Season 1, Episode 2: Understanding Your Organization discusses the importance of organization knowledge and how to better understand your organization and make it more equipped for resilience. Join Manager of Advisory Services Kim Hirsch, Senior Director of Product Marketing Paula Fontana, and VP of Product Marketing T.J. Kuhny for a back to the basics discussion. In this episode, you will learn about: the importance of leveraging data, how to use organizational knowledge insight, and the danger of siloed approaches. Learn more about Fusion Risk Management and see how technology can help with the basics. Discover what's possible and request a demo!
Kim Hirsch (00:00):
Welcome back to building more resilient world, sponsored by Fusion Risk Management, where we discuss the basics of business continuity and risk management. Today, we're going to talk about why you should think about the broader picture of organizational resilience and not just business continuity planning, where we focused in the first episode, our discussion group includes me. My name's Kim Hirsch I'm manager of advisory services at Fusion Risk Management. And, we're also joined by Paula and TJ. Paula Fontana is the director of product marketing and TJ Kuhny is VP of product marketing. Hi guys!
Paula Fontana and TJ Kuhny (00:34):
New Speaker (00:34):
So in episode one, we focused on how to start to kind of build out your business continuity program. We're going to get some more details about that in future episodes, but first we want to kind of stop to emphasize the continuity is really one part of a larger resilience picture. So we want you to keep that in mind while building your business continuity program, because that will put you leaps and bounds ahead of other people at the end of the day, if you kind of get used to thinking about it as that part of that kind of a holistic framework. So today we're going to discuss the very important preliminary step of really understanding your organization fully. So really looking forward to hearing what TJ and Paula have to say. So my first question is I understand the information I need for business continuity planning, but thinking about organizational resilience, why is it important to understand the organization on a much deeper level?
TJ Kuhny (01:22):
That's a great question. If you stop at too low of a level or too high of a level, and you're just talking about, you know, what are your business processes and kind of how important those are, you're going to be missing so much detail and information that you need to really make decisions and know where the challenges are. So it's really important almost to paint a picture of your organization so that, you know, not only what those processes are and things that make up your business, but how do they work and who are the people involved and who are the different vendors that are involved and what resources do you need? All of these things really come into play and it's to really start to figure out exactly when something is a big risk. If I know that this business process that I'm working on or thinking about has a lot of dependencies, and I can take a look at that and really understand, you know, for example, Hey, here's one place that I'm really dependent on this one expert, or I'm really dependent on this one piece of hardware or software that really makes it run. And, if that fails, all of a sudden, the whole thing breaks down, it just really starts to give you the picture you need to start to determine what's, you know, what's important and what's, you know, what you need to focus on. And, if you don't really dig in to the organization and get down to those levels, you just missing out on the ability to really understand where the business continuity issues may have may be sitting or hiding. I don't know, Paula, do you have any other thoughts on that?
Paula Fontana 1 (02:56):
I kind of think of it as the upside downside of risk, right? Just understanding the potential impacts on your business and, you know, say an adverse event were to happen. The more you lose a critical technology or, you know, something happens to disrupt a process, or maybe you lose a key supplier, you know, then what, what do you do? And, how do you make sure that, uh, your, your business is able to continue operating and delivering those critical services, those critical goods, you know, to your customers, really protecting your brand, protecting the trust that you've built with your customer. Um, so there's that aspect, right? The protecting your business and mitigating those, those potential adverse events or risks at hand, but then there's also the upside, right? And, that understanding your organization really, really well allows you to leverage your strengths. And, it allows you to do new things and really stretch your organization in new ways, which is really, really important in this new era where it's increasingly difficult to compete. Right? I mean, the playbooks have all been thrown out and consumer needs have changed. Business needs have changed. So how do you adapt as a business and really understanding your business allows you to understand how you can flex to meet those new demands.
TJ Kuhny (04:26):
Yeah. Those are all great points. I agree completely. It's this, you know, it's kind of the exciting and fun side of the business where you're, you're not just learning about it, to know where it might break, but how can I make it better and how can I adjust that? That's really a great point. I love that.
Kim Hirsch (04:43):
Yeah. And if we kinda think about that context of this part of all those bigger questions, so we're not just talking about resilience in terms of, of how do I solve problems, but how do I improve my business and keep on growing that big to kind of work into, to that place where I think a lot of people find it too daunting to start again. So are there any questions when you're talking to, um, to clients about this and let's start with you Paula, on this one, what, when you talk to clients, what kind of questions are they asking or should they be asking during the process as they get started?
