Although my client contact was the same, the team was new. Within five days, we had to complete a 3 months Business Continuity program, so timings and delivery were intense.
It was both exciting and bizarre to be in Prague. I can’t say I’d ever thought I’d be consulting there nor India before it, but here we are.
Our client base is growing and with it, their reach and need for global business continuity solutions. So, the business reached out and RiskLogic provided.
During my time in this amazing city, I picked up on four points I think are important to reiterate and share with my network.
Here they are below:
I found that having this at its highest level was vital, not just with the client, but internally at RiskLogic too. Maddie, based in our Sydney HQ was supporting me to complete our Business Impact Assessment (BIA) we were completing on site.
Maddie was able to do this while also completing an induction for our new staff member, Mary. Really impressive stuff!
I made it clear early to my client that her timezone was a day ahead, it would bring challenges, we’d all need to be flexible. If she rang me with a query, everyone stopped. If a report was required, everything was on hold.
With the client, getting a whole organisation into a BIA meeting within two days was a significant challenge too. Especially as the flu season has arrived here in Europe (I got my fair share of that too).
With people off sick, I wasn’t hopeful we’d get many meetings completed; I was mistaken. My client contact, Choon-Hian had worked hard on presenting the importance of this week, and sure enough even sick staff were logging in and conferencing over the Cisco system.
That brings me onto my next point…
2. Buy in: do the hard yards
When you’re introducing a new program, don’t just talk to the senior stakeholders in the process, communicate it company wide.
You don’t need to hold massive conference meetings, you don’t even need “all user” emails sent out. Just start small drips of concentrated information that will be talked about internally naturally – like a viral bit of news.
This client is huge, they have large offices all over the world and some of the biggest clients available. Choon-Hian is from Singapore, my other contact, India, a systems support manager from South Africa and the boss back in Sydney. When you fly three overseas staff members and a senior manager from New Zealand to your office, your business understands the importance of the project.
But that still shouldn’t be all you do.
I saw Choon-Hian constantly let even the most junior of staff know his wider BC plans. “By 2020, I want this organisation ISO 22301 accredited, so this is the stepping stones to a 2-year journey”.
3. It’s a journey to invest in
Choon-Hian was full of great quotes and is a committed and enthusiastic BC professional. After showing him our incident response pyramid, Choon-Hian got it and began sharing this way of looking at BC to the wider team.
“This is the beginning of a new journey, not the end” he says one afternoon to the team. He encourages people to understand that this may take some time, but it’s ultimately going to change the face of the business.
Any organisation can have a business continuity program, but if no one is invested into it, it won’t be used when it’s most needed.
Choon-Hian avoids this by constantly reiterating the values and importance of the program. However, he’s careful with his words and can thoroughly explain his plans to the team and wider business. As an outsider trying to deliver a project to a client, its a breath of fresh air.
4. BD: servicing the most important clients
I can’t talk about my clients critical stakeholders, but let’s just say one of them creates some of the most beautiful machines and had a revenue of 99 billion euros in 2017. That’s an important client!
At the far end of my clients building is a secure area which is solely dedicated to this critical stakeholder. A huge, silver wall with the client’s logo, a very recognizable logo may I add!
You can’t enter without a special pass, so we’re escorted in. Inside are tech wizards sitting with no less than three monitors and two laptops. Numbers and strategies line the wall while automatic blinds shut out outside interest; this room means business!
How do you build confidence in a client that’s given you all their most personal details, making that much revenue? You show them your business continuity plans.
During a recap meeting, a senior stakeholder walks us through where his team operates from. Choon-Hian explains the plan for ISO 22301 accreditation by 2020 and I top it with “that goes a long way when it comes to BD and credibility for new clients”. “Oh, you don’t have to tell me twice!” he says. “Being ISO accredited has been the deal breaker for us in the past”.
Internal and external branding on a global scale was huge for this client. Huge pictures of Prague lined at least one wall in the meeting rooms.
Abstract shapes line the windows, and I’m told this is consistent on a global scale. For their BC, it’s the same. We’re already talking about what’s happening in the States and Malaysia. Its great to work with a client who understands the requirement to role out BC across all of its critical Products and Services, wherever they are based.
What a fantastic month we’ve had so far. I have a growing team of professionals like Mary (who completed a report for me on her second day of work!), Nick who has more enthusiasm for his new role than most, and of course my son, Ollie, who was great to have around this week assisting in the meetings and scenario exercise in Prague.
This client makes it easier too. Constant communication with me, passion for the program and a drive to get fully on board with a 2+ year journey. Seeing such large-scale implementations and communication is inspiring. The guys at the top should be proud of their team.
Until next time, plan, do, check & act…