So whilst our business continuity plans were implemented some weeks ago, we are discovering that they weren’t quite so all encompassing, and in many areas have had to be modified and extended. Potentially we’re seeing that more key staff and stakeholders should have been consulted in their construction, as certain things have not been considered and new strategies are having to be employed ‘on-the-fly’ to navigate these uncharted waters. An hour in front of commercial television draws attention to the fact that marketeers are largely scrambling to adjust their strategies to current times, with many missing the mark without the luxury of time to consider their pitch.

Returning to normal?

The fact is that a BCP is generally created as an interim measure, as Wikipedia puts it ‘until the business can return to regular trade’. For many, whilst the standard elements had been considered to enable ongoing operations’ those plans were made with a short-term mindset, with the thought that we can limp along and make do until things go back to normal. With ‘normal’ being a concept which in itself is likely to need to be reset, those living in the reality of implementing short-term plans are in need of realignment.

Whilst there seems to be a standard dictionary of phraseology in use throughout the current crisis, the term ‘pivot’, has to be one of the most loathsome. The fact is that for many, even ‘the central point’ from which they might turn has moved, thus ‘pivot’ really doesn’t capture the seismic shift the world is experiencing. The fact is that most of what we have ‘known’, and based our decision making and strategy on previously, has changed.

Evolution

Previous givens such as demographic behaviour ‘norms’ are being vagrantly flouted as our senior citizens adopt digital, video conferencing and social media en masse. With social media platforms, historically the domain of the young, being flooded with more ‘experienced’ users (kudos to Dame Judi Dench on TikTok!). The rise in online shopping has taken many retailers by surprise with many not having BCPs designed to navigate a pandemic driven lockdown. Many have had to suspend services (Next), and even employ online queuing systems, just to access their online stores (B&Q, Tesco). We take a look at Online survival in the wake of lockdown’ in our next article.

Learn and adapt

Global research and advisory firm Gartner advises businesses to; ‘Learn and adapt quickly to protect end-user service delivery, organisational brand and future sustainability proactively.’ In order to ‘learn and adapt’ as they suggest, a business review can bring clarity around whether service/product, processes, resource and strategy is fit for the current environment/market.