Doing Business

Business Continuity Plan in Times of Crisis

Linh Pham

April 13, 2020

The Coronavirus pandemic has affected the global economy since early February of this year. The disruption to businesses caused by this pandemic may lead to deeper negative results if enterprises do not react promptly. Viettonkin Consulting Business Continuity Plan service will help your organization to maintain key business functions operating efficiently in the case of a crisis or if a disaster occurs.

In this article, we will discuss how Viettonkin Consulting can support your organization to prepare for a crisis or during a crisis through the implementation of our Business Continuity Plan service.

 

What is a Business Continuity Plan? And why it matters to you?

Organizations should always have a plan in place to deal with various potential crises arising. The disruption in businesses due to the Coronavirus outbreak may lead to negative results if your organization doesn’t prepare in advance. But do you know about it and how to utilize the Business Continuity Plan for your organization?

Business Continuity Plan is the way for your organization to maintain business functions in the event of a crisis or disaster such as fire, flood, or even cyber attack. A Business Continuity Plan outlines procedures and instructions your organization must follow in the face of such disasters; it covers business processes, assets, human resources, business partners and more.

Do you have a way to get the HR department, operation and sales and support functionally up and running so your company can continue to make money right after a disaster or a crisis? For example, if the building that houses your customer service representatives is caught in a flood, do you know how those reps can handle customer calls? Will they work from home temporarily, or from an alternate location? The Business Continuity Plan addresses these types of concerns.

Whether you operate a small business or a large corporation, you strive to remain competitive. It’s vital to retain current customers while increasing your customer base — and there’s no better test of your capability to do so than right after an adverse event. When making the Business Continuity Plan, it is vital for you to identify the sort of risks that your company is currently subjected to such as flood or virus outbreak. 

So, why is the Business Continuity Plan important in the current situation? Despite the unexpected pandemic, businesses are still expected to carry on, hence there will be costs incurred by the business owner in terms of employee’s salary, rent, bank loans and so on. Customer service standards must likewise be maintained in order to bolster the confidence in the firm’s ability to handle the issue. As a result, an advanced plan should be implemented to ensure that the quality has still remained at peak efficiency. 

According to Gartner Webinars, Business Continuity Plan during a crisis or disaster brings seven benefits:

  • Minimize the impact upon staff
  • Minimize the impact on the organizational supply chain
  • Minimize the impact upon service delivery
  • Minimize the impact upon the IT infrastructure
  • Protect corporate reputation
  • Reduce the financial impact
  • Return to normality sooner

 

Things to consider while planning for the Business Continuity Plan

If your organization doesn’t have a Business Continuity Plan, start by assessing your business processes, determining which areas are vulnerable, and the potential losses if those processes go down for a day, a few days or a week. You can ask yourself the following questions in order to identify the business situation and the external situation. These questions are:

  1. Do you have the tools and technology necessary to enable an employee to work remotely?
  2. Do you have a plan for significant employee absences?
  3. Is your workforce sufficiently trained to handle problems?
  4. Does the company have sufficient cash reserves to tide over the current situation?
  5. Are your employees sufficiently clear on their roles and responsibilities in times of crisis?

One common business continuity plan tool is a checklist that includes supplies and equipment, the location of your data backups and backup sites, where the plan is available and who should have it, and contact information for emergency responders, key person and backup site providers. As you create your plan, consider interviewing the key persons in organizations who have gone through a disaster successfully. People generally like to share stories and the steps and techniques that saved the day during a crisis or disaster. Their insights could prove incredibly valuable in helping you to craft a solid Business Continuity Plan.

Essentially, the Business Continuity Plan is an important aspect in maintaining the business after the building phase is completed. Here are five steps for business when entering a market and building presence: preparation, entry, operational, development, and exit. 

Business continuity plan to maintain businesses

 

Viettonkin Consulting Business Continuity Plan Service

Our Business Continuity Plan service is built to ensure that the key operational functions of your organization will remain workable in the event of a crisis or disaster. These four operational functions include human resource management, processes and business functions, supplier and customer management, and communication. 

Viettonkin utilizes an organised and strategic process to implement a Business Continuity Plan Service for our clients:

  • Identifying and analyzing the business impact
  • Assessment of current firm operating procedures
  • Strategy development and implementation recovery strategies
  • Reinforcement of strategies
  • Review and consolidation

 

Now, we will dig deeper into the steps:

1. Identifying and analyzing the business impact

A business can face potential risks such as personnel loss, changes in customers’ preference, disruptions to supply chain, financial volatility, and compliance risks. After identifying potential risks, you should draw the risk matrics to rank and determine the impact of each individual risk on your organization. Quantitative and qualitative risk analysis to assess the impact and the likelihood of a particular incident occurring.

