First Steps towards Enterprise Resilience – A Guide

Enterprise resilience revolves around a mindset, and capabilities that places the pursuit of business optimization in the forefront of whichever circumstances are encountered. It will never be a state of status quo. On the contrary, resilience requires agility, creativity, and perseverance in all business elements from its executives and employees. The benefits of resilience will be tangible in day-to-day operations and during and after incidents and crises. Value for the company, its shareholders, customers,

and other stakeholders will be created by better management of events ranging from the undesired to the unknown.

Key Points:

· Change is perpetual and accelerating. Hyper-fast technology developments and adoption, shifting customer expectations and behaviors and expanded interconnectedness of e.g., supply chains.

· The spectrum of all-hazards events, and their second and third order consequences, will cascade across borders, jurisdictions, and networks, leaving enterprises with only a few available choices: adapt, muddle through, or perish.

· An investment in resilience should be viewed as up-side, not a cost center. If resilience is institutionalized and properly sustained, it will be the difference between not just surviving future events but thriving in new realities.

· Resilience begins with the determination to put in place a decision-support framework for better decisions to achieve optimized business outcomes during any circumstance.

· A practical first step to begin or to boost the process of resilience is planning for and implementing an Integrated Operation Center (IOC). An IOC can be used as a project engine and provide a visible result of moving towards Enterprise Resilience.

This article will be followed by additional short pieces to offer guidance in this journey.

Manifesting Enterprise Resilience Through an IOC

An Integrated Operations Center (IOC) is a sophisticated and potent asset. It provides a central rallying point for the framework, processes, and benefits of creating and sustaining enterprise resilience. * It sets in place a decision-framework for collaborative decision-making. It revolves around the key areas of situational awareness, communication, resource management and reporting for all types of workflows.

How do you start? Commit to a discovery phase to explore what resilience in general and an IOC would bring in terms of benefits for the enterprise. The current level of resilience and preparedness for various events needs to be benchmarked as most companies and organizations will have some programs, capabilities, and tools already in place. Identify gaps in workflow processes and capabilities within the key areas of an IOC.

Gather and analyze lessons observed from previous events that has impacted operations. These events should be viewed with an all-hazards lens and capture problems and consequences caused by an event, how these were managed and include a general performance review of what could have been done better. An analysis should also include reviews of what industry peers have experienced as those events could easily happen to your company.

Perhaps most important, look forward and extrapolate current projections, planning scenarios and horizon scanning efforts to map potential future operational and strategic challenges and analyze how to best navigate those.

The discovery phase shall result in a vision document that sets an ambition level for resilience, summarizes insights of past and current events, identifies lessons learned, capability gaps, charts future challenges and provide an expected return on investment (ROI) by creating an IOC.

This document should be scrutinized by key stakeholders in the enterprise and guide the decision whether to go forward towards enterprise resilience. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? What known risks is the company exposed to and what risks are tolerable? How can the company best overcome and thrive despite all the un’s of the future: the undesired, the unwanted, the unexpected, the unlikely and the unknown?

Concept of Operations Document for the IOC

The next step is to create a Concept of Operations (Con-Ops) document that builds on the Vision document and conceptualizes a mission statement, goals, and objectives. Both are “living” documents that should be regularly updated, deliberated, and used to shape the course of sustaining enterprise resilience.

Mapping processes and workflows, the standard operating procedures (SOPs), sets the foundation for the wanted and the unwanted. Key performance indicators (KPI’s) should exist for all workflows to use for business optimization purposes as well as for setting thresholds to detect anomalies.

Systems mapping will evaluate how users will be connected, how to collaborate within and across different systems, how to communicate, and how to manage processes and assets. Users shall too be mapped including those “within” an IOC, users of IOC products, and those with information for the IOC. The goal is to create a collaborative decision-making environment.

Anticipation and detection of any kind of disruption is essential. Situational awareness to understand what is happening and having the capability to understand potential consequences up- and downstream and identify decision options will drive performance.

An inventory should be made of useful and usable data bases and information sources, both internally and externally, that can be used for early detection and maintaining situational awareness. As AI and machine learning applications mature having this kind of inventory can accelerate the potential for predictive and even preventative actions.

Mapping processes and systems for reports that include event data, single or aggregated, is essential to up-date both the operational elements of the business, but also to provide input into the strategic planning cycle.

The Con-Ops should also detail ideas for continuous training of its operators and users of its products. The lay-out and location of the IOC is also important to consider. What event impacts should it be able to withstand and how to secure power and other elements vital to its success. IT system robustness and cyber security elements to protect sensitive data and information naturally needs to be included as well.

The next step is to transform the Con-Ops into a detailed project and governance plan.

More on that and other topics soon.

Thank you for reading!

Panorama Strategies is available to support any enterprise interested in embarking on this kind of discover process, or to support implementation of an IOC project.

*See an earlier article for more details: The Integrated Operation Center as a key Asset for Enterprise Resilience.