in Modern Cities
Business Resilience in Modern Cities
By Engage Asia
When we consider business resilience in an environment of ever-changing societal risks, including within a so-called smart city, we are talking about resistance to disruption and the ability to recover business operations to normal – or close to normal – as quickly and effectively as possible. This is business resilience within the context of wider threats to society.
Smart cities depend on many interlinked systems and processes. While a smart city may have supposedly robust critical infrastructure (e.g. transport, telecoms, utilities, government etc), it is relatively easy to throw a spanner in the works at any single point, potentially causing a ripple effect along the chain.
At the same time, systems that are well designed, robust and resilient also need people to operate and manage them. Without them, systems break - either deliberately or by accident. Such threats include natural disasters, cyber-attacks, civil disorder, terrorism and loss of key utilities such as power or water, as well as pandemics and many other unforeseen events.
Business Continuity Planning
It is important to recognise that large-scale disruptions do not impact all organisations equally. Those that are unprepared risk greater financial losses, decreased market share and shareholder value as well as negative reputational impacts.
A lack of overall business resilience, and how this relates to vulnerabilities and threats from the wider community, remains a key risk. Organisations typically allocate limited resources, if any, to analysing and planning for potential challenges during a society-wide crisis or emergency.
For effective business resilience, it is first necessary to create, implement and maintain policies, strategies and plans that can support an organisation during a major disruption. This disruption could be external (societal) or internal incidents and events. This process is typically known as Business Continuity Planning or Business Continuity Management. The Business Continuity Institute's Good Practice Guidelines defines business continuity as an organisation’s capability to deliver products or services at acceptable, predefined levels following a disruptive incident.
Business Impact Analysis
One of the first things organisations can do is identify which services, systems, resources (including people) and functions are critical for their business objectives. This is best achieved through a structured Business Impact Analysis (BIA). This will both identify and prioritise critical functions, assessing the potential impact should these functions become diminished or unavailable.
A carefully structured BIA sets out clear timelines for how long these functions can be disrupted before undermining an organisation's ability to continue normal business or operations. Completing a BIA also highlights what resources, equipment, systems and technologies are needed to maintain critical business functions. This step is termed Business Continuity Planning (BCP).
As with all plans, organisations may want to test the validity and effectiveness of their Business Impact Analysis and Business Continuity Planning through a realistic exercise or a scenario-based evaluation with key personnel. Testing business continuity plans on a regular basis is an effective way to enhance and improve overall business resilience in response to changing threats in society.
Engage Asia can help organisations strengthen their business resilience by developing organisation-specific processes and tools for BIA and BCP, as well as assisting on the testing and exercising of these plans after implementation.
Our Service For A Leading Hong Kong Property Developer
We are currently providing a range of services to a leading Hong Kong property developer with multiple mixed-use, office and residential developments. These services include:
Risk assessment and assessing existing properties’ posture
Crisis management planning and security SOPs
Business continuity and resilience planning
About Engage Asia
Engage provides professional and trusted advice to private and public sector clients, consulting on information technology and digital services as well as security, risk and business resilience. Our specialists have worked with a broad range of companies on world-leading business, risk and design projects across the globe. We help realise new opportunities, manage risk and reduce costs, generating value and business resilience.
Our Business Resilience services include:
Preparing Business Impact Analysis, to help organisations identify operational and financial impacts from disruptions to business functions and processes
Preparing Business Continuity Plans, to help organisations prepare for business disruptions in an appropriately scalable manner
Preparing Crisis and Emergency Management plans. This is part of Business Continuity Planning, but includes communication and decision-making components and approaches to document communication between stakeholders, taking into account safety considerations
Conducting Security Risk Assessment analysis in line with ISO 31000 standards for cost-effective risk mitigation strategies
Providing Disaster Recovery advice and enterprise IT systems planning within the context of business resilience