Weekly Blog Series: Mobility Solutions

As we switch our focus from Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity to Mobility Solutions, it’s hard not to reflect on the impact of Tropical Storm Debby on bay area businesses.

Area bridges were closed due to high winds, which made commuting difficult, if not dangerous.   Street flooding caused the closure of many office buildings – ours included.  These factors caused many businesses to decide to shut down operations for at least a day, in some cases for 2 or 3 days.

And meanwhile, the sharks were circling nearby……the type of sharks that have been waiting for the opportunity to steal your business.

In terms of storms, Debby ranks as an inconvenience more than anything else.  After a few days, the bay area was back to normal.  The waters had receded, bridges were reopened and save for wind-damaged trees and pool enclosures, it was back to business as usual.  The talk around town less “time to rebuild” and more “time to play catch up” or “I’m so behind.  Thanks Debby!”

When your business has a continuity plan in place, especially one that includes mobility solutions, you don’t have to worry about having to play that catch up game.  You can send one company-wide email alerting your employees to work remotely.  With one click of the mouse, your employees’ business phones will be routed to the phone of their choosing – mobile or landline.  That means your customers will continue to receive service, and deals will continue to be made.

Over the next few weeks, we will be showcasing our different mobility solutions that can be tailored to fit the needs of your organization.  Whether you are looking to set up a remote facility quickly, or allow your employees to work remotely in case of emergency, our solutions will ensure that the sharks will not capture your business because you are unreachable.  Click here to learn more.

Breakdown: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

I was recently speaking with a CEO about her plan for business continuity should an unforeseen disaster disrupt their operations.  Her response:  “I have insurance and several zip drives.  We are a small business, just getting started…it’s what we can afford right now.”

I replied:  “That will work as a disaster recovery plan, but what about continuity – your plan to keep working through the disaster?”

She asked:  “Is there a difference?”

Yes.  Yes, there is.

Disaster Recovery vs. Business Continuity

FEMA reports that 40-60% of businesses that close due to disaster never reopen.  There are a host of different reasons that can shut down your business, for any length of time.  Whether it is 5 minutes, 5 hours, or 5 days, when you lose the ability to operate, you lose the ability to generate income.

Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) and Business Continuity Plan (BCP) are terms that are often used interchangeably.  Whereas, they are interdependent – they have different focuses.

Disaster Recovery Plans

DRPs detail the steps employees must follow during and after catastrophic event.  It focuses on the health and safety of employees; including exit and evacuation procedures, and CEO succession.  Some key points to consider while developing your DRP:

  • Method for backing up your info systems
  • What type of insurance your business may need to protect its assets
  • Documentation of critical info – computers, account names and passwords, network setting, ISP/network administrative info, tech support numbers, etc.
  • How you are going to protect your equipment
  • A communications plan to ensure all employees evacuated safely

Business Continuity Plans

BCPs take DRPs a step further and also outline how your business will continue its operations during and after a disaster (as well as smaller scale events such a power outages) in order to remain stable and continue to generate a profit.  BCPs address additional issues that include:

  • If employees will gather at a second location or if they will work from home during the period of disruption
  • Where to route calls if working off-site (landlines at remote facilities/homes or cell phones) or if your business will enable emergency call center capabilities
  • Manner in which employees will access important documents and data (critical files/data stored on zip drives or stored on laptops employees can move to remote locations, or access to critical information stored in the cloud)

Simply put, your Disaster Recovery Plan focuses on how your company will react should it be affected by a disaster and your Business Continuity Plan is the process of preparing to keep your company open in case of a disruption.

The US Chamber of Commerce reported that the economic losses in 2011, as a result of natural disasters, reached $380 million.  Can you really afford not to be prepared?  Click here to learn how we can help your business maintain continuity no matter what life may throw your way.

There’s An App for That (part 5) – Go Integrator

Are you always trying to make sense of notes scratched on scrap paper, that is…if you are lucky enough to find the right sheet?  Are piles of paper taking over your workspace?

We have an app for that!

Go Integrator is a personal productivity tool that interfaces your Telovations business telephone system with the CRM function of your IT infrastructure.  No matter your poison:  Act!, Goldmine, Lotus Note, MS Access, MS Dynamics, NetSuite,  or Sage, Go Integrator will improve your productivity and help you work more efficiently.  Here are a few of the highlights of this application:

1.  You can dial directly from your CRM software, so no more misdialed numbers.

2.  If you are too busy to answer the call or you are on the other line – no problem!  You can easily deflect the call to another extension, without interruption.  Click here to see this feature in action.

3.  Caller ID is great, but Caller ID with enhanced features is better.  As a call is coming in, Go Integrator displays a summary of information about the caller with the option to open the CRM file associated with the caller – all before you’ve taken the call.

4.  (My personal favorite) With your contact’s CRM file already opened, you can take your notes directly into their file.  If a contact record does not exist on the caller, you will be given the option to create a new file.

I used to block off a half hour at the end of every day to update my activity with my clients and prospects in our CRM.  Sometimes I would struggle to read my own handwriting or I couldn’t remember which note belonged with which client.  Now that I am using this tool, I have that time back to work on building my business, not on taking notes about my business.

Are you ready to get out from under all those piles of paper?  Go Integrator works straight “out of the box,” so it’s easy to get started.  Click here to learn more.

Disaster Recover – How Will You Weather the Storm?

When I think of Disaster Recovery (DR) I am reminded of that scene from Forrest Gump that occurs on his shrimp boat, the Jenny:  Forrest and Lt. Dan are struggling to catch shrimp, when a hurricane blows in to Bayou La Batre.  Every shrimp boat in the bayou, except for the Jenny, was destroyed.  While the other shrimp boat captains were rebuilding, Forrest and Lt. Dan were working…

And they made a killing.

How would a bad storm affect your business?  Could your sales and customer service teams continue to function – even if they couldn’t make it into the office?  Having a DR plan in place insures that no matter what unforeseen obstacle your business may face, be it natural disaster, a computer failure, or human error…your “boat” will keep running.

The importance of a executing disaster recovery plan has been well documented.  At Telovations, our DR plans are focused on keeping your communications system operational.  Whether your business needs 1 phone or 1,000 phones, we can assure you nothing will stop your clients and prospects from reaching you when disaster strikes.

Read our case study to see a disaster recovery plan in action.

So what are you going to do when disaster looms?  Are you going to sit home and wait to rebuild….or are you going to keep working and make a killing?