Paula Fontana (05:14):
Yeah, that's a great question. And, we get that all the time. It is pretty overwhelming. When you think about the scope of your business and in all of the different inner workings of your enterprise, and even beyond that what's happening outside of your organization and within your supplier ecosystem, what are those potential points of exposure or single points of failure that you need to consider? And, I'm actually going to quote our founder and former CEO. He talks about these really fundamental, critical questions that you need to be asking as a business, it really all boils down to how does my business work? How does it break? And, how do I prepare, protect my business, and respond? Really the fundamental challenge in all of this is to involve your entire organization in this process. So resilience is a team sport. As we said in episode one, think in silos, act in silos, think collectively act collaboratively. You want to move as a single entity, a single voice. And, and really the, the responsibility and the opportunity at hand for resilience is to build collectively and to defend collectively.
Kim Hirsch (06:30):
And, I think when you, when you have that attitude as well, you're, you're being inclusive and you're not forcing people into a program. Um, but rather you're, you're, you're kind of saying, come along with me and help me make it better. And that, that usually gets better buy in. I think with most people,
Paula Fontana (06:45):
Absolutely! It's a partnership. It's a partnership with your business owners, your executives, your operations folks, even cross domains that are considered part of the resilience continuum. I think there's a lot of opportunity to work together and we're seeing this convergence happening and it's really, really exciting to see.
Kim Hirsch and TJ Kuhny (07:06):
TJ Kuhny (07:07):
I just wanted to add to that the idea of don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough. And you know, when you're trying to get started and asking people to contribute to about the business and tell you about it, sometimes it's even just, just even getting the names of things down and, and the fact that you have a process that depends on this thing in this other department, and you didn't have that written down before. You may not have all the answers about how important that is yet, but just really just start to build out that, that picture of all those things that Paula said, you know, what, how does it work and where might it break? Don't worry about getting it all down right away. It's something that you start to ask the questions and you start to build and you refine and you grow. And, and just that information just continues to get better over time and just having some there to start with and a place to capture. It is really a big first step.
Kim Hirsch (08:03):
So let's say that somebody's really successful at this. They've gone out, they've gathered information from their colleagues. They've been really good about getting engagement. And so there's a, there's a lot of information they've collected. How do you ensure that you have good data cause you know, junk in, junk out of most systems. And I know TJ that you care a lot about good data collection, what are some of the tips and tricks you have for ensuring that's what you collect at the end of the day?
TJ Kuhny (08:29):
Yeah, there's certainly technology that can help. But, I think just making sure that you understand who the owner of the data is, uh, I think that's a first step and it really identifying, you know, this is where it came from and, and really you need to be able to track when it was last updated and make sure to review that on a regular basis. Part of it is also just building really growing a culture of how important this is really building, how everyone knows that it's part of their job to make sure that we have good data and that this is really an important step for the company to remain resilient. So when people are always have that in their mind, they are going to be taking ownership of the things that they're responsible for and making sure that their part is kept up to date. And, you know, there's, again, there's a lot of technology that can help with that in terms of managing things in the database and telling you when things haven't been checked off in an often people get reminders. And that's really critical, I think, to all of this, but just that concept, in my opinion of that ownership, who's responsible for each piece of data, making sure that there's not just some data that's out there that you don't know where it came from and who's responsible for it. And then, having that sort of rigor that everyone in the company starts to understand the culture. So kind of what we said in episode one, having that policy from the top down that really your executive leadership is promoting and how important this is to the company. You know, those are, those are some of the things that come to my mind.
Kim Hirsch (09:58):
Yeah. And, it's something that I'm reminded of too, is, um, just thinking about the speed of businesses so quick these days. So when I talk to clients about good data, a lot of that is making sure that that they're refreshing it, you know, at least on a schedule, but as business needs change is another good way of looking at it because data that was good and correct a month or two ago might be stale and need to be updated. And, so good data management also incorporates some kind of timescale thinking as well.
