Best practice communications considerations for Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery.
Our highly connected world means more companies now manage risk across international operations, supply chains and customer bases that span multiple, diverse regions. Here in Asia, we operate within one of the most diverse cultural and technology environments in the world.
This makes it vital to recognise the nuances of communicating effectively across these different landscapes, and to understand the tools and strategies available for Business Continuity Management (BCM) activations and exercises. Here are the 7 areas we’ll cover:
- Social Systems
- Smartphone Capabilities
- Self-service Dashboards
1) Automate repetitive communications tasks
BCM Automation helps focus manual efforts on managing the exception or edge scenarios and business continuity outcomes, rather than managing the process, making it easier for organisations to prepare for, test, and cost effectively activate their BCM plans.
2) Empower BCM champions and coordinators to run in-country rather than run as a HQ-led exercise.
Local BCM ownership and empowerment allows country or business unit specific BCM processes to be applied, which, crucially, can better cater to local market nuances.
Automating BCM communications necessitates revisiting the thinking behind the process, creating the conditions for localised planning and ownership and embracing diversity in response processes, which helps improve situational outcomes.
3) Be aware of, and make best use of country-specific telecommunications mediums
To optimise message delivery and response, use the strengths of multiple communications channels – for instance, send an SMS+email+mobile-web message once, while in parallel, send voice calls with auto-retry for maximum disruption, until content is acknowledged.
Leading BCM communication platforms allow cross-channel communications workflow to be configured with advanced geo-location and targeting capabilities to segment and target audiences by location, quickly and accurately.
4) Integrate social chat apps, and digital sign-boards into the BCM communications mix
Chat apps have become an entrenched communication standard in many markets, often replacing traditional contact channels such as SMS for their users, and offer a fast, low cost initial method for reaching this audience, with escalation to traditional telco channels when required.
Publishing communications to building management systems, public announcement systems or digital sign-boards can also be a powerful way to disseminate directives, when used in conjunction with individual targeted messages.
5) Allow staff to proactively check-in or respond during tests and activations
Direct response from affected staff may not always be possible on the expected channel, for a range of reasons. Allowing the use of secure inbound contact routes – mobile, web portal, text-in, or voice call-in will maximise speed and accessibility of staff acknowledgement.
6) Make full use of smartphone capabilities to accelerate BCM workflow
The powerful features and highly connected nature of modern smartphones make them the logical centrepiece for essential workflow acceleration, including:
- Cross-channel communications – messages can be sent in multiple ways that optimise the chances of delivery, including voice, SMS, Social Media, in-App, Rich Messages and email;
- Rapid response – vital information can be delivered quickly and at scale, when needed, and in-field staff can respond with situational updates as needed;
- Geolocation - GPS-enabled smartphone applications allow users to share real-time location information as an event unfolds.
Mobile-web or in-App rich messages can be used to receive and run communications workflow. Pre-planned conditional logic (eg if x and y and z, then A, for the next B hours) collapses multiple simple communications steps into one, allowing BCM coordinators to focus on more nuanced observe-analyse-decide steps.
7) Keep stakeholders informed via self-service Dashboards and published content
Mobile and web dashboards are features of quality incident management systems, and can be deployed with secure access for selected stakeholders to help minimise disruption during unfolding incidents. The event can be managed in real time, with timely information flows including executive dashboard views, analytics and reporting.
Pre-planned communications with re-usable templates should also be ready to publish to social media, company website, and other external media with pre-approved, timely content.
7) In summary
Best practice BCM programs are built around a Communications Applications as a Service platform, which provides interactive, two-way cross-channel communications, comprehensive reporting and message delivery status transparency for key staff and senior stakeholders.
Communications automation and workflow acceleration, combined with integrated monitoring systems, allow BCM leaders to advance their organisations resilience posture, while also streamlining day-to-day organisational communications processes.