Businesses have never needed resilience more than they do now. Building resilience, however, isn’t always easy – especially if you don’t have the right tools at your disposal.

Resilient organizations can see what risks are on the road ahead, understand what that means for the organization, and quickly change course to avoid rough road conditions. To do that, you need 360-degree contextual intelligence to see the connections between your risks and monitor any changes in real time.

And that’s impossible to do with spreadsheets.

Manually aggregating risk data housed in dozens – or hundreds – of spreadsheets across your organization can be so time-consuming, it might rarely, if ever, be done. And by the time you do finally consolidate the data, it might be so outdated, the results are no longer useful.

And then there’s the question of data integrity. Every time data is manually entered introduces the possibility of human error. In fact, it’s estimated that almost 90% of all spreadsheets contain at least one error. The more complex those spreadsheets are, the more difficult it is to pinpoint errors.

If you can’t see what’s coming, how can you possibly get in front of it?

“Manual processes are prone to failure. I was talking with one firm that was spending 200 hours to build an annual report for the board of directors. They found out they had an issue that started 11 months ago – and it had grown out of control. Because they were managing risk, compliance, incidents, and events in documents, spreadsheets, and emails, nobody saw the big picture until they built that annual report. That’s not managing risk. That’s reacting to risk. You need to have the support of proper information and technology to continuously – and in real time – monitor change that impacts operational resilience.”

michael rasmussen

Michael Rasmussen
The GRC Pundit @GRC 20/20 Research

The Tools to Improve Business Resilience

The right software provides the foundation to build business resilience for the long term. As you evaluate your options, prioritize software that:

1. Consolidates risk data in one place. Effective business resilience software brings together all types of risk – insurable and noninsurable, strategic, financial, reputational, and operational – for a meaningful, contextual view of risk across the enterprise.

The most effective solutions visually display those relationships to help you instantly comprehend the story behind the data to help you make faster, smarter, and more confident decisions about risk.

2. Eliminate waste. If you’re using manual processes, as much as 80% of your staff time may be spent trying to manage documents, spreadsheets, and emails. And that leaves you with just 20% of your time available to actually manage risk.

The right business resilience software streamlines your risk management processes, eliminates duplicate efforts, and improves data integrity. Staff time can then be redirected to strategic tasks that add real value to the organization.

Easily accessible, credible, and consistent data allows you to continuously monitor all of your risks in real time so you can understand your risk environment and related policies, controls, and response plans.

3. Adapt to the specific needs of your business. Business resilience software should be easily configurable to suit the evolving needs of your business.

The most sophisticated solutions allow you to view risk at the department level, as well as at the enterprise level, to accommodate different needs and priorities without losing sight of the big picture. The underlying architecture should be flexible enough to seamlessly scale as the business grows. And the software should be intuitive so any user can make routine changes without calling in IT for help.

4. Convert data into action. Software that provides a single source of truth for risk data, combined with powerful analytics and customizable dashboards, helps take the guesswork out of managing risk.

You can problem solve across departmental lines while staying aligned with the broader goals of the organization. And the whole team can make effective, data-driven decisions about risk.

Business resilience depends on being able to quickly size up the situation at hand and adapt to what’s next. It demands a collaborative effort among your team to document and track how specific events impact the business and its functions – and continuously apply those lessons learned to improve agility. That’s an almost impossible feat without the right business resilience software.

Resilience does not happen in a silo. You must have the ability to seamlessly collaborate across business functions with real-time, reliable data available to all. To truly build business and operational resilience, you need the right tools, the right people, and the right processes in place to manage risk holistically.

The right business resilience software will not only help you effectively manage current risks, but you’ll have the enviable vantage point to see those risk potholes in time to successfully swerve away.

For more on building business resilience, watch our on-demand webinar, Business & Operational Resilience: Agility Amid a Chaotic World.