Learnings From Pandemic: The Benefits of Disruption Response Management


By Dougie Beck 

If the Covid crisis has taught us anything it is that many organisations were not ready to cope with the disruptions caused. Some had Business Continuity plans, but most did not and had to react and respond in real time. Whack a mole. Whether successful or not this was stressful, chaotic and inefficient use of time and resources. 

So, should everyone invest in preparing Business Continuity Plans and develop Business Continuity Management processes and capabilities? That would be ideal but not realistic as doing quality BCP & BCM takes time and resources to develop, maintain and train staff. Especially if you try to cater for multiple potential disruption e.g. black swan, brexit, predictable AI etc …

And the challenge of maintaining plans over time as things change is a significant one. There is no point making the initial investment in time, effort and resources only to find that they are out of date when the disruption or crisis arrives. It’s like taking out comprehensive insurance and then letting the payments lapse.

And of course, it is all fine and well to have good current plans, but execution is another matter. You need appropriate command and control processes and system to initiate, track and review your responses and progress over time.

So, what is the alternative to the expense of developing and maintaining BCP & BCP? That is the ‘ready to use’ DRM. Always up to date, cover multiple disruption scenarios and has the execution toolkit you need to manage the response process successfully and efficiently.

Disruption Response Management Scenarios

1. Perfect World = take out Business Continuity Plans, pick the ones that fits and apply response management command and control tool kit to allocate actions, track progress. Then review success of actions taken, and remedies deployed and continue to iterate for ongoing improvement pre and post the actual disruption.

2. Reality for many businesses = it’s been a process of ‘whack a mole’ addressing each issue as it arises, grab advice from some third-party sources as it becomes available, be as reactive as possible on a daily and weekly basis.

However, this reactive approach with no supporting control and coordination tool kit (DRM) make it difficult to effectively allocate, track and monitor success of individual and collective results. 

Moreover, without an accurate audit trail of actions taken, mitigations and remedies applied it will be difficult to know what responses should be kept for the long term and which should be removed as they reach their use by date. There is a danger that short term fixed become long term fixtures that are detrimental to the organisation’s best interests.

Survival may be achieved but much chaos, fatigue and legacy impacts will likely be experienced. 

References for 3 types of DRM classifications

There are broadly 3 types of disruption that the proposed DRM will address. 

  • Ongoing, encroaching disruption such as AI, Robotics, Cyber-attack, IoT, Sustainability, Legislation. These ongoing threats are best approached proactively as part of a disruption identification and avoidance strategy. But they follow the same basic process of applying a ready to use to do list of action points to research, evaluate and come up with decisions on relevant responses. The objective is both future proofing the business against likely disruptions and exploring opportunities to be on the side of the disruptor for competitive advantage.   

Of course, if these disruptive forces are ignored and others exploit them first for competitive advantage the DRM can be used as a reactive response tool kit to play catch up and get on par with the competitors. 

The ‘ready to use’ DRM is designed for responding to disruption created by market forces, economic events and wide scale social disruption.

It is not seeking to address localised instances of fire, flood and other more organisation specific disruptions that can be insured against to provide protections.

These emergency events are typically dealt with by Emergency Response procedures (BMC plans and Insurance required emergency readiness plans). 

The proposed DRM solution aims to address the much wider ranging market, economic and social disruptions, items that typically can’t be insured, as part of an organisation’s risk management and impact mitigation process.

(This is the first part in a 3-part series on DRM for businesses post pandemic)

About Author: 

Dougie Beck

Director at InnovateToProfit & Spacetime NZ – Dougie Beck as operated as a consultant working with clients on sales performance improvement, leveraging CRM and CX technologies. He has worked with some of the world’s most successful companies including KPMG, Price Waterhouse, NZ Soltius NZ, Azimuth NZ, Oracle NZ, and Digital Equipment (UK).

(Interested in getting coached on how to improve sales in your business? Email-Dougie Beck: dbeck@xtra.co.nz.)