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Working from home? How’s your business continuity plan working out for you?

By Teri Cooper

· covid-19,business continuity,crisis management

By now it’s dawned on us all that the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest shock to hit the global economy in our lifetimes. While a global recession looms, the Australian government has injected $320 billion into our economy through JobKeeper and other stimulus measures in a bid to prevent our nation’s first recession in 30 years.

For businesses across the board the uncertainty is palpable. With staff working from home, a disrupted sales and operational model, and social distancing measures likely to remain for at least six months, strategic plans for this year, and probably next, have been skewered.

TACT Director Tom Bendistinto summed up a common dilemma. “All those bold ideas and growth initiatives you’d workshopped, resourced and locked into your budgets have been canned”, he said.

For CIOs, business leaders and entrepreneurs, it’s either a time of opportunity or a fight for survival.

Which camp your business falls into could be down to one crucial factor―your business continuity plan.

Business continuity, what?

If you’re reading this with a sinking feeling because your BCP is either dead or years behind your technology uptake, you’re not alone. Many organisations defer business continuity planning during the annual budget cycle, seeing it as a ‘nice to have’ rather than an essential part of their crisis management armoury.

Paying insurance renewals each year is odious, but when disaster strikes, those premiums could save your business.

Likewise, in ‘situation normal’ you won’t need to activate your business continuity plan, but reviewing it and testing your business processes and critical IT systems annually means you’ll be prepared if the worst happens.

A fully costed and tested business continuity plan is one of the strongest resilience measures your organisation has to get you through a crisis.
Tom Bendistinto, TACT

Being in the midst of a crisis is not the time to lose access to critical systems that enable you to communicate with staff, customers, suppliers and stakeholders.

A case study in what not to do

As a case study in poor business continuity planning, look no further than Tom’s experience testing the BCP for a top 10 ASX-listed Australian company.

“We tested the ERP which was a critical system that couldn’t be offline for longer than 8 hours. Our first disaster recovery test from a backup took 14 days to recover―it was a debacle!”, said Tom.

“After exhaustive re-planning and documenting steps for network recovery, infrastructure recovery and application sequencing plans, we finally got the recovery time down to hours. It took weeks to get this right, but it was worth the effort”, he said.

For the company involved, the BCP test became an annual activity and renewal the business was prepared to pay because they understood the benefits―and the costs of not doing so.

To wrap up, as the coronavirus crisis continues, it’s important your business is making decisions and taking actions with recovery in mind. When the crisis finally ends, companies who had the resilience and agility to reshape their business strategy to meet the challenges of Covid-19 will be the ones who thrive into the future.

If you need advice on how to be one of those businesses, give TACT a call.

About the author

Teri Cooper is a writer, marketer and digital communications specialist who writes about technology, business strategy and leadership. She founded digital consultancy Scoot Communications in 2014. When she's not hunched over a keyboard, she can often be found roaming around Melbourne indulging in her two current passions, Instagram and coffee.

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