What defines business resilience?
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What defines business resilience, particularly in the current market? According to McKinsey, it’s the difference between a company that thrives and one that fails. The research firm also points out that resilience capabilities should include business model innovation around software, a focus on disruptive customer demands, and safeguarding against revenue loss. These are often the gaps that sit between an organisation’s planning around resilience, and the reality of the systems that manage people, process and platform.
According to Ashley Ellington, co-founder and director at Times 3 Technologies, a local IT company that helps people and business using intuitive cloud solutions , business resilience is the ability to adapt to change while maintaining continuous business operations to ensure the business is capable of adapting and pivoting in times of uncertainty.
“Resilience is less a buzzword and more a critical business success point,” he adds. “It’s a process of identifying critical business services and embedding the right systems to ensure that they are maintained and prepared. This helps the organisation to focus its efforts more efficiently so it can adapt to fast-changing environments.”
Like the old adage that suggests the wood which can bend with the wind is the tree most likely to survive in a storm, resilience gives the business the ability to adapt to new challenges and new ways of working. And to rise up to meet them. This became very apparent over the past 18 months as the fragility of critical systems was exposed by the global pandemic. The problem is, as Harvard Business Review (HBR) points out, that very few business schools teach resilience which results in companies focusing more on the finance than the flex.
“Best practice when it comes to building organisational resilience lies in developing a business continuity framework that ensures operations can continue, regardless of disruption,” adds Ellington. “This means ensuring that users remain productive while maintaining the right levels of security and control. It also requires that the organisation limits exposure to risk by using cloud or hosted technologies.”
The latter is increasingly becoming global best practice for building more agile business foundations in a world that’s defined by digital and information. By moving critical business applications to cloud-based platforms and Software-as-a-Service solutions, companies are shifting the risk parameters and mitigating unnecessary complexities. A resilient business footprint must include a stable technology infrastructure and architecture that leverages hosted services across infrastructure, software and platform.
“By spreading the service load, the business is more capable of handling unexpected stress or system outage, and allows far more leeway when it comes to restoring functionality or surviving in unexpected circumstances,” says Ellington. “Considering how the unexpected has become the expected recently, these are important considerations for companies that want to maximise growth and long-term stability.”
HBR sums it up perfectly – ‘managing for resilience therefore requires more than just grafting new ideas or tools onto today’s approaches. It requires a fundamentally different mental model of business…’ This is taking meticulous steps to assess short term gains against longer term investment, and focusing on fully incorporating resilience as a part of business planning.
“The business must take all aspects into account, from technologies to systems to operational processes, to all the unexpected gaps in between,” concludes Ellington. “It must unpack what needs to be done to ensure that the business is capable of adapting to change on demand, while ensuring that risks are avoided or contained effectively. It must also – and this is an often-forgotten point – define the return to normal after a disruptive event has occurred.”
Business resilience is no longer optional, says Forrester. And most organisations still standing today would agree. How this resilience is achieved, however, will depend on the company and its willingness to adapt its approaches and embrace agility and flexibility. Success, says Forrester, lies in a clearly defined strategy, a solid framework, relevant risk identification and mitigation strategies, extensive business continuity planning, and business systems that are designed with redundancy in mind that are dependable. Times 3 Technologies, a Sage Platinum Partner, would agree as the market leader in providing companies with one of the strongest performing, fully cloud-connected solutions on the market.