Can these two items coexist? Business continuity is about keeping things going, whereas business transformation is often about breaking things (figuratively, if not literally) to get out of a rut and into a new, more competitive mode of business.
The quick answer is to go beyond the superficial meaning of the word “continuity” and apply business continuity in a context of change, not stagnation. In practice, this means watching out for a number of challenges.
Because business transformation is seldom an option (every enterprise must go through it at some point), let’s consider four steps to making it happen and see how business continuity gets involved at each step.
- Make the vision for business transformation. Like brainstorming (when done correctly), generate all the possibilities and possibly crazy ideas for where your business should be within the next N years (you define N). Then filter out the possibilities that would leave your enterprise too exposed to risk and business discontinuity.
- Execute your vision for business transformation. Many a slip twixt cup and lip, but smart application of business continuity could save the day here. BC principles can be applied to make sure that business transformation based on visions and strategy is not interrupted and that backup solutions exist to keep it going at all times.
- Watch out for nostalgia. Past or even current successes can keep a business from understanding that it must change for the future. This is where the word “continuity” is at its most dangerous, suggesting (to some) that things have be done just as they are being done today. Not so. What continuity means is that the business continues to operate, and change is often an essential part of business continuity in that sense.
- Stay flexible to meet customer needs. Don’t get locked into a product or service definition, at the expense of any agility or flexibility. Your business and business continuity compass must always show you what customers want, which may not be the same between yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
So, all the best for your business transformation, and may your enterprise continue to be (continually) successful!