Business Continuity – Better Planning Brings Better Outcomes

As more companies adopt emerging technologies such as BMS, AI, and ML to enhance growth and customer satisfaction, they must adjust their business continuity plans accordingly.

Business continuity planning

While most continuity plans provide asset protection against severe weather and natural disasters, many need to address business disruptions where a product or service becomes more popular than the traditional option. Common examples include the wheel, light bulb, smartphone, and most recently, the hybrid workspace that must serve the in-person and remote workforces.

During these business disruptions, facility managers can quickly find their teams dealing with the following:

  • Employee accessibility issues to customer data and company assets.
  • Extended maintenance and upgrade times due to limited access to power sources or data cabling.
  • Knowledge loss between teams, vendors, and contractors due to employee turnover.

A recent International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) presentation by SIMPLAR recommends that developing continuity and disaster contingencies before they are needed is critical for every business to succeed. As a result, business continuity plans should be addressed as part of the master plan and reviewed regularly.

Defining Business Continuity

The overarching goal of business continuity is to support key company business activities during a crisis or business disruption. Continuity planning ensures a business can function “normally” with limited resources to minimize revenue or reputation losses. Although “disruption” typically refers to natural disasters and emergencies, it can also include events such as:

  • Fire or arson
  • Ransomware attacks
  • Fraud, theft, and property damage
  • Critical supplier failure
  • Power failures
  • Security breaches
  • Loss of personnel or staff

While the reasons for disruptions can vary, the need for a company or facility to remain operational doesn’t change.

Importance of Uninterrupted Facility Operations

A successful uptime should be invisible to the business employees and customers in a well-run facility operation. The ultimate work environment includes the necessary infrastructure and systems to handle the demands of both in-person and remote workers without becoming a distraction or hindrance for customers.

While this scenario might be partially possible, with proven systems in place and proper planning, companies have a much better chance of achieving uninterrupted operation status during business disruptions.

Risk Assessment and Planning for Facility Operations

Planning for potential disruptions can help diminish their effect and quickly get things back to normal. Using dependency modeling, a company can examine the relationships between activities, deliverables, or outcomes that require coordination, synchronization, or alignment.

Typically, facility managers incorporate BIM (Business Information Modeling) data to:

  • Improve space management
  • Streamline maintenance tasks and costs
  • Increase energy efficiency
  • Plan renovations and retrofits
  • Enhance building management across the building’s lifecycle

Combining these data points with a comprehensive risk assessment can identify what services and resources will be affected during a disruption. Planning for these issues before the need arises allows facility managers to create better business continuity and contingency plans for their customers.

Identifying Operational Risks

Regardless of the industry, every company deals with operational risks as they conduct their day-to-day business operations. These risks can vary widely depending on the company’s size, number of employees, and the products and services provided. Most operational risks fall into one of two categories.

1. Physical Threats

  • Equipment failure caused by misuse, flood, fire, or accidents.
  • Power and data service loss from weather or natural disasters.

Most equipment failure threats can be addressed by maintaining an inventory of readily accessible components for emergency replacement. Backup generators or uninterruptible power supplies can eliminate most power loss concerns.

2. Operational Dependencies

  • Backup systems to maintain connectivity and security or prevent data loss.
  • Compliance tracking and execution systems for products and services.
  • Alternative power supply options when the power grid goes down.

Power is also a critical operational risk since most technology, such as data, tracking, and connectivity systems, operate on electricity. Redundant, remote, and cloud servers can keep company and customer information accessible and secure, minimizing potential downtime. With the company’s unique operational risks identified, it’s time to consider which mitigation strategies to add to the business continuity plan.

Mitigation Strategies

Since no one can predict what continuity challenges will strike next, readiness and flexibility should be the cornerstone of any mitigation strategy. Most business continuity plans should include the following components:

  1. Redundancy in Critical Systems
  2. Contingency Plans for Operational Disruptions
  3. Adaptive Systems that Respond to Changing Needs

Adaptive systems can include access flooring systems that move data and power cabling from the walls and ceilings to the easily accessible air space created above the floor. As business needs change, removing a few carpet tiles provides access to every data and power connection within the space. As a result, an entire office can be easily upgraded or reconfigured within a few days, not weeks.


New technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), AR (Augmented Reality), and ML (Machine Learning) usage will continue to expand across numerous industries. As a result, an adaptive data and power cabling system will soon become necessary for commercial properties to remain competitive yet flexible and responsive.

To learn more about incorporating a raised access floor into your business continuity or mitigation plans, please contact a Gridd representative today.


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