Disruption resulting from COVID-19 has exposed a number of business continuity issues among enterprises. The gaps in systems and key processes have had a generally negative impact, and it will soon be evident which enterprises saw the circumstances as an opportunity.

By exposing what isn’t working, the gaps present a way to improve. Most business continuity plans assume a relatively quick return to normal. What the pandemic is demonstrating is that sometimes when the unexpected happens, a return to normal may not be an option, whether permanently or for an extended period of time.

In addition, rather than a disruption to data or systems, the current situation is compromising the processes that enterprises use to operate. Enterprises are being forced to examine whether reverting to the old way should be the goal or if there’s a new direction – for not only the immediate circumstances, but also for the long-term health of the organization.

The Gartner Business Continuity Survey found that less than two percent of enterprises expect that business can return to normal. Instead, they are taking the opportunity to examine long-term plans based on gaps discovered during the pandemic:

Embrace Some Changes as Permanent: While remote work was already increasing around the globe, the pandemic has accelerated this and other trends, such as online customer interactions. Enterprises have an opportunity to embrace new channels for reaching their markets and equipping their employees for long-term remote work.

The systems and data challenges around remote work may be dwarfed by the difficulties when it comes to workflows and business processes. Collaboration gaps may be the biggest challenge, where some workflow is designed for in-person interactions. Enterprises can’t assume that video conferencing will replace these types of collaboration.

Accelerate Digital Transformation: It was quickly apparent that enterprises that had prioritized digital transformation were more likely to be pandemic-proof than those more reluctant to invest in cloud solutions and infrastructure. It’s not only evident in specific applications and solutions, but also in the corporate mindset that celebrates agility and flexibility. Some enterprises see the current circumstances as an opportunity to speed up their digital transformation to continue meeting the needs of customers and employees.

Examine Risk: Even the best-prepared organizations are being forced to look at their risk management and manage the disruption. From implementing recommendations from the World Health Organization to cyber risks related to remote access, there are several key areas that must be addressed. Enterprises may begin with mapping single points of failure related to technologies, processes, and employees and then create countermeasures to remediate each one.

Critical in this process is the ability to immediately identify work that cannot be completed remotely or gaps in the supply chain.

Expand Automation: Process automation is at the heart of any successful digital transformation strategy, but enterprises are still largely burdened with repetitive work that can easily be automated. Business continuity is expected to get a significant boost from robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), and digital process automation (DPA) to improve the flow of data as well as complete manual tasks such as filling out forms or data extraction.

You may be wondering how best to prioritize your business continuity plans in light of the pandemic. Contact us at Clarksys for guidance in choosing the right strategy for automation and other digital transformation solutions.

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