It’s not always easy to look at things from somebody else’s point of view. Sales and marketing people have to do so if they want to build products that customers want and get the customer’s order. Successful supply chains rely on each link meeting the requirements of the next link, meaning the next customer, right up to the end-customer again. Similarly, business continuity has its internal customers. BC needs to be “sold” to departments to get them actively involved in making sure they can keep on working even in adverse conditions. Now external business customers also want to know what BC precautions their suppliers are taking. It may not be long before consumers do too.
If this sounds like a stretch of the imagination, consider the following. IT security, an important part of business continuity, is already in the public eye. A number of high-profile breaches such as those perpetrated against Sony, Anthem, and Target, have alerted people everywhere about the need for their suppliers to take proper care of their data. Businesses and government agencies want to know that the organisations with which they partner are applying sufficient security to shared data. Consumers are increasingly making buying decisions according to the level of security they perceive in potential providers, especially when those providers ask for personal information and payment details.
We already know that business continuity can be used for positive commercial impact, not just for increased internal efficiency. Demonstrating to business customers how your enterprise is better able to guarantee delivery of products and services gives your enterprise an edge – sometimes a conclusive edge for getting a contract signed. With increased access to information of all sorts, consumers too attach more importance to how companies produce, not just what they produce. Corporate social responsibility, ethics and IT security are already under scrutiny. Don’t be surprised if business continuity also comes under the consumers’ microscope – which would also mean an opportunity to boost a company’s brand image with consumers by pointing out how good it is at “taking a licking and keeping on ticking”.