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The first time I ever heard the term business continuity was about a decade ago when I was in a meeting with a client and their CIO was speaking about the need for a business continuity plan. This was not common language for a guy who has made his living in marketing so being quite curious I asked the CIO, “can you explain business continuity? I think I have a general idea given the term itself, but I want to better understand it.” He looked at me like I had three heads and was shocked that I was unaware of what he was referring to.
It turns out that I am not alone when it comes to not fully grasping business continuity. In this Insider Pro article from April, the author quotes two technology executives who have not yet wrapped their heads around business continuity. According to CIO Stan Bush, “It amazes me how many people, including technology executives, confuse business continuity with disaster recovery.” Ten years ago, I was part of that group.
If you have come this far in reading and can relate with my story and are wondering what business continuity is, let me define what it is and when you need it. As you now know from my earlier statement, my career is in marketing so rather create a definition on my own, I will use the one that has been defined by The Business Continuity Institute (yes, there is virtually an association or institute for anything). According to the BCI Business Continuity is defined as follows:
“Business continuity is about having a plan to deal with difficult situations, so your organisation can continue to function with as little disruption as possible.”
Sounds pretty simple, right? Not so fast as any CIO or business executive can tell you, “difficult situations” often give no warning and can be consistent. A difficult situation can be anything from a key employee leaving the organisation, being hacked, a pandemic, natural disaster, or a system crash that disrupts a companies supply chain. There is no one size fits all when it comes to a difficult situation, thus highlighting the need for a business continuity plan. Something that virtually every company across the globe is in need of today.
Part of any developed plan should be the mechanisms by which an organisation will communicate. Defining the communication strategy is a key element and this is where video can play a crucial role in connecting with the key groups that depend on your business. Here are a few suggestions on how video can help CIOs and technology leaders deliver business continuity.
Over the last six months, every company and employee has faced disruption. With office closures to the rise in video conferencing and working from home, and so on. Business continuity is a must and video is a perfect medium whereby tech leaders and CIOs can communicate with their employees.
The use of video makes a deeper human connection than a mass email and can serve to reassure employees, communicate the plan, and provide updates as to the status of the company.
If you want to make sure your employees are in the know, begin using video as a means to communicate your message.
Business continuity does not just impact your employees. Most often, it will also have an impact on your customers. Think of times organisations have made the news when a system has crashed or they have had a disruption in their business. The typical response to these situations is an email from the CEO to the customer with assurances that they are doing all they can to remediate the situation, get back to “providing the same great service we have come to expect” and thanking us customers for our loyalty.
Rather than resorting to what is little more than just a template email written by an internal PR pro, think about harnessing the power of video. Much like I mentioned with your employees, video enables CIOs to be more personal, communicate, and be more human.
One suggestion, address some of the top concerns customers are sharing when they call into customer support. This communicates to your customers that you are listening and taking action which goes a long way in delivering exemplary customer service.
Your IT Team
Business continuity is a team sport. It takes far more than the CIO to make sure the plan is designed and executed flawlessly. Using video to communicate with your team will be far more effective than email or just phone calls.
Often times, those involved with ensuring continuity will need to meet multiple times a day to address specific issues, give updates, and ensure agility as new issues arise. Establishing a consistent use of video conferencing will add that much more to these calls and impromptu meetings as face-to-face is certainly more effective than other methods of communication.
Every business, at some point or another, will face an unexpected event that impacts their business. Having a plan that ensures continuity during these times is critical. Take advantage of the power of video to communicate and coordinate; your business will be better for it.