Seven Principles to Power the Resilience Imperative
Companies have traditionally valued operational resilience, but it rarely reached the top of their long list of priorities. Now, a once-in-a-century pandemic, extraordinary civil unrest, increasing weather-related disasters, and more have pushed this concern to the top of the agenda.
Operational resilience was voted the single most important nonfinancial risk, jumping ahead of technology and IT risk, third-party risk, and even cyber risk, according to a 2021 CeFPro survey. Financial regulators anticipated the increased risk of disruption in 2018 when the Bank of England released its discussion paper on operational resilience. Those proposals have developed into actual financial sector policies that will be enforced starting in 2022.
This dynamic has forced organizations to rethink how they manage operational resilience. In a joint whitepaper, Infosys and Fusion Risk Management laid out seven key principles that serve as the foundation for success. The goal is not just to meet regulatory demands but also to make resilience a competitive differentiator that can build customer trust in this new era of uncertainty.
Figure 1. Know your business inside and out
Source: Fusion Risk Management
Here is a brief overview of those seven principles that can make operational resilience a strategic advantage.
- Make business continuity a change agent — Build a modern infrastructure that allows leaders to better understand their organizations. A natural starting point for operational resilience is to view business continuity more broadly. This is a critical step in gaining visibility and in realizing how to change and adapt, not just fixing the business when something goes wrong. Companies must evolve toward information-based continuity practices rather than relying on dated approaches that use static plans.
- Manage resilience from a customer perspective — Prioritize efforts to make the business services with the greatest impact for customers more resilient. Map those critical processes in a sensible, informative way, and define measurements from a customer perspective. Set impact tolerances based on internal assessments, and then refine over time based on regulatory guidance that will continue to expand as regulators gain experience. Look for solutions and partners that understand this customer-first perspective.
- Understand risk and impact from the outside in and the inside out — Collect and use both internal and external data sources and filter them intelligently based on business context. Leverage external real-time data to monitor approaching threats. This allows leaders to make better decisions with the insights gained. Resilience systems should enable companies to run the business, not just mitigate risk.
- Respond with greater precision using data-driven systems — Build targeted response plans in real time and automate the response based on factors such as proximity and type of incident. Bring together the knowledge of process and place to speed your response by assessing the impact through visualization tools. Make decisions in hours rather than weeks. This can save millions of dollars and allow you to take better care of your people.
- Consolidate silos — Bring traditionally siloed departments together by providing value in consumable chunks. Breaking down silos is not an easy task. However, the right technology allows companies to gently bring on more of the enterprise over time without a stressful and risky big-bang deployment. Key pieces of the effort do not need to take years. Start in one area and evolve. Then bring others in based on the benefits they see.
- Turn operational resilience efforts into strategic foresight — Provide visibility to enable agile decision-making. An operational resilience system must mitigate risk but should also supply business intelligence by understanding the organization it protects. When executives need support to make decisions, the risk and resilience systems must provide the context. Companies need to know how each business service works, identify alternatives, list the weak points, pinpoint the most important vendors, and determine what is manufactured in risky locales.
- Build exceptional customer experiences by understanding how your world works — Improve customer experience through resilience insights. Competition demands that you constantly evolve. Monitor data that shows what is changing and where. Take the knowledge you gather to help the business be more adaptive and pivot to new opportunities.
In a changed world that demands greater operational resilience, organizations must find new approaches to both meet regulatory demands and make resilience a competitive differentiator. This will take time, guidance, and improved technology. The payoff, however, will be increased visibility as organizations break down silos and build a shared understanding of how the most critical business services work.
Seeing the organization and its priorities clearly will allow companies to respond in an agile way to any situation and deliver effectively on customer commitments. To learn more about these seven principles that can guide your operational resilience strategy, download The Resilience Imperative white paper.