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We are half way through BCAW and consultant Carly Clements presents her views on operational resilience.

In today’s ever-changing and developing world that we are living in, Operational Resilience has never been more important than it is now. Operational resilience has been an active area of focus especially after the Covid-19 pandemic hit. In order for organisations to remain in business, organisations were forced to adapt rapidly and find new ways to manage their resources while continuing to respond to important client needs as well as achieving business objectives. Due to the sudden and fast changes which soon exposed organisations with no pre-thought plans or policies for the ‘unexpected’, and more than ever it also highlighted the importance for organisations to be prepared for incidents of any nature.

 

The capabilities of an organisation related to Operational Resilience are the ability of an organisation to prevent disruptions from occurring and, when struck by a disruption, the ability to quickly respond to and recover from a disruption in the primary business processes. Operational Resilience is about how a business can deal with undesired events. Operational Resilience is vitally important to any business due to the way it can affect staff morale and operational success.

 

Organisations that have the capabilities to adapt to any challenges that may arise means they will be more likely to remain in operation and potentially even grow during challenging times. Operational Resilience is a fundamental part of future-proofing businesses, furthermore, if your business has a robust operational resilience capability it will also bring many strategic benefits, particularly around cost reduction, organisation agility and the overall customer experience.

The traditional disciplines of business continuity management, operational risk, cyber security, and third-party risk management are mostly incorporated into a resilience capability, but Operational Resilience also introduces new viewpoints like measuring your entire resilience and adopting an end-to-end perspective. This could imply that achieving operational resilience is not an easy task, especially for organisations that struggle with legacy systems, dispersed tooling, and locating a “single version of the truth” when it comes to data.

The following are five crucial principles for building operational resilience within your organisation:

  1. Prioritise the important business services within the organisation.
  2. Implement an effective business continuity management system.
  3. Build ownership across the organisation within every department.
  4. Incorporate resilience and risk management practices.
  5. Drive resilience across third parties

 

To help prepare your organisation to implement Operational Resilience within the business is to first identify the core business services which, if disrupted, could cause significant and often substantial harm to your organisation, customers, and the overall business environment. To help with identifying the core business units RAG rating could be carried out along with mapping the organisational hierarchy and business objectives that are to be met for the year and these should then be aligned with your company’s ‘risk appetite’.

Another useful and important step to take is to set up impact tolerances and risk metrics. It is vitally important that your business sets up tolerances with full visibility in order to fully prioritise operations. Setting impact tolerances early on will allow your organisation to have full oversight over important business services and processes. The impact tolerances need to be ranked and approved by top management for the sign-off process.

Operational Resilience helps businesses thrive by being more prepared for undesired events. It also has substantial benefits for the overall organisation including staff morale and staff performance.

When staff members fully understand the risks that their organisation faces or could potentially face in the future alongside how the company manages them, it can significantly improve morale within the workplace overall as it knowingly reduces the risk of the ‘unknown’ in the future or near future. Operational Resilience also helps organisations to reduce the stress of unexpected incidents by implementing a positive workplace environment by having pre-planned contingency. With staff’s ability to respond rapidly to changing situations, it highlights that leadership is the core fundamental of resilience within any organisation.

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