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In the digital age, when your system goes down, your business goes with it. The impact of service disruptions on your customers, employees, brand reputation, and bottom line can be staggering. Most large and mid-sized enterprises (91%) estimate the cost of a single hour of downtime to be over $300,000 due to lost business, productivity disruptions, and remediation efforts.
No doubt the pandemic was a wake-up call to businesses that it is paramount to proactively update and expand their BCDR plans. Not surprisingly, a study by global consultancy firm Mercer in 2020 found that more than half (51%) of companies around the world had no plans or protocols in place to manage a global emergency like COVID-19. And, just over 27% of companies said they had no business continuity plan in place at all, while nearly 24% said they were in the process of drafting one.
While ensuring that your contact center is prepared to maintain its processes, coordinate your people response, and recover technology is absolutely essential, the long-term effects of the pandemic have prompted more companies to favor business resilience over continuity.
The truth is, you need both.
So how do business continuity and resilience differ? The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) refers to business continuity as an organization’s ability to continue to deliver its products and services at acceptable levels following a business disruption.
Resilience, on the other hand, is defined by Gartner as: “The ability of an organization to resist, absorb, recover, and adapt to business disruption in an ever-changing and increasingly complex environment to enable it to deliver its objectives, and rebound and prosper.”
In other words, your contact center doesn’t merely continue to operate during a crisis, it improves, grows stronger, and progresses to a more successful state.
Let’s consider resilience in pandemic terms using the shift to remote work as an example. Contact centers not only had to overcome numerous challenges during the first months of working from home to ensure continued service delivery, they quickly adapted to this new way of working by adopting remote tools and management approaches, and have since expanded staffing models to include hybrid work and more flexible schedules to ensure that their operations can survive similar disruptions in the future.
Enhancing your contact center’s resiliency
Even better than recovering quickly is the ability to resist disruption in the first place. It’s easy to see why organizations that provide always-on services and data access for customers are now also emphasizing resiliency over recovery, and are looking to achieve high availability in the cloud. A high-availability program ensures that the contact center platform is reliable and will operate continuously, even in the event of an outage or failure.
While high availability and disaster recovery (DR) have become part of the larger conversation about business resilience, the concepts are frequently confused. For instance, when people refer to redundancy and disaster recovery, they’re often really talking about high-availability capabilities.
While high availability and disaster recovery are related, they have different meanings, approaches, and impacts on service delivery. Here are three important distinctions when it comes to improving your contact center’s resiliency.
How much downtime is acceptable?
Disaster recovery is a reactive process that takes place after an event has occurred. DR planning focuses on restoring the system to an operational state when that system is rendered inoperative. The loss of service depends on how quickly the DR plan can be executed and the system restored (think hours, days, or even weeks).
High availability is about prevention, eliminating single points of failure to reduce the probability of system outages. If there is an outage, data center redundancy delivers seamless failover for minimal disruption to the operation. With high availability, there is generally no loss of service.
Does your plan account for rare scenarios, everyday errors, or both?
Disaster recovery planning tends to focus on catastrophic events, such as hurricanes, floods, or earthquakes. When it comes to resiliency planning, certainly every company should be prepared to recover from natural disasters and even a global pandemic. However, keep in mind that it’s the everyday events that cause the majority of disruptions. Human error and security breaches are the top causes of outages, according to research by ITIC. Resilience focuses on proactively minimizing the potential for outages related to these more routine events.
Does your organization have the budget and resources to maintain a redundant system?
The more redundancy required, the higher the price tag due to added hardware and resources needed for failover. For instance, high availability requires sophisticated processes, including duplicating data across multiple sites to guarantee the main data center is functional all of the time.
Disaster recovery, on the other hand, usually involves less expensive technology and fewer resources since it focuses more on restoring operations after a catastrophe. For these less critical applications and systems, replication between various sites may not be necessary and backups are often enough for restoring information after a disruption.
Although a redundant solution can be expensive to build and maintain, the potential harm of unexpected system downtime on customer loyalty, agent productivity, and revenue should not be ignored. Without a reliable platform, you can’t deliver the consistent service experiences that are expected today.
Fortunately, cloud computing has revolutionized the IT industry, and with its growing popularity comes a decrease in cost for high-availability systems. The capability to make cloud environments more scalable than ever before makes it possible for organizations of all sizes to reap the rewards from these highly reliable resources.
An ounce of prevention
Given all the pressing demands on your time and resources, it’s easy to see why contact center disaster recovery planning can take a backseat to more urgent matters in the here and now.
When it comes to keeping your contact center up and running, prevention is