportion with the risks you’ve carefully quantified. Furthermore, those solutions often require lengthy configurations before getting up and running, which will balloon your estimates for project team resources. No executive wants to see that.

Instead, you should make the procurement case for practical business continuity technology, which manages continuity information in the same platform as it responds to incidents, enabling you to draw meaningful insights on the activities and functions that are disrupted during an incident so that you can more easily meet your recovery time objectives. And that’s not all:

• Tests likely scenarios. Teams shouldn’t just wait for a critical event. Failure to test is a persistent challenge to effective response. By enabling teams to conduct routine exercises, software with robust exercise management functionality, or test capability, can help. The key is: when events do occur, digitised plans should come to life seamlessly, with pre-assigned checklists. Teams know what they need to do, and progress gets tracked in real time.

• Saves time and effort: Only a third of organisations can activate emergency communications plans in five minutes (BCI); for 10 percent, it takes a whole hour. As such, your system needs to be able to act quickly, assigning and tracking business impact assessment and risk management activities for your organisational unit owners. It should also be able to ensure timely notifications about critical events to staff and stakeholders via email, SMS, or in-app.

• Designed with users in mind. When surveyed, organizations admit that user and usability issues are often to blame when teams fail to achieve accepted response levels. That’s probably because their systems aren’t designed with C-level executives, continuity professionals, and business unit managers in mind. Find a solution with unit-specific dashboards and resources, including well-formatted forms, lists, and processes with text guidance for proper use across different units to produce consistent and unbiased responses.

Finally, the present crisis moment clarifies the need for effective business continuity resources. But somehow past crisis moments haven’t quite produced the level of widespread acceptance of the value-saving business continuity resources required to mitigate risk and ensure compliance. Having a solid business case for business continuity software should help. For more tips on how to build one, download our step-by-step guide.

Download the Guide

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Topics: Crisis Planning, Crisis Newsletter

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