In our post-pandemic world, it’s more apparent now than ever that businesses must plan for the unthinkable. Planning proactively for future challenges – as opposed to reacting after they happen – gives you more time to develop methods that help minimize the event’s risks and negative effects.
There’s no doubt that technology has played a major role in getting companies through COVID-19. From Zoom meetings that connect people working from home to flexible ERP cloud-based solutions that let businesses scale up or down to meet current needs, there’s a technology solution for almost every need. “Future-proofing” your business isn’t a quick-fix gimmick. It’s a continuous process that every organization should pursue if they want to get through the next major event.
Business Continuity Planning
Not sure where to start? Your first step is to jump right into creating a comprehensive business continuity plan. 75% of companies without a business continuity plan fail within three years of a disaster. So skipping this step is a risky proposition. A business continuity plan identifies and documents – in detail – possible events, their risks and any mitigation strategies that can offset the shock or stress on both your business and its people. A thorough risk assessment is a part of this plan. It evaluates and identifies your biggest risks, and then creates an actionable and specific plan that your business can use if/when you encounter the event.
Additionally, the business continuity plan maps out your mission critical business processes and workflows, as well as their supporting systems. A mission critical process is one that your business cannot function without; a failure in that process has serious financial, safety, legal, or operational consequences. Mission critical processes are generally part of your day-to-day operations. Just look at what processes your business depends on to run smoothly. These are your mission critical processes.
Innovation vs Stagnation
One of the most important factors in future-proofing your business is to try to stay ahead of technological changes. This year, spending on digital transformation is projected to reach $1.8 trillion, and by 2025 spending is projected to reach $2.8 trillion. Noticeably, organizations across all industries are starting to understand that if you don’t innovate, you’ll be left behind. It’s uncomfortable to challenge the status quo when everything is going well, but the best companies do it every day. Stagnation kills, complacency kills, the status quo kills.
During the pandemic, technology-driven businesses performed the best. For example, in-person interactions were rare, and businesses that had already digitized customer interactions were way ahead of the field. When staff began working remotely, it was the cloud-based organizations who were able to respond the most rapidly. We can learn from these businesses. A willingness to innovate and embrace digital transformation can set us up for future success, and gives us the competitive advantage that every business strives for.
Going digital provides us with the necessary tools to overcome the unpredictable. It ultimately changes how we operate our businesses; that takes courage, but the results are worth it. You can improve and streamline your processes, while also increasing your productivity and improving your ability to survive a disaster, and possibly even thrive during a disaster. Whether it’s another pandemic, a wildfire, a hurricane, or something more insidious like a cyberattack, future proofing your business using innovative technology boosts business resilience.
Back It up!
While data security and backup are large enough topics to warrant their own blog posts, we need to at least mention them here as well. Developing best practices for your organization’s data and backup systems is fundamental to protecting your business’s longevity, and protecting the personal information of partners and customers. Superior data and file security build trust and credibility, improve data management by protecting it from unwanted access, and integrate the best security practices into your business processes. Data security protocols should be written to comply with current legal requirements and privacy laws.
Database backup for businesses is also essential for disaster recovery after an event because you’ll have a secure archive of all your important information, and a written restoration process for your data and systems. A business continuity plan should specify the “return to full operation” timeline with a goal of continuously reducing down time.
Future proofing your business is like saving for a raining day. It’s imperative to decrease the effects of events that could at some point happen. While no one likes to think about bad things happening, it’s better to be proactive and be prepared than to not plan and just react when something happens… as mentioned near the top of this blog, 75% of those businesses fail within three years of an event. Don’t be one of them! We help clients prepare for the unthinkable.