Gartner recommends five-phase strategy for business continuity

According to Gartner, CIOs can play a prominent role in increasing resilience in order to ensure business continuity throughout the coronavirus crisis and beyond.

Daniel Sun, research vice-president at Gartner, said: “Companies tend to have traditional business continuity strategies and plans that focus on the continuity of the resources and processes, but omit the business model.

“However, the business model itself can be a threat to continuity of operations in external events, such as the global outbreak of COVID-19.”

The strategy Gartner recommends is as follows:

1. Define the business model

Companies must focus on their customer base, and ask 10 key questions of current business models based on customers, as well as value propositions, capabilities and financial models.

CIOs will need to play a proactive role, alongside other senior business leaders, in achieving this.

2. Identify uncertainties

Areas of uncertainty can be identified within a company either by brainstorming, or via a strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) analysis.

Companies need to focus on risks that any uncertainties provide, with a diverse team, particularly within IT, being most beneficial to this step of the business continuity strategy.

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“CIOs should participate in, or coordinate, the brainstorming sessions to identify any uncertainties from COVID-19 outbreaks,” said Sun. “CIOs can share some of IT’s potential uncertainties and threats, such as issues with IT infrastructure, applications and software systems.”

3. Assess the impact

The impact of any detected uncertainties can be assessed or quantified by project teams made up of various disciplines.

The perspective of IT can be contributed by the CIO.

4. Design changes

The fourth phase of the strategy recommended by Gartner should involve provisional strategies that are subject to further changes.

These designs should be facilitated by digital technologies and capabilities leveraged by the CIO and IT team.

5. Execute changes

The decision of which designed changes to put into practice should be down to senior leadership teams.

Often, which strategies decision makers choose to implement will be based on economic calculations and intuition.

Sun added: “Once senior leadership teams select the business and IT change initiatives, CIOs should apply an agile approach in executing the initiatives.

“For example, they can form an agile (product) team of multidisciplinary team members, enabling the alignment between business and IT and ensuring delivery speed and quality.

“In crises such as the COVID-19 outbreak, agility, speed and quality are crucial for enabling the continuity of operations.”

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.