Only 12% of surveyed professionals in early March believed that their companies were well prepared to deal with the impact of the pandemic.  

This stat shouldn’t come as a surprise. The impact of the virus was hard for anyone to predict, effectively making business continuity plans unstable across the board. 

But now that we’re a few months into the pandemic, and we know that the situation won’t drastically change for a while, it’s worth evaluating how you can build a business continuity plan (BCP) that addresses the demands of this time.

Brian Flood, VP of IT at Fastly, and Rohit Jain, Director of IT at Upwork, recently went through this exercise themselves. They shared some of their key learnings and recommendations during a session at this year’s Biz Systems Magic conference. Here’s what they had to say!

We’ve only highlighted a few of their insights. You can catch everything they said by watching a recording of their session here.

Focus on People, Processes, and Technology 

Jain and Flood agreed that as organizations build out their plans, they should focus on three pillars: people, processes, and technology. Here’s how you can approach each:

People

Leadership needs to rely on trust with employees as well as strong communication in order to establish who is responsible for critical processes; while managers need to meet and collaborate with each member of their team to identify which processes and tasks they are responsible for.  

Creating task forces within your BCP committee can help ensure that all areas of the business, including internal and external stakeholders are looked after. At their own companies, Jain and Flood created task forces that centered around:

  • Employee Support
  • Internal Communication
  • External Communication
  • Vendor Management
  • Critical Processes and Systems 

Processes

A unique aspect of the pandemic is that it doesn’t directly cause tech failures. Instead, it affects employee availability; if the employees get sick or are unable to do their job, then the processes they’re part of are jeopardized. This is especially true for processes that are carried out by less people.

To measure risk across your processes, Flood suggested creating a form to capture all the roles, responsibilities, and risks associated with each. The collected data contains each one’s current risk assessment, as well as any changes that need to be communicated with executives. 

Technology

Communication plays a huge part in the technology piece of your BCP.  Flood suggested that your BCP committee create a data studio dashboard so executives could easily visualize which processes require more headcount.  The BCP committee can also assess technology plans on a continuous basis to provide necessary support to the areas in need.  

Given the budgetary constraints you’re likely facing, Flood and Jain also recommend focusing on technology that enables people to work more effectively and efficiently from home. Here are some of the criteria they referenced:

Security: Moving to a remote workforce requires tighter security controls on collaboration tools, personal devices, and accessibility.

Integration: Working from home can point out weaknesses within your systems.  Having an integrated platform allows your employees to have a center of excellence for their tools and technologies.

Automation: After assessing your processes, you can determine where there are bottlenecks. Incorporating automation to any can successfully eliminate it and allow your team to focus on critical tasks and processes.

With this framework in mind, you can begin to build a BCP that’s pandemic-proof, or as close to it as possible.  

Want more insights on their approach? Check out their entire session!

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.