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Business owners and managers seem to be in constant disaster recovery mode these days. A perfect storm of catastrophes is pushing many companies’ disaster plans far beyond their original parameters, but there are technology tools that can help your organization weather the effects of the next emergency.

To bring the right technology to bear, first look at your business model. Ideally, it was designed with resilience in mind, adaptable to sudden change. Then identify the elements – human, physical, and digital – that are vital for the business to continue.

  • Physical assets– paper documents and records, communications and IT equipment, inventory, operational facilities, manufacturing equipment
  • Digital assets– Broad informational resources, from accounting and customer data to inventory and logistics information
  • Human resources– Department heads and key teams with intimate operational knowledge; line workers with specialized training or experience

Once you know what’s essential, take a look at the technologies that support those vital elements you’ve identified. Is your business taking advantage of all the available technology? Here are three ways to apply existing technology to bridge asset-management gaps:

  1. Paper documents– Institute an imaging program to convert documents from physical assets to digital assets, stored safely on off-site servers. Remote access to imaged documents lets knowledge workers remain productive if the workplace is off-limits during a disaster.
  2. Communications and IT– Provide portable IT and telecom resource centers in safe zones. Employees can access and recharge work-related electronic devices at off-site locations, continuing their work even in the event of power cuts.
  3. Employees– Utilize RFID-equipped wearables in the workplace to maintain social distance and preserve employee health. And in emergency situations, these same wearables will help locate workers for evacuation or rescue.

The above technologies don’t necessarily require complete new systems to be put in place. Depending on how you do business, you may only need to expand what you’re already doing. For example, if you’re already providing electronic devices to your employees, it’s quite simple to have several portable charging and storage stations on hand as part of a readiness plan. Or if you’re already providing work uniforms to workers, RFID wearables are easy to bolt on to your current program.

If this year has taught us anything, it’s to be prepared for the unexpected. Emergencies of all kinds, whether natural or human-caused, can wipe out the unready. If technology can keep your business assets safe and keep your business operations productive, shouldn’t it be part of your disaster plan?

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