10 Simple Planning Actions to Increase Your Consistency of Exceeding Customer Expectations


Many executives ask themselves: “I know the basics about critical processes and mission-critical systems but what can I do to really make a difference in our ability to consistently exceed our customer’s expectations?”

 One way is to focus on increasing your business value and to sustain that value regardless of expected or unexpected circumstances. Below are 10 planning actions that you can take to support your mission critical value proposition.

10. Don’t be satisfied with a computer backup plan.  When your clients ask what’s the #1 reason they should use your company, do you say it’s your technology?  Probably not.  Why are you relying on technology to save you in a disaster?

9. Ask questions.  What are your employees doing in their personal lives for emergency readiness?  What are their concerns?  How can you help them?

8. Talk about operational risk and continuity management in business strategy meetings.  Talking is the first step to integrating it into the corporate culture.

7. Don’t count on vendors to pick up your slack in an emergency.  If it’s not written into your contract don’t put it in your plan.  Even then, always have a backup plan.

6. Know when to say there’s a problem.  Chances are you’re not going to be the one to first notice something is wrong.  If you are ignoring business deficiencies, others are too.

5. Know your emergency response plan.  Every natural hazard has a professional group that monitors it and knows how to respond.  The response plans are usually free online.  Get a good plan for the basic natural disasters in your area.  Keep it simple and your bases covered.

4. Don’t focus on the fear.  It’s easy to look at the unlimited disaster scenarios and get overwhelmed.  Instead look at what’s really important – a strong business plan.

3. Make a list of what is really important to your business.  Keep it short – not more than ten points (tops!).  Share it with everyone – your boss, your employees, your clients, your partners.

2. Build relationships with three key responders.  This could be your local police department or a critical vendor.  The point is being on a first name basis with the person who has the answers you’re going to need during your emergency.

1. Create a solid employee communications plan and test it quarterly or more often.  People are your greatest asset; know how to connect with them.  Set standards and make them clear.

Still unsure or need help developing a road map to make your path simple?  We’re here for you.  Call now for a free consultation.    888-297-PLAN


Notable statements from the 2011-2012 KPMG Global BCM Program Benchmarking Study

  • The fact that 31% of respondents felt they had met their RTO during a disruption, when 85%
    are using exercises, indicates there is room to improve the quality of exercises. ~ED Mately,
    Director, Advisory Services, KPMG LLP
  • It is interesting that reputation as a program driver has increased from 14% to 40% in the last
    four years. I believe this is the direct result of the pervasiveness of social media & its impact on
    public perception.
  • Almost 85% of the respondents state that their business continuity program is primarily
    implemented for continuity of operations, which emphasizes the acknowledgement of
    corporate responsibility and ownership to institutionalize this continuity into business
  • It appears that the business continuity function is getting better defined, is reporting at a higher
    level and functional substantiation is based on value to the business. If we want to raise the
    profile of BCM and get executive-level buy-in, then we need to measure the value contribution
    of BCM programs not just program performance.
  • Many organizations’ IT recovery strategies are undergoing change, namely internal software
    and hardware solutions (43%), combination internal and external solutions (36%), and external
    hardware and software solutions (23%). On average, 3.8% of IT budgets go to disaster recovery
  • An organization’s reputation can be ruined in minutes if not handled appropriately. That is why
    it is essential to have social media plans incorporated as part of an overall crisis management
  • Executive sponsorship, funding and other metrics are important considerations for all
    organizations. One way we can further develop BCM programs is to increase collaboration
    across all industries.

Survey on KPMG

The complex environment in which businesses operate today creates the need for sophisticated business continuity management (BCM) program that address a wide range of threats, including natural disasters, technology issues and man made incidents. It is also important that these programs stay in sync with the strategic goals of the organization. The 2011-2012 Continuity Insights & KPMG LLP Global Business Continuity Management Program Benchmarking Study is a comprehensive look at the current state of BCM programs and the drivers for further program development.

The online survey conducted by Continutity Insights between November 2011 and January 2012, explores changes to the global risk landscape, supply chain interdependicies, the emergence and increased usage of cloud computing, mobile applications and social media.

One of the critical success factors for an organization is the ability to identify and successfully mitigate the risks associated with running its operations. These risks, can be grouped into various categories under the heading “operational risks”, refer to any type of risk that is neither financial nor market related.

There are many sources of operational disruptions, all of which can be devastating affects if not sufficiently planned for. The process of planning can begin only when these threats and their impacts have been thoroughly assessed.

BCM has emerged as one of the key disciplines that organizations can use to manage operational risk. The discipline continues to evolve from one that is focused on responding to an event or incident to one that adapts to changing market trends and threats.

Operational Risk now OCC’s top concern

Operational risk has eclipsed credit risk as national banks’ chief safety and soundness challenge, Comptroller of Currency Thomas Curry told the Exchequer Club in Washington, D.C., last week.

Operational risk – the risk of loss due to failures of people, processes, systems and external events – is “high and increasing,” Curry said.  He cited flawed risk models, lack of adequate controls over third party vendors and anti-money laundering efficiencies as some examples of operational risk.

“[A]s banks and thrifts face greater resource constraints and higher compliance costs, they may feel greater pressure to economize on systems and processes in order to enhance their income and operating economies …,” Curry said. “All institutions … must resist the temptation to under-invest in the systems and controls they need to prevent greater risk and larger losses in the future.”

He emphasized the risk of operational failure is embedded in every activity and product – from a bank’s processing, accounting and information systems to the implementation of its credit risk management procedures.

“No issues look larger today than operational risk in all its dimensions, the manner in which all risks interact, and the importance of managing those risks in an integrated fashion across the entire enterprise,” Curry said. “These themes are a supervisory priority for us at the OCC today and they should similarly command the attention of the industry.”

reprinted from the Oklahoma Bankers Association Weekly Update, May 21, 2012

Stoneroad's Blog

In all planning, whether it is for projects or programs and regardless of the industry and nature of business, one of the key areas that often gets overlooked is the use and belief in assumptions.  Not just overlooked but they tend to become part of the fibre of every project and every BCM/DR program.  We assume ‘so-and-so’ knows this ‘action’ and will do that ‘activity,’ when in fact, so-and-so has no idea what they’re responsible for or even that others believe they’re responsible for it.

We don’t communicate assumptions often and if we do, it’s once or twice in the initial stages of a BCM/DR project or we make them up within the confines of our own segregated meetings, which aren’t attended by those that the assumptions are based on.  We capture the minutes of the meetings and action items but never reach out to those we assigned an assumption…

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What is Business Continuity Management?


Risk (Photo credit: The Fayj)

In short, I believe that the core of continuity management is responsible risk taking.  Central to every business is leverage: taking a risk to create value. Businesses inherently take risks and if you’re not taking risks than you won’t be in business for long.  In order to take risks and stay in business, you must be good at managing or mitigating those risks and dealing with responding to their consequences.