What does professional crisis management mean for IT?

Looking at professional crisis management in a new light

Recognizing the importance of crisis management

Surely risk mitigation and management still rank – to this day – as two of the highest priorities in business for plenty of reasons. Companies actually expect calamities to occur: disruptions in service, downtime, a crashed server.

What crisis management and resiliency aims to do in those cases is respond swiftly and accurately without fail – already prepared for the worst.

But the sources of risk have changed. They’ve also grown – both in numbers, and in complexity. Sometimes it’s not about extreme weather taking down a tower, or a bug in the system causing a few data wipes.

Sometimes it’s much worse: a cybersecurity breach, malicious malware, or hacks, causing severe service outages affecting an entire public platform, resulting in chaos devastating your operations and reputation. Understanding the importance of crisis management is imperative.

It’s no longer just about managing “disruption” – but about handling crisis

Handle the crises not only before they occur, but during – and after. Immediate and resilient crisis response software has to be on point even when the rug gets pulled out from under you.

IT portfolio management’s ultimate purpose for you? To not only keep the rug from getting pulled, but to also ensure that it would never get pulled.

Find out in this fact sheet how IT portfolio management with Alfabet equips you with the means to make your IT crisis ready and resilient.

What you’re going to read below will ease you, starting with the first major area to focus on:

Understand your business functions and capabilities

But why? Don’t you already understand? Sure – on a certain level. What you don’t know is whether or not to shut a particular function down during a time of crisis. We operate generally with an understanding of how our business works in ideal situations. Or even normal situations.

When a pandemic hits, though, if we’re not careful, our house of cards can fall apart fast if we don’t have a flexible IT portfolio management (ITPM) system in place to support crisis response software and coordinate variables.

What you get from ITPM:

  • An overview of critical processes and their supporting IT
  • Vulnerability targets to be reduced
  • Minimal operations that need to be maintained
  • Downstream and upstream dependencies for processes, data, applications and technologies

No matter how you look at it, a disaster will still be a “disaster,” and it will affect you. The best part of IT portfolio management is you can allocate your resources effectively, knowing what aspects of your business absolutely need to keep running – and which ones can be put on a slow minimal burn. That's professional crisis management done right.

Consolidate. Divert resources when necessary. Operate within the means of the landscape.

The important thing is you’re able to do this faster than before, because the know-how, the data, the understanding – it’s all there in front of you thanks to ITPM!

You can then make faster decisions

Actually, you must. That’s a given. To survive any corporate crisis, fast decision making is required.

It’s not as easy as it looks, though, since you’ve consolidated your operations to a certain degree, so your level of resources has diminished to just what it takes to maintain. This potentially means knowledgeable staff has dispersed throughout the organization and thus also the knowledge in their heads, ultimately meaning your decision making will be slower – not good.

One key benefit ITPM brings to the table is centralization. Transparency. Insight.

It’s always going to be crucial to make fast and accurate decisions on the fly, but you can only do that during times of crisis management when your repository of information on the IT portfolio and all of its interdependencies remains centralized and updated, available for all colleagues across the organization to see, hence eliminating any need to gather additional data:

A little something effective IT portfolio management manages to do for you!

Another benefit ITPM brings for professional crisis management and response: budget elasticity

Here’s what we understand about budgets: they’re important for everyone. Perhaps more for some than others. No one wants to hear that, but in a time of crisis, there’s no room for frowning over the fact that you don’t have as many resources available in your division.

Survival’s ultimately the most important thing.

The fact is everyone’s budget needs to be flexible. Elastic. Adaptive. Some things will need to be reduced, wound down, perhaps even temporarily eliminated. And that’s okay.

What ITPM does is not only show you what business capabilities are necessary (or not), but also what asset allocations to optimize. The most accurate data will define the right candidates for budget support, what dependencies are necessary and more.

Here are some questions an information technology portfolio management platform can answer:

  • Will there be cost implications of closing or expanding IT functions (license, support, cloud usage, etc.)?
  • How many organizations and users will be affected?
  • Which and how many contracts and vendors need renegotiation?
  • Which investments are still relevant?

And here again, no more legwork or research required. You basically have your entire portfolio in front of you.

Watch this webinar to see how you can make your budget more elastic in times of crisis.

One fail-safe is the cloud, or the home office (or both!)

Not every business would even think of preparing for something like that. Can your business operate anywhere? Or just strictly in your specific office space? Sure, the bricks and mortar keep you centralized, but what happens when you can’t have your workforce there? Will your business fall apart?

You’ll need flexibility to be capable of adapting to the needs of the business as part of professional crisis management. This applies to any crisis, whether it’s a viral pandemic or a tree falling through your roof and destroying a few servers.

Make sure you can bolster your service availability. What that requires is the ability to reallocate and adjust when necessary. It means knowing what roles within your business might need adaptation. Set those key contingencies in place upon reviewing the data ITPM provides, and you’ll have answers to these questions for sure:

  • Who’s working on what, and how does it relate to critical business functions?
  • How will they all be affected if a crisis hits?
  • How many will be affected?
  • And what applications may need to be temporarily shut down – or cranked up?

The answers may determine just how much of cloud technology you’ll need to leverage, not to mention the resources necessary for your workforce to operate from home.

Know your apps and technology well enough to consider the What If? question…. What if your business will be forced to operate from several hundred homes? Will you be able to have your workforce access the cloud? If not, ITPM will give you the data you need to determine how, what apps will have access, who can have it, and who should have it.

Read more about application risk management in this white paper.

Speaking of the cloud, what about cyber-attacks?

On the surface, your firewall may already be formidable. Until the latest cyber-hacker brings a bazooka capable of wreaking previously unimaginable havoc!

ITPM even evaluates the dependencies of critical processes, applications and technologies on the IT infrastructure, letting you know where to fortify that firewall even more by moving critical capabilities when necessary.

Some apps, you might find, practically deserve to be in the cloud. If that’s the case, you can use ITPM to reallocate expenses, covering the cost of increased cyber-security measures.

Further, an ITPM platform that has a threat management capability – that is, the ability to systematically capture and categorize known vulnerabilities and relate these to the assets in your company – can make sure you're notified of exposure. You then know where resources need to go immediately.

Learn how to protect your organization from cyber threats.

Hence going from “reactive” to “active”

What you then have is a tool making you capable of switching gears faster than tragedy can strike. Period.

When it comes to the importance of crisis management, moral courage and perseverance are key. Because even with the most accurate analyses in place and the right team working together, crises can give you the feeling you've fallen back three steps after you took two.

Alfabet will carry you through.

Connecting your pieces together in a way that will help you not only act fast, effectively and analytically – but react even better – will ensure your business stays above ground, guaranteed.

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