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Reflecting on 2020

Building and Growing a Culture of Resiliency: Reflecting on 2020

Year in ReviewIt’s fair to say that 2020 threw quite a few curveballs at everyone and the hits kept coming throughout the year. I should have known it was going to be bad when a customer contacted me in January 2020 to see if I could help them source masks from another customer for operations in China, well ahead of anyone being worried COVID-19 was going to land in the US. In reality, the virus was already here but no one knew.

As I reflect on the past year, two things become abundantly clear: 1. business continuity as it existed a year ago hadn’t yet evolved to deal with a multi-vector crisis that had a duration measured in months and 2. we’re all still hanging in limbo waiting for things to go back to “normal”, whatever our individual definitions are of that term.

Most of us are sitting one leg over the fence on establishing a new baseline but still clinging onto what used to be, and this isn’t accidental. When you look at traditional business continuity programs, they look like a cycle starting at one place, running around the circle, and ending back at the top while we rinse and repeat. We assume the flow, most of the time, will be to prepare while everything is normal, wait for an event to happen, respond to the event, and go back to a pre-event steady state. We incorporate learning and improvements, but these typically are incremental. This pandemic is forcing a full evaluation of how we plan and respond and what “steady state” even means.

We, at Infinite Blue, have constantly engaged our customers, partners, and industry leaders in an attempt to understand this extended crisis and how we as a global community are responding to every aspect of it. We’ve conducted several panelist webinars, hosted daily podcasts on C-19 Daily with a few special guests, and even converted our annual in-person user group into a half-day learning event.

Throughout it all, we’ve been asked to share what others are doing, how each organization is performing, and how we could improve understanding and response to the events unfolding. In response, we’ve released several new offerings including IB Connect, Turnstile, Sendigo, an After-Action Report, and BC in the Cloud Core, a turnkey version of our flagship application. We hope that these expanded offerings help organizations have a better awareness of events when they occur and can communicate impacts more clearly to employees, customers, board members, and community members.

I want to thank our customers and our team for helping us to earn a few awards along the way in 2020. Infinite Blue was selected to be a part of the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies of 2020 in addition to the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for 2020, two amazing communities of companies that have made major impacts on the world. We’ve also received a nomination from DRI for the third year in a row as the Product of the Year. It’s a testament to what we’ve achieved, but those who know me well know that it means we’re just getting started. It’s not time to rest on our laurels but to press forward, stronger and harder, to keep innovating.

Where we’re heading

As we round into 2021, we must establish the new baseline as well as anticipate and manage new crises that are already getting sent our way. How do we handle those working at home now as we used to when they were in the office regarding redundancy and workforce planning? What is the “new normal” we need to reset to and when do we lock that in as our new baseline or is it ever shifting?

All of us at Infinite Blue stand ready to assist you and your organization to build and grow a culture of resiliency. We have some exciting evolutions coming from our products and services that we’ll be introducing to you throughout 2021 but we also want to continue to hear what you need. Our product managers and customer success team members have established several ways you can interact with both our team and our customer communities. Additionally, I hope to see many of you at our Discover 2021 conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in September. Until we speak again: stay healthy, stay safe, and stay resilient.

Business Continuity Plan

Business Continuity Plans: One Size Fits One

If I had a nickel for every time someone at a tradeshow, or a software prospect asked me to provide a sample business continuity plan they could use as a guideline or template, I would be writing this on a tropical island instead of sequestered in my home office.

The challenge with the request for a sample business continuity plan is not the quality of the plans, it resides in the fact that it was built around one specific company’s expectations, culture, knowledge, style, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder needs.  One size fits one, not all. There are also hurdles from legal, as well as the protection of intellectual property to contend with.  The last time I was able to provide a plan from a customer in the same industry, it was redacted more than an FBI document, offering no real value.

Having stated this, I thought the best way to address the requests for a sample business continuity plan or templates was to lay out a common construct I see across banking, manufacturing, distribution, retail, education, and general plans.

All plans start with a common foundation, but each vertical market will have variances.  Please understand these are examples of what goes into a business continuity plan, or an example of a sample, so to speak. In order to understand a lot of this, you’ll want to brush up on some important business continuity terms. Luckily, I have outlined everything you need to know here, in a guide to creating a business continuity plan from scratch. If you are new to the industry, I recommend reviewing this guide so you can fully comprehend the sample plan that I’ve laid out below.

There are numerous regulations, standards, and best practices that encompass business continuity.  While we don’t have enough time to identify each one and map it into a sample plan, I’ve highlighted some of the most common aspects that will appear across industries.

As you read through these examples, and the full guide to creating a business continuity plan, I hope you garner a deeper understanding of why “one size fits one” and what goes into an actionable and resilient plan.

 

BC Example Plan