Business Impact Analysis (BIA) is a systematic process to help you determine and evaluate the potential effects of an interruption to critical business operations as a result of a disaster, accident or emergency. Using this framework will allow you to estimate the cost to the company in the event of various potential disasters. At its core, an impact analysis helps your organization identify specific risks and threats to operations, financial performance, reputation, employees, and supply chains. It is a great starting point for risk identification and assessment.

Let’s take a look at the example. This is a risk matrix that you can use.

Risk evaluation matrix for business continuity plan

Identifying and analyzing the risk impact posed to the firm

Business impact analyses are complex and typically require a comprehensive questionnaire to gather the information you’ll need. We’ll help you assess business impact analysis, which then will help you better identify critical business processes, interdependencies among stakeholders, supply chain dependencies, the minimum time needed to recover operations, and minimum staffing required to support business as usual.

This step is to determine and evaluate the potential effects of disruptions to business operation. It will help you determine which issues to prioritize to minimize the loss incurred by the company. 

Identifying and analyzing business risk in business continuity plan

2. Assessment of current firm operating procedures

The following is a list of the departments which will be involved in Business Continuity Plan:

  1. HR department
  2. Public relations department
  3. IT department
  4. Sales and marketing
  5. Finance

The next step is to identify critical operations, key business processes and important interdependencies. This step brings three main advantages:

  • Identify potential weaknesses and blind spots in current plans
  • Identify measures and processes that should be kept
  • Identify measures and processes that can be improved

Utilising gap analysis, we can determine which resources you are currently lacking in the company during its attempts to implement a business continuity plan in the event of a crisis.

 

3. Strategy development and implementation recovery strategies

Business Continuity strategies usually cover 3 phases:

  1. Planning and prevention (Resolve phase) – concerns making the decision to deal with potential disasters and taking actions to prevent them and providing procedures for ongoing pre-emptive action to mitigate risks.
  2. Disaster response (Respond phase) – Designated responders will put into action to the various procedures which have been discussed within the planning phase. They will also work to contain the damage and stabilize the situation.
  3. Return to normal (Rebuild phase) – Procedures to assess the damage, managing insurance claims, finding out what additional external resources are needed.

For example, during our review of a firms crisis communications strategy, we will:

  1. Audit their current communications channels and operating systems.
  2. Set up remote organisation charts and a call tree.
  3. Implement specific training sessions for key personnel to familiarise themselves with this model.

Based on information gathered, Viettonkin Consulting can brainstorm new operating procedures and policies or improve upon certain existing ones in order to make things more efficient for you. These policies will define key parties as well as the management structure that should be adopted with a clear allocation of responsibilities. Then we will set a timeline for implementation of the various strategies. 

Recovery strategies require resources including people, facilities, equipment, materials and information technology. An analysis of the resources required to execute recovery strategies should be conducted to identify gaps.

 

4. Reinforcement of strategies

Training programs will equip your employees with knowledge and experience required the help your company tide through times of crisis. These training programs will provide:

  • Specific information on the roles and responsibilities
  • Specific information on the steps involved in a crisis situation
  • Case studies with relevant threat scenarios
  • Simulation of threat scenarios and obtain feedback

These training sessions will be conducted by certified trainers who are well versed in the Business Continuity Plan. The simulation process also provides a chance for the staff to highlight issues and suggestions in the new Business Continuity Plan:

  1. Plan review: Discuss potential improvements, as well as making sure contact information is up-to-date, recovery contracts are still in place and effective, and applicable business continuity and disaster recovery scenarios are appropriately covered
  2.  Simulation: incorporates actual recovery actions such as restoring backups, live testing of redundant systems, and any other relevant processes. In addition to critical personnel, any employees that would be involved in a BCP event should now be involved in the testing process. 
  3. Functional/Full recovery test: a complete process of spinning up your backup systems and processing transactions or data. This test should be simulated as similar to a “real-life” disaster as possible.

 

5. Review and consolidation

After implementing this 5-step process, the Business Continuity Plan will be consistently reviewed and updated in order to adapt to future issues, changes in personnel, new technology or advancements in technology, improvements to certain processes.etc.

Viettonkin will implement a structured training program for all key personnel in the office to ensure their familiarity with the various procedures put in place. This key personnel training program will be conducted by experienced trainers who are familiar with the implementation of BCP plans. We will also work on the dissemination of the various procedures to all employees of the firm through the use of a safety guidebook.

It is important to collect feedback and improve upon the various strategies which have been put in place by the company. As such, Viettonkin will conduction simulations of various disaster scenarios to allow employees to put their training into practice and to collect feedback on the various process that has been put in place.

 

In addition, you can get insights about Vietnamese businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic at Viettonkin’s blog.

In conclusion, planning ahead is important for any enterprise, especially in the event of a crisis or a disaster. Business Continuity Plan is essential for managers to drive their companies to overcome hardships caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Understanding the significance of a professional plan, Viettonkin Consulting is always willing to assist you in conducting a procedure to fit with internal and external situations. Let’s contact us!.

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