Companies with limited resources for business continuity often assume that they are “too small for software.” Many continue using static documents in Word and Excel or an inefficient legacy system to manage their program, believing that an industry-leading software solution is out of their league.
Michael Dolan, business continuity consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, understands the stress caused by this mindset. For a time, he was the only person managing 21 business areas with 34 business continuity plans at the company. The plans were documented in Word and Excel, then uploaded to the cloud. However, any updates became outdated almost overnight. Program management was complicated. “If something hadn’t changed, I would have run out of the building with my hair on fire,” he says wryly.
Healthy and Robust Business Continuity
When Dolan and a colleague determined that a change had to be made to their program, they discussed the situation with their peers from several other Blue Cross Blue Shield companies. “Every year, the Blues have a business continuity conference,” explains Dolan. “We reached out to our counterparts because it was important for us to hear what was working for folks who walk the same walk and experience the same challenges that we do.”
Dolan was intrigued when multiple Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations praised the Fusion Framework System. They recommended the software based on its ease of use, extensive capabilities, and flexibility. After thoroughly vetting the system, Dolan made the decision to move forward.
The implementation process was swift and smooth. Dolan was quickly able to build and standardize the program using the Fusion Framework, configuring it for the needs of the company.
The system houses all business continuity data in one centralized location so it can be easily managed and maintained. Automated workflows direct information, track changes, manage processes, handle approvals, and provide audit logs. Plus, through integration with the company’s HR department, personnel data is automatically updated on a weekly basis. Dolan notes, “We have a lot of employee turnover in entry-level positions, so this integration removes a significant amount of manual work and greatly improves plan accuracy. What used to take a full week of data entry every month can now be done in under five minutes.”
One of the greatest benefits realized through the Fusion Framework is the engagement of plan owners across the company. Dolan explains, “To be effective and to scale our program, we needed to empower and enable the business areas to own and maintain their data and take pride in their plans.” Previously, plans were only updated once a year – and became out of date the moment an employee, application, or vendor changed. Now, plan owners have the ability to make changes and updates to their plans on a regular basis, ensuring accuracy, improving recovery, and reducing risk.
Because plans are always up to date, audits are no longer events to be dreaded. Dolan states, “When our plan owners are audited, they can pull the system up and say, ‘Here you go. This is the last time the plan was updated. This is who owns the plan. This is who approves the plan. This is when we had our last scheduled exercise.’ It’s all right there; you don’t have to think about it. It demonstrates to auditors that we are a well-organized group with solid plans in place.”
"I can’t say enough about the people at Fusion; everybody wants to see us succeed as a client. That speaks volumes about the product and the people that you’ve got working for you.”
—MICHAEL DOLAN, BUSINESS CONTINUITY CONSULTANT
Fueling Further Success
The Fusion Framework does not exist in isolation: it is surrounded and supported by a team of experts who are always available to help companies make the most of the system. Dolan notes, “I can’t say enough about the people at Fusion. Everybody wants to see us succeed as a client. That speaks volumes about the product and the people you’ve got working for you.”
This support has been invaluable, particularly when Dolan was managing business continuity solo. He states, “I knew that, at any time, I could pick up the phone and say, ‘I’m drowning; I need help,’ and Fusion associates would be there for me. As a team of one, it was either sink or swim, and I was able to swim because of the people at Fusion.”
To maximize the benefit of the investment in the Fusion Framework, Dolan added Fuel advisory consulting services, which paired him with a team of Fusion product experts. The team has helped Dolan update the company’s site risk assessment, engage in continuous improvement of the program, and set strategic objectives. “Frankly, I view my Fusion colleagues as members of my team,” states Dolan. “It’s like having three more pairs of hands to handle things. When you are a department of one or two people, that is huge.”
Free to Move Ahead
Fusion enables Dolan to focus on the strategic aspects of the company’s program by releasing him from the daily, time-intensive administrative tasks that had been bogging him down. The plans are sustained through automated workflows and the full engagement of plan owners across the company. He affirms, “Because of Fusion, we are now free to continue building, strengthening, and maturing our program. This delivers tremendous value to the organization and to the people we serve.”
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