​It’s time to shift your thinking to operational resiliency

Blog post   •   May 18, 2016 12:45 BST

Mobile, social, cognitive and the Internet of Things - technologies like these are reshaping business, improving client engagement and making employees more productive, flexible, and responsive. Our growing reliance on 24/7 availability also puts us more at risk every day and increases the impacts of an outage. In this always-on, connected world, 'recovery' is no longer acceptable. We now have to think in terms of operational resiliency - which requires continuous availability - or always-on.

A few years ago, there was room for a delay in IT recovery. Businesses could operate and perform functions manually for a short period of time. With more integrated, complex systems relying solely on accurate and available electronic processes and data to perform well, that luxury has rapidly dissolved. Without systems and applications up and running, day-to-day business processes cannot be performed with growing impact to businesses across all sectors:

  • Significant Revenue Loss - A retailer’s website goes down and thousands of customers move their loyalty and ongoing purchasing to a competitor.
  • Health and Human Safety - A healthcare provider cannot access the Electronic Medical Records data required to treat a patient.
  • Regulatory Compliance - A bank is hit with a cyber attack and customer records are compromised.

The State of Disaster Recovery hasn't kept up

Today, business continuity/disaster recovery professionals are faced with increased challenges to maintain continuous availability of critical business processes - complex technologies, more interdependencies across critical systems and cyber attacks to name a few - all increasing your day-to-day business risk. At the same time, businesses are under high pressure to return ROI, improve spending on day-to-day business operations, customer services, and IT innovations, making the business case for 'disaster recovery' investment more difficult than ever.

Time for a new paradigm - Time to shift your thinking to operational resiliency

According to Gartner, operational resilience is a set of techniques that allow people, processes and informational systems to adapt to changing patterns. It is the ability to alter operations in the face of changing business conditions. Operationally resilient enterprises have the organizational competencies to ramp up or slow down operations in a way that provides a competitive edge and enables quick and local process modification.

The shift to operational resiliency requires a more holistic view of business continuity, across all levels of the business. With more complex, integrated technologies driving business operations, it requires that resiliency be built in to the day to day operations of your business - in such a way that also provides the 'recovery' elements in the event of a disruption built into the standard business process.

Three keys to operational resiliency

Operational resiliency means having an end to end resiliency program that is embedded into the enterprise, can significantly absorb risks while you innovate and reinvent the way you do business. For operational resiliency, your business must have:

  • Rapid access to data and compute capacity
  • Automated workflows and responses, moving from paper-based to automated incident recovery
  • Communications capabilities across all channels – the first line of defense to any incident is seamless, realtime communications

I don’t have to tell you that the role of BC/DR professionals is rapidly evolving – and it is an exciting time for us to create lasting and significant impact to business. To remain relevant, you must shift your thinking to operational resiliency and achieving this means exploring new technologies that build resiliency in to every level of your business. Join my webinar on the 20th May as we explore how new operational resiliency capabilities can deliver new value to your business to support both daily interruptions to business process as well as preparing you for disaster outages.

Margaret Mills is an Associate Partner at IBM Resiliency Services