Plan for the best, prepare for the worst.
When it comes to Business Continuity (BC) planning, truer words have never been spoken. After many years of working as a Managed Service Provider, I learned the value of a solid business continuity plan. Identifying and planning for significant internal and external challenges is an important part of any business plan, and we spent a lot of time advising and coaching our customers on the best way to set up their plans. One of the most important lessons we have learned over the years is that you must test your plan and make sure it works properly.
A few months ago, we ran a live Business Continuity test exercise at BrightGauge. There wasn’t any type of “real” disaster; my brother (our Product Manager) was going on vacation for ten days and had vowed to completely disconnect from the office. Brian is responsible for everything related to our software platform, including Development, Support, On Boarding, and Professional Services. Our entire team needed to step up to the plate in his absence and make sure all the bases were covered. Pressure was especially high for BrightGauge because it was also a release week. Meaning we were rolling out a new update to the product and there would be potential customer service and technical questions and issues.
Before Brian left for vacation, we had a detailed “hand off” meeting. We outlined and discussed all the pending items relating to the platform and the roll out. We identified any potential problems and created detailed solutions so they could be managed and handled in his absence. The list was thorough and detailed but we both knew it didn’t cover everything.
When Brian returned, re-energized and refreshed from his mini sabbatical, we had another de-brief. I handed things back over to him, along with a number of detailed reports and recommendations. By spending time in Brian’s role, I brought fresh eyes and a new perspective to this important component of our business. My wrap up report included recommendations that may have gone unnoticed to someone who spends all day, every day, in the same role.
Additionally, I got an opportunity to explore how software development impacts sales and marketing. We have been able to fine tune and streamline the marketing process, making it more fluid right out of the box. Now, our sales and marketing team and our software team are all speaking the same language, which has a big impact on the customer service experience.
Our BC test run was a great opportunity for BrightGauge and I would highly recommend it for all businesses and executives. Brian had a much needed opportunity to relax and recharge and he knows now the world won’t end if he’s not available 24-7. As a company, we benefited from a set of fresh eyes and jumped at the opportunity to streamline and make adjustments to an already effective process.
After this Business Continuity Planning exercise, I’ll update the old business school adage. Plan For The Best. Prepare For The Worst.