The Stack Archive Article

Organisational resilience: A smart approach

Mon 26 Feb 2018

David Mudd, Director for IoT at British Standards Institution (BSI), discusses the principle of Organisational Resilience and how embracing new technologies can strengthen businesses in today’s digital world.

Navigating today’s fast moving and ever-changing digital world whilst ensuring that your organization survives and prospers over the long term is now more challenging than ever. As an example, the Internet of Things (IoT) presents transformational opportunities, enabling new customer experiences, business models and improved performance for all organizations; however, it also poses huge risks such as data theft, denial or failure of services and physical security breaches.

Organizational Resilience is about the ability to adapt to change, equipping people and improving systems and processes in order to build change awareness, change agility, change reaction, and change mechanisms – vital skills in the dynamic, digital age. It reaches beyond risk management towards being innovative, constantly learning and improving to overcome adversity and spring forward to seize new opportunities, whilst also protecting the organization and balancing the risk.

In the technology sector, we tend to think of ourselves as progressive and flexible, adapting quickly and adopting new ideas to maintain a competitive edge.  However, are we consistent in how we manage opportunity versus risk? Do we always thoroughly validate our assumptions about whether a certain technology is suitable for our own or our customers’ needs? If we do get it right, how do we avoid becoming complacent about a successful approach in an ever-more-rapidly changing world?

In search of resilience

Achieving resilience can be challenging for any industry – not least in the technology sector. With the development of sophisticated smart technologies gathering pace, organizations cannot afford to be complacent. However, resilience is as much about the people and the process as the technology. It’s reassuring to know that the recently launched BCI report found that professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits that business continuity can bring to their businesses. However, business continuity plans alone will not help those organizations to build Organisational Resilience – a more holistic approach is required focusing on understanding all vulnerabilities and strengths. For example, do your products still meet the needs of your customer? What are the key risks within your supply chain? Is the information you’re handling secure and effective?

While there are many business functions that would benefit from a focus on resilience, BSI identifies three domains today that are critically important in achieving Organisational Resilience in both large and small technology companies:

Operational resilience

A resilient organisation has a full understanding of how it is run and the environment in which it operates.  This includes identifying operational improvements across its products/services and processes in order to meet the needs of its customers over time, through to how an organisation values its people and governs itself. With consumer expectation placing increased pressure on organisations, this is something that technology companies cannot avoid to review. It requires demonstrable evidence that the organization is not complacent and is always challenging itself to improve performance and grow sustainably.

Supply chain resilience

As supply chain networks increasingly span continents and become more complex, the ability to quantify and mitigate supply chain risks throughout the procurement, manufacturing, transportation and sales lifecycle is paramount. Organisations need to identify the critical risks to minimize disruption and help protect global operational, financial and reputational exposures.

Information resilience

In today’s world, organisations must be trusted to safeguard sensitive information, particularly in the technology industry where the expectation is much higher. A resilient organisation must manage its information – physical, digital and intellectual property – throughout its lifecycle, from source to destruction. This requires the adoption of information security-minded practices that allow stakeholders to gather, store, access and use information securely and effectively.

Triumphing with new technologies

To help organizations achieve Organisational Resilience, BSI has developed the world’s first Index report and benchmarking tool that can demonstrate to organizations just how resilient they are. The research asked respondents to rate their performance across all 16 elements of Organisational Resilience.

According to the report, when asked to rate their own resilience, Telecoms/IT ranked their innovation low compared with other elements, but relatively high compared with other sectors. This seems surprising, however, a sector that revolves around innovation is likely to have considerably more awareness of the topic and to judge itself more harshly.

Gartner believes 20.4 billion devices are expected to be connected by 2020, therefore it’s vital that organisations remain innovative and understand the impacts and benefits of new technologies such as the Internet of Things in order to be resilient.

IoT has the potential to deliver huge value to organizations and consumers alike – it has endless applications, from predictive maintenance of equipment to dynamic traffic management, improving air quality and remote health services. It’s relevant to a wide range of industries including the built environment, smart infrastructure, transport and mobility, health and social care as well as general manufacturing and agriculture.

From security concerns to interoperability challenges, BSI has been working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders from product manufacturers to network providers and government agencies to develop best practice that will be relevant today and in the future. We have developed a wide range of frameworks and specifications across smart cities, infrastructure and the built environment. This includes our series of Building Information Modelling (BIM) specifications which are being adopted across the globe. As BIM models become more developed, there is no reason why such models should not be used by smart cities in considering development of portfolios of buildings. This would allow co-ordinated designs of districts, integrated services and co-ordinated maintenance programmes for those assets when buildings become operational, as well as scenario modelling to assess the impact of certain events on the existing assets and public safety.

Looking to the future

Being ‘smart’ is about more than just adopting the latest technology. It is about optimizing strategy in light of the current and future technology landscape and integrating it through a controlled approach, balancing opportunity and risk and matching people, process and products to desired outcomes. Organizational Resilience is a strategic imperative for any organization that wishes to prosper in today’s digital world.  It is not a one-off exercise, but achieved over time and for the long-term.  Mastering Organizational Resilience requires the adoption of excellent habits and best practice to deliver business improvement by building competence and capability across all aspects of an organization. This allows technology leaders to take measured risks with confidence, making the most of opportunities that present themselves. BSI’s tried and tested approach to Organizational Resilience  helps organizations to harness experience, embrace opportunities such as IoT – and pass the test of time.

Where are your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses?

To find out your organization’s relative strengths and weaknesses – and how you compare with the 1260 organizations behind the BSI Organizational Resilience Index – complete the BSI Organizational Resilience Benchmark tool, a simple questionnaire located at www.bsigroup.com/organizational-resilience.


iotlogoDavid Mudd will be speaking at Smart IoT on Thursday 22 March at 9.50am in the Smart IoT Keynote Theatre. He will discuss how IoT technology can transform businesses, in terms of organizational performance and customer experience. He will explore the pitfalls – from minor operational inconveniences to huge potential liabilities and brand damage and how to avoid them. He will also examine how the rapid technological advances in IoT devices and communications that are revolutionizing work and life can be empowering, rather than disempowering for people and organizations. Register here for your free ticket

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