2020 - The Year of Business Continuity


Like many, first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, I’m jumping on various news sources to keep abreast of events impacting our daily lives and our work. Whilst, I’m grateful to live in a country with a relatively stable infrastructure, I’ve become acutely aware in the last six months of the very real impact external socio-environmental events can have on businesses regardless of their size or location.

With the recent repeated emergencies between fires, flood and now disease, 1-in-6 Australian businesses (15%) have already been affected by the coronavirus, after over a quarter of Australian businesses (28%) said they have been affected by the extensive bush fires over the last few months according to a special Roy Morgan Snap SMS Survey of 1,170 Australian businesses. The need to improve work life through creativity, collaboration and seamless technology solutions has never been more real.

Locally, Australian businesses have been forced to respond to these recent events by reviewing their concept of a productive workplace and developing a more robust business continuity plan to ensure they are able to stay productive despite the disruption. It comes as no surprise that businesses are struggling to survive let alone retain their competitive advantage in the current market.

Whether Australian businesses will be able to adapt to these environmental and economic changes and take advantage of the current market disruption to innovate their processes and workplace ecosystems remains to be seen.

In my opinion, in this instance disruption may be the catalyst needed to accelerate the adoption of technologies that will enable Australian businesses to remain relevant and competitive whilst employees are faced with possible quarantine or self-isolation due to fear of spreading the coronavirus COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19 could have lasting effects on how we work, propelling businesses towards retaining an increasingly liquid workforce.

I believe this can only be made possible through the fusion of workplace technology, processes and culture, the latter being the most important element in the mix to ensure success in 2020 and beyond. Also, the supporting IT strategy needs to be one that incorporates flexible working practices and provides the business with benefits from improving operational effectiveness, reducing capital costs, access to a broader and rich skill based contingent workforce and deliver a better customer experience.

The value of understanding how we collaborate between employees, business partners, and customers in a real time and meaningful manner can challenge the notion of coordination of people and its resources, the location of communication forums, and the organisational cultural aspects that support this has become a new socio-technology aspect of a business community.

Fortunately, today we have access to the technology that can facilitate these BCP operational functions as well as contribute to organisation culture. We have cloud video conferencing and unified communication (UC) solutions that allow us to connect from anywhere by leveraging today's common business UC platforms and support flexible mobile working requirements.

There are also visitor management, digital signage and workspace utilisation solutions we can safely track and communicate with staff or guests across an omnichannel medium from phone, email and social media before during and after an evacuation.

So whilst the impending emergencies still worry me and are a challenge for any business or organisation, their people and their community, I take a level of comfort knowing there are still options available that provision for and enable business continuity.