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We are frequently asked this question by organisations seeking to improve their crisis preparedness planning.
Many factors play a role in an effective response to any crisis, which means a successful crisis preparedness programme must therefore address many elements.
However, if there is one factor evident in the response to those crises deemed to have been
successfully responded to, it is effective leadership or, more specifically, effective ‘crisis leadership’.
Recent, high-profile network outages have shown how the convergence of people, processes and systems, accelerated by the introduction of new technologies, has created the potential for systemic failures to proliferate across the telecommunications eco-system, impacting multiple communications providers (CPs) at the same time.
Against this backdrop of increased risk and uncertainty, CPs should ask: are our existing approaches to resilience sufficient to meet customer and stakeholder expectations for service delivery?
A new Standard in crisis management calls for a more strategic approach to the discipline. PD CEN/TS 17091 “Crisis Management – Building a Strategic Capability” is a refinement and expansion of a previous British Standard (BS 11200:2014 Crisis management, Guidance and good practice) and a welcome intervention designed to help organisations develop this important capability.
Organisations store, process and extract more data than ever before. There is a continued need to govern, secure and analyse big data as seen with the impending introduction of GDPR. This is of particular importance in times of crisis, whether it be an internal investigation into the misuse of company data, the theft of intellectual property or HR challenges. Moreover, the provision of electronic evidence to inform legal proceedings and regulatory intervention is increasing. Organisations often need to identify sources of relevant electronic evidence and to pinpoint to the information that is most pertinent to the matter at hand.
Horizon scanning, risk sensing, predictive analytics, forecasting, insight. All of these terms imply some kind of mystical, deep learning, cutting edge technological solution; and technology plays a huge part in the ability to get better at prediction and spotting issues before they become crises. However, no model or technical solution that anyone has discovered takes into account the often unpredictable nature of human behaviour.
The past year has cemented crises as an unavoidable part of the modern business, political and regulatory landscape. The Grenfell Tower tragedy led to national outrage at public and private sector failures, while natural disasters rocked North and Central America with Hurricane Irma and earthquakes in Mexico. Cyber-attacks continue to disrupt organisations and internal scandals pulled global businesses into the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
The largest and growing threat to corporate value and executive reputation is a crisis. And they seem to be happening with increasing regularity.
Heightened geopolitical risk, cyber fragility and social media amplify uncertainty than ever, increasing the chances of any organisation experiencing a crisis or related event. Societal changes in the USA, random acts of terror, the rise of nationalism in Europe – reflected in Catalonia and elections across the continent – reflect a fragmenting social mood exacerbated by other factors, economic, financial, cyber-attacks, corporate misdeed, the fall of icons in the media or politics as well a company specific high-impact operational and technological failures.
Today’s world is full of uncertainties, often amplified by traditional and social media.
We are faced with changing economic models, a fragile geopolitical landscape, new cyber threats, terrorism, corporate malpractice, and the fall from grace of high profile individuals, company specific high-impact failures. This heady combination has triggered a number of corporate crises and scandals throughout 2017.