Uncertainty is the certain constant in our daily business. Disruption and VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) describe this state of constant anxiety for companies, in which crises determine the daily routine. The question is not if a new threat will affect business processes, but rather when it will. Companies are often overwhelmed in this situation and crisis management unfortunately results in blind actionism, which makes a systematic management of the crisis even more remote. Forward-thinking minds have brought a new solution approach to the game of profitability: Business Resilience. But is this resilience a cure-all for healthy and stable growth? And what exactly is Business Resilience? After all, everyone is resilient – to a certain extent! And exceptional situations are extreme for the reason that they are not the rule, i.e. they cannot be regulated. But how do we deal with them, how can we use the crisis as an opportunity? This is the subject of Business Resilience.
Organizational Resilience means a company’s ability to deal with the challenges that constantly arise in a foresightful manner – in other words, crisis prevention instead of crisis management. This means absorbing changes flexibly and integrating smart solutions into the corporate landscape. In this context, technologies, processes, and also the employees are required to carry this corporate attitude and – even more so – to actively shape it. This inner attitude across all departmental and hierarchical levels creates an agile awareness of how to deal with crises professionally. However, the prerequisite for this is that processes, technologies and workflows are prepared accordingly. The keyword here is “digitalization”, which forms the basis and which must and can adapt to the constantly changing framework conditions by means of permanent further development. This Digital Resilience, i.e., the ability of systems to quickly incorporate the changed framework conditions into adapted solutions, is ultimately decisive for the future security of companies. Digital transformation or digital evolution, the permanent further development of digital systems, is the essential building block of the holistic concept. In the process, corporate processes and structures are monitored in an agile manner, always under the aspect of a sustainable and value-oriented course of action.
Business Resilience relies on four pillars to build resilient businesses that transform disruptive events into profitable opportunities. The pillar that always comes first is Finance, because the harmonious orchestration of all financial instruments enables financial resilience, which leads steadfastly through crises. This objective of Operations is to have a robust operational layer that provides stability, such as end-to-end and aligned supply chains. The combination of human capabilities with innovative technologies shows creative characteristics for dynamic adjustments. However, strategic considerations such as market and customer behavior should not be neglected, as this fragile construct of placement in the market, dependent on financial security, is critical to a company’s business resilience.
In theory, every manager understands this approach and considers it urgently necessary. In practice, however, the situation is often somewhat different. Entrenched processes, firmly anchored organizational structures, possessive departmental thinking and a panicked fear of additional resource burdens make it difficult to move forward creatively. What is the solution here? The path of small steps, i.e., systematically tackling the individual areas in the company while not losing sight of the big picture. This systematic approach illuminates processes, systems, structures in the company, always taking into account the corporate DNA. In concrete terms, this can take the form of process mining with subsequent comprehensive process optimization, critical analysis of existing systems with the implementation of modern alternatives, or a methodical approach to critical business processes in a digital twin for controlled risk minimization. A wide range of options are available, which are not to be seen as isolated solutions with a delimited scope, but as an integral part of a comprehensive concept that observes a 360° view in all facets. This way of thinking helps companies to adapt quickly and agilely to changing situations in the event of disruptive events. Being prepared for emergencies represents a strategy that enables companies to immediately get to grips with a crisis, stabilize the situation, implement alternatives quickly, and even look to the future with renewed strength.
Establishing Business Resilience is not just a contingency plan for a crisis, it is a company’s ability to act flexibly and deal with threats proactively. The decisive factor is the awareness of pursuing the goal together and with the involvement of all areas.
Author: Sabine Rudolf