5 ways to build business resilience in an uncertain world (1 of 5)

Mitigate RiskTake your business’s ability to mitigate risk to the next level in 2016.

By Michael Davies, CEO, ContinuitySA

At the end of every year, my executive team goes into crystal-ball mode, pooling our experience and insights to try and brainstorm the risk landscape for the year ahead. This time round, we came up with five areas of risk that African businesses should be thinking about.

Each blog in this series will cover one of the five.

First, though, a brief reflection on the notion of business resilience itself. Once upon a time, we spoke only of disaster recovery, which really related to a company’s IT systems. As it became more apparent that IT could not be seen as separate from the business, we started considering IT risk in the context of business processes—recovering from an IT outage was more than just getting the systems back up and running. To do this properly, we had to develop ways of drilling down into exactly what a company did, and the relative importance of each business process (and thus its enabling IT infrastructure). Only once this business impact analysis was completed could we know which processes needed to be up quickly, and which ones could be a little delayed. This analysis in turn affects how to allocate resources and budget for a business continuity management strategy that actually works.

Over time, business continuity management matured and standards were created. The growing sophistication of the business impact analysis has now come to be seen as an invaluable tool for doing much more than identifying risks: it helps the company to understand itself and its true priorities better, and thus makes it better able to overcome the challenges of today’s business environment generally.

In short, it makes the business more resilient to anything.

The first of the five risks that should be occupying your attention during 2016 is the need to address leadership issues, particularly with regard to the CIO. Deloitte’s 2015 Human Capital Trends Report[1] shows that 86 percent of companies globally see developing leaders as a critical challenge. We think African CIOs are under considerable pressure at the moment as they move from their traditional IT support role into one that demands innovation leadership. Technology is disrupting business, and thus the CIO is the natural person to help the rest of the C-suite understand what the sources of disruption are likely to be—and, even more challenging, how to become disruptors in their own rights.

In a way, everybody is competing with Amazon, or a company like Amazon, these days.

One example: CIOs don’t just face the challenge of putting the technology and processes in place to provide insights from the analysis of big data. They have to help the business work out how to respond to those insights.

We all felt that a related factor is that in today’s interconnected, unstable global economy, crises of one sort of another are more frequent. CIOs, along with the rest of the C-suite, are under pressure like never before, and the business needs to work out how to mitigate this very real aspect of leadership risk. Firefighting mode isn’t the best way to plan for the future.

Next time, a look at the second risk to consider in 2016.

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.continuitysa.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Michael-8-6400.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Michael Davies has been involved in the Business Continuity Industry for more than ten years, having spent the last twenty years in the IT Industry with companies such as Dimension Data, Enterprise Technologies, Amdahl, Computer Configurations and MGX. Michael has predominantly been on the financial side of business with the most recent progression in 2011 being from financial director to CEO of ContinuitySA in 2011. He has spoken on organisational resilience and BCM at various conferences and heads up the largest independent BCM supplier in Southern Africa. Michael completed a B.comm degree from the University of Natal and a MBA from the Henley College in the UK. He is an affiliate of the Business Continuity Institute based in London and a member of the Institute of Directors. [/author_info] [/author]

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