TJ Kuhny (10:27):
Yeah. If you're starting with tracking things in documents that are difficult to update and things change, like you said so fast and you really need some way to stay on top of it and keep it fresh. And yeah, don't expect that if someone's going to rely on, in a crisis on something that really hasn't been touched for six months or even three months, I mean, it's that list of people who to call and, and all the things you need and what the right context are. You just need to make sure that that stuff is kept up today or you'll be, you'll be challenged when, when you really need it. And like I said, people owning that and in some companies it becomes almost like a little bit of a, a contest to keep their data up to date and, and people monitor things and make sure that it's an important thing to the organization. So it becomes a sense of pride, but also something that they know they have to do. And, they don't want to be measured in the, in a way that shows. They're not the ones keeping up today. They want all their teams to be part of it. And it's just part of that culture that that's really important to, to get it right.
Kim Hirsch (11:29):
So Paula, I, you work with a lot of organizations that have managed to find and use data and information extremely effectively. Can you give us any kind of tips that you've learned about great practices from working with them?
Paula Fontana (11:43):
Absolutely. I think, um, one thing, you know, just as we had said earlier in this episode is, you know, starting small, really important, don't feel like you have to solve for everything immediately. You're focused on those, those highest priority gains. That's how you're going to show value back to the business. That's how you're going to build the confidence of your team to focus on those things that are most important and knock those out, show success, and build on that over time. The other thing that we hear quite a bit is resist the temptation to take shortcuts for key questions. So the goal of achieving quick wins, sometimes it can be tempting to maybe go the easy path as opposed to the right path, thinking comprehensively about the challenges that you're trying to solve for the business, the problems that you're trying to solve, who's using it, how best to deliver the data, how best to deliver your guidance really is just going to go the extra mile in terms of delivering value. So just, don't be afraid to take the appropriate time with some of those, those core challenges, focus on the quick wins, but definitely have a plan for the long term, because sometimes you can build on those things over time and having an idea in mind doesn't mean that it won't change right, overtime, as things do. But having an idea in mind as to where you would like to go next. And, where you want to be a year from now having an initial thesis on what that looks like for your organization helps you communicate the value and then helps you build incrementally overtime, deliver the data in a way that's easy to consume. I think a lot of organizations have a lot of data and their biggest challenge is, well, how do I get this data. I get those insight to the right people and in a way that they're going to actually use it, right. We all tend to be driven by our habits. And, if you can deliver the data in a way that your end users are already familiar with and make sure that you model good use of data that you're routinely using data as a means to communicate and convey direction you're using it. And as a, as a means to convey the value that you're bringing back to the organization. A lot of this is a cultural shift, right? You're trying to routinize within the broader organization. So establishing a model for how that works is really important. And then finally don't neglect your broader ecosystem of technologies, even things that aren't necessarily automated. A lot of our customers, they're actually using hybrid approaches where yes, they are using workflow automation to make data easier to collect. Yes, they are using these complex systems topologies to drive meaningful insights. Yes, they're using external situational intelligence providers to complete that unified view of the operating environment, but they are also tapping into more manual of collecting data. So don't feel as if you need to leverage only technology or leverage only manual means, you know, start small, build on it as you go learn from your successes, learn from maybe things that didn't work as well and iterate on your approach.
Kim Hirsch (15:11):
You know, one of the things that I've heard both you and TJ say today, and I think perhaps in our first episode, what was the whole concept of that you're part of an ecosystem. And, that really resonates with me that we can't work in silos, but we also, it goes beyond that you have to go outside of your own company and think about your vendors and your clients and everybody, as you're thinking about this topic, I learned a lot today, um, thinking about, you know, take some work to collect it, but if you utilize the resources that are there and involve others, that gives you access to more information and it helps people to feel like they're really participating in part of the process that, that you're starting to build out. But then it's also really important to take the time to gather quality data and then keep it fresh and, and think about how it's going to be used at the end of the day, making sure that you're communicating it because data has value when it's actually being used and all these wonderful ways that you both expressed today. So, you know, that really makes me think about the whole topic in a, in a new way. And I really appreciate you guys sharing your thoughts.
Paula Fontana (16:09):
Thank you, Kim.
TJ Kuhny (16:10):
Thank you. Happy to do it.
Kim Hirsch (16:12):
And, we also want to thank all of our listeners who joined us for today's episode, where we focused on Understanding Your Organization as part of Building a More Resilient World. We'll talk to you again soon!