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Business Continuity Planning - The Communication Conundrum

Global events have thrown business practices into disarray, highlighting the value of well-laid continuity plans. Although the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus in particular will remain a significant business concern for some time to come, the wider value of business continuity planning has also been highlighted.

By: Lydia Bird

Recent global events have thrown business practices into disarray and forced staff to work outside the traditional office environment. Savvy businesses aren’t sitting back and are proactively looking for ways to salvage their investments. This inevitably means shifting meetings, events and collaboration tools to online, cloud-based solutions. Not all organisations are prepared, however, which highlights the value of well-laid business continuity plans.

Although the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus in particular will remain a significant business concern for some time to come, it highlights the wider value of business continuity planning. That value extends far beyond single events, even ones of this scale. It includes recent Europe-wide flooding for example, as well as future environmental challenges.

Thankfully, businesses can pivot quickly by taking advantage of established cloud-based solutions. This will allow them to adapt to the challenges of remote working, and rise to the occasion.

The show must go online

The good news is that, with a little planning and application of modern technology, businesses can continue to function effectively. The key is transferring person to person interactions into virtual conversations, and ensuring that staff have remote access to the systems and tools they need.

Indeed, well prepared businesses stand to gain a significant advantage over their competitors when switching to virtual alternatives. With the right infrastructure in place, sales and marketing effort can continue without any loss of momentum.

However, a survey from global consultancy Mercer recently found that an astonishing 51 per cent of businesses had no contingency plans in place. An interesting corollary to that statistic is that the same survey found 92.2% of companies believe that working from home would be the option of choice during an office closure. 

If you don’t already have a plan, the first step in creating a robust and scalable business continuity strategy is to assess the business thoroughly. It requires that leaders identify the key systems required to operate the enterprise, as well as key personnel and operational locations. Having made this assessment, which will vary according to the business sector and size, it will be possible to spot any single points of failure that may exist.

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Business continuity through cloud tools

These single points of failure in today’s enterprise are often legacy processes and practices. For example, accounts data that resides on a single desktop, or video and media assets stored locally on a drive. When people are forced to work from home without the access and tools required to function effectively, the whole business suffers.

This is where cloud services really deliver on several fronts, by enabling remote working in general and in emergencies. And they also serve as a backup in the case of localised issues, such as flooding.

This is particularly valuable for large video files. Once stored securely in the cloud, video can be downloaded and edited, published or shared anywhere in the world. And with video playing such a core role in all areas of the enterprise, from recruiting to marketing, a flexible cloud-based Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution can be a game changer. Strong access controls mean that different user groups can automatically be whitelisted to access certain content groupings, ensuring that confidential information is not accidentally leaked. Conversely, assets that were intended to be disseminated are available and ready for sharing.

When the entire workforce operates remotely, such tools become invaluable. It prevents the unmonitored and haphazard distribution of content through email, unsecured servers and other methods of unsecured distribution, such as open file-sharing links.

Communication conundrum

Of course, communication channels are one of the most important business continuity threads to pick up. Business as usual requires a host of interactions, from casual chats to formal minuted meetings, and it is vital that these are accessible remotely. Fortunately, there is considerable scale in this market. This includes a host of free desktop apps through to substantial enterprise setups with specialised hardware and dedicated fibre and hosting.

However, one aspect that is often missed is the secure and ongoing storage and retrieval of recorded video meetings. Most cloud services offer the ability to record and store a limited amount of meeting video, and the usual tiered packages allow for larger volumes. However, this raises some potential challenges, including cost duplication, and the inevitable siloing of potentially valuable assets.

DAM effective

Ensuring this type of asset is uploaded to a centralised DAM is a more future-proof strategy. This is especially true if the meetings are business-critical or of future importance, such as compliance or due diligence discussions, for example. Some DAM solutions, such as Imagen, also allow for detailed metadata logging and time-based annotations, to make searching back through previous meetings for key information a simple task.

It is worth bearing in mind that using business continuity planning techniques to create a scalable and powerful remote working and meeting strategy will pay dividends during periods of ‘normal’ operation as well as times of crisis. Research in 2019 found that 80% of employees want to work from home at least some of the time. More than a third of workers would even take a pay cut of up to 5% in order to work more flexibly.

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The rise of the virtual conference

Another major repercussion of moving from face to face to virtual is the potential loss of major conference time, with all the various benefits of in-person meetings, keynotes and peer socialising. However, virtual conferencing can mitigate most of these losses. In particular, Imagen’s Plan B, provides a ready-made solution to deliver any event content to registered attendees online, through any browser or device.

As well as offering a ready-made portal for attendees, sponsors and vendors can also join the conversation. This creates an online space to learn, promote and engage with content as a community. This can not only effectively capitalise on media assets and content that speakers and event teams have already created, but also host live webcasts or round-table events in real-time. The end result is highly-shareable branded content that can be reshared by attendees on their own channels.

The future is now

The value of well-established cloud content management processes and working protocols is considerable, whether your enterprise is reacting to a crisis or not.

Effective, and intuitive, content management solutions can provide an avenue to replace and augment physical events, whether they be townhalls, product releases or internal meetings. The power of cloud solutions such as Imagen are well recognised and established. Now is the time to use them to the best advantage.

Imagen is a ready-made solution to deliver your content to registered attendees online as a consequence of event cancellations. Discover how our solution could help your event team make use of the great content they had intended to share at events this year that could otherwise go to waste.

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