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PA OPINION

Protecting people and customers - helping you prioritise your operational resilience response to COVID-19

The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us, both in our personal and professional lives. Business leaders around the world are striving to keep their businesses running effectively, their services available and – more than anything – their people and customers safe.

Operational resilience – the ability to prevent, respond to, recover and learn from operational disruptions – is a key priority. And in uncertain times, you have to make decisions quickly, to prioritise your resources and keep your people productive and safe.

It’s likely your response will already have begun, and you will be working through your continuity arrangements. But this will be a marathon, not a sprint. Over the coming weeks and months, you’ll need to keep continuity, resilience and customer impacts front of mind, and consider the ongoing actions your organisation will need to take.

As a leader, the new COVID-19 environment re-enforces the need for strong and decisive leadership, collaborative ways of working and more sophisticated use of data to drive business decisions. We believe there are also five key operational areas of your business that need to be galvanised and prioritised. By reviewing them all, holistically, you’ll get an unmatched view of your position and how to prioritise to maintain resilience in the face of evolving threats or crises.

Our principles underpin a long-term approach to business resilience, but there are also some immediate, proactive actions firms should look to take:

  • As you run simulations and scenarios to assist in decision-making, be sure to provide clear and regular communication of priorities to staff so resources stay focused on revenue generation and longer-term value creation.
  • Make sure you are leveraging data science and forecasts to get an accurate view of the profitability of business units, products and services, customer complaints and regulatory requirements.
  • Make sure your IT and technology resources have the capacity and support needed to keep priority customer-facing projects going.
  • Be extra cyber vigilant by training staff to be alert to threats when remote working as bad actors try to take advance of the new working patterns and use of technology.
  • Support new ways of remote working by role modelling behaviours and taking actions that helps drive culture change and adoption of new collaboration tools (Microsoft Teams, Slack etc.)
  • Make sure you know your supply chain and map which suppliers contribute to your most important services. Reach out to them quickly, and have honest conversations to align priorities.
  • Iterate and evolve your continuity plans and crisis management resources. Make improvements and upskill teams quickly to plug gaps and adapt to the changing circumstances.

Having run over 100 operational resilience projects as a firm, we know that meeting this global challenge will require you to deploy resources quickly and effectively to mitigate the strain and remain resilient and adaptive. Some examples of our work with clients includes:

Preparing for times of crisis and safeguarding $1 trillion in assets

T.Rowe Price’s operational continuity is critical to their success, and their customers’ security. We helped them assess their most critical business functions, including global trading, client operations and compliance so they knew how to respond during times of crisis.

Using a crisis simulation to strengthen operational resilience

We helped OneSavingsBank improve their readiness in order to anticipate challenging circumstances and navigate through them effectively. We used crisis simulation techniques endorsed by their board.

Putting business continuity plans to the test across three continents

We helped NEX group answer the question: what happens in a cyber-attack? Using simulated scenarios, we helped them NEX realise the strength of their contingency plans and change their approach as needed.

Business-focused data security testing provides rock-solid privacy assurance

Our team of data privacy and security experts helped OpenGI secure their business-critical software platform.  

Protecting your business and customers will require timely interventions, smart use of resources and potentially difficult decisions from leaders and across your organisation.

But we know that keeping your people productive, communicating and collaborating is the top priority for business leaders right now. Our operational resilience experts are on hand to share the frameworks, guidance and tools we have available to help firms navigate the current unprecedented circumstances.

Get in touch here to receive a copy of our full Operational Resilience checklist.

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