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Business Continuity Planning (BCP): Scared + Prepared = Spared

Paragon Application Systems


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Paragon May 2020

Empty parks; empty streets, empty stores. The visuals are anything but encouraging. Even as there are early signs of society returning to normal, there are still question marks lingering as to what the new normal might look like. Clearly, there are many of us who continue to be alarmed at what is taking place even as businesses are running scared, concerned that their very future is at stake.

In reviewing the latest post by Steve Gilde to the Paragon Edge blog, Business Continuity Planning: Scared + Prepared = Spared it may be a little unusual, but let’s start at the very end of that post by quoting former Intel CEO and Chairman and author of the book, Only the Paranoid Survive:

Bad companies are destroyed by crisis, good companies survive them, great companies are improved by them. Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure and only the paranoid survive”

As Gilde highlights in his opening to this post, Andy Grove outlines his experience and strategies for dealing with massive change, like the COVID-19 pandemic, that has virtually the entire global population in its deadly grip. In his book, Grove would call what we are going through today a Strategic Inflection Point or a 10X change, where everything you knew or thought you knew gets turned upside down and typical rules no longer apply.

Scared? Perhaps there are no other businesses running more scared today than those in retail. Although there will be some banks feeling nervous, the larger banks have already set aside “billions of dollars in loan loss reserves,” retailers simply don’t have that luxury. Nieman Marcus has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as have popular mall retailer, J. Crew. J.C.Penney and Sears will struggle even further and there is a potential that the likes of Macy’s and Nordstrom may also seek protection under bankruptcy laws. Scared? Yes, retailers are in dire straits and yet, stores like these very famous bricks and mortar stalwarts of retailing had to have seen the signs. Many of them were reeling from the impact they were feeling as a result in the rise of eCommerce. What stands out, according to Gilde is that even when observing that this global pandemic can be viewed as a Strategic Inflection Point, dealing with the chaos of such a Strategic Inflection Point is difficult to manage while you are bailing as hard as you can to stay afloat, it is possible to navigate difficult times and come out better and stronger on the other side.

Preparation? BCP might be well addressed by many NonStop users, but even so, there are still some that are not as advanced as others. As Gilde notes, many companies suffer from what Grove calls “the inertia of success.” Rather than planning for both success and failure, many organizations tend to be overly optimistic about their prospects with management taking the “it can’t happen to us” approach to strategy and planning.”

Preparation? Y2K was perhaps one of the best examples of what can be achieved when fully prepared for a worse-case scenario. And this wasn’t an issue that came out of nowhere. As Gilde posts, “Sooner or later, you have to deal with change. All debts need to be paid eventually. Some organizations will use what they learn from the present situation to update not only their Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) but their ability to execute those plans, i.e. they will improve their operational resiliency. Others will not.”

Spared! As Grove would say, you need to “Rein in Chaos”. This means developing clear and precise actions for dealing with the crisis and marching forward with conviction. In our current environment, leaders must be committed to changing their organizations to deal with the “new normal” – whatever that means for their business – including managing a remote workforce, strict new legal and regulatory controls, changing consumer behaviors and streamlining operations so that they can respond more quickly to future events.

Spared! In a way, the NonStop community is put on notice that with their BCPs in place, and processes fully tested, not only will they be spared from financial mishaps but rather, be in a better place to meet the changes underway. Automate everything! Test everything! And above all, revisit your preparedness regularly.

To read this article published in the Paragon Edge blog, simply click on the hyperlink above or cut and paste this link into your browser –