Dr Bernard Parsons, CEO, Becrypt - 11/03/20
As a mid-sized software business, we have recently felt the need to apply our experiences of Agile to business continuity planning. Here's a slightly random collection of thoughts, but we're interested to know if some of our experiences are common.
Understandably, given the recent turn of events, organisations are exploring uncharted territories to increase business resilience. Current circumstances might be somewhat unusual, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on how our organisations may respond to future disruptive incidents, be that natural or otherwise.
According to which government data you choose, up to 40% of businesses affected by major incidents do not recover. So there are really only two types of organisation: those that don’t have a business continuity plan and should create one; and those that do, and should review it. But as business continuity professionals are well aware, having a plan is necessary, but not sufficient. Organisations today need to be adaptive to the rapid pace of internal change, as well as the unpredictable nature of adverse external events, and their effects on a complex supply chain.
To adapt a common phrase: in the face of such complexity, any plan only survives its first contact with adversity. Business continuity aside, an increasing number of organisations are evolving their cultures and processes to better handle complex and dynamic challenges by adopting Agile project management. This includes an increasing number of non-software companies, with 88% citing changing priorities being the key driver. For 98% of those surveyed , agile has proved its value over the more traditional planning methods that many business continuity planning processes resemble.
An Agile Business Continuity planning process is one that will embrace change, to reflect a dynamic environment, emphasise the value of collaboration and conversation to inform and complement written artefacts, deliver value at a sustainable pace using simple solutions.
Effective business continuity planning can deliver the kind of rapid business change that many organisations are seeing from the more agile parts of the business, such as DevOps. Often leveraging cloud-based tools to deliver new services at pace. More broadly, cloud computing has helped transform the way we work, from office productivity to bespoke business services, increasing the opportunity to adopt technology designed specifically for cloud services to complement business continuity.
Today's maturity of cloud security and cloud automation has simplified the process of organisations adopting new services that are both secure, resilient and can be deployed at pace, reducing both initial and ongoing costs - critical requirements as existing IT staff are typically already over-stretched.
We all know that business resilience should be an integral part of organisational culture and governance, not rushed into because of an impending disaster on the horizon. But when potential disasters become more real, the increased business focus on resilience is perhaps a silver lining not to be missed. An opportunity to appropriately position Agile concepts to stakeholders temporarily more open to and interested in new concepts.