It’s safe to say that our reliance on technology is ever-increasing. With so many business functions across our industries now underpinned by IT, it’s more important than ever to consider the consequences to your business if you experience tech-related trouble.
The cost of downtime, whether it’s due to a major IT crisis or a day-to-day issue such as being short on tech staff, can quickly escalate.
This is why our core focus for 2017 at C5 Alliance is Business Resilience. Specifically, ensuring our business community understands the importance of being resilient across their whole organisation.
As the Channel Island’s largest provider of IT services, we want businesses to understand that while IT is a core factor, the scope of Business Resilience goes beyond IT.
For us, Business Resilience means knowing your systems are available 24/7, having the people and skills to run efficiently, acting proactively to prevent issues in the future, and being able to continue in a time of crisis. Ensuring Business Resilience can save you a lot of time, effort and money! Here are some points to consider:
The latest research from the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) revealed unplanned loss of talent or skills as the second highest cause for disruption in 2016. It’s no secret that there’s currently a shortage of digital skills across the Channel Islands. Local non-IT firms often don’t have the knowledge to train new tech staff themselves, resulting in either costly and time consuming training, or recruiting a specialist. These businesses often struggle to retain tech staff due to lack of job fulfilment. From an IT professional’s perspective, working for a non-IT business offers limited opportunities for advancement in terms of skills and overall career progression. This can result in money and time wasted on frequent recruitment and training, plus the additional overhead of managing and motivating the team. You must also consider what you’d do if a key member of the IT team is off sick or on holiday; do you have another individual sufficiently trained in your systems, or would issues just go on hold until their return? Working with an external team of experts is one way to avoid these risks. C5 clients benefit from our constant development and progression of new and succession planning which means we always have multiple team members trained in client systems. We choose our staff based on their attitude rather than skillset too, and provide them with the skills they need in-house.
The BCI’s top cause for disruption last year was unplanned IT or telecommunications outages, accounting for 60% of disruptions. If you’ve invested in tech, you should ensure it is properly maintained and protected with proactive monitoring and problem management. IT Resilience is about more than just responding to and resolving a single issue. It’s about understanding why they happen and preventing them in future. We find a proactive approach significantly reduces the volume of calls our clients make in regards to tech trouble. Protecting your systems with the latest updates is also important, at C5 our 24/7 Team often takes care of this out of office hours to relieve the strain from systems when they’re needed the most. Our partnership with Microsoft also helps, as we’re always aware of the latest issues to look out for and the patches to resolve them.
Business Continuity (BC) is about considering risks specific to your business and mitigating them. Disruption comes in many forms and always has a negative impact. Fires, office floods, power cuts, telecommucations outages, damage due to bad weather, the list goes on. I’ve seen the repercussions first-hand – it does pay to have a plan for continuance in place. Recent local disruptors like the issues with JT undersea fibre-optic cables and the power cut in Alderney has only highlighted how vulnerable businesses can be and why BC is vital. There are many BC solutions to consider, whether its cloud-based, or an entire back-up office and systems. Expert and independent consultation will ensure you have the right BC plan for your business so it’s protected in the future. Think of it like insurance!
The spiralling costs of downtime, loss of productivity and even revenue due to a lack of Business Resilience can have a significant impact. If you’re not a tech business, why should you have to suffer the fallout of tech issues? I challenge you to consider whether managing your own IT makes financial and strategic sense or if you’d be better off working in partnership with a specialist organisation to ensure your Business Resilience for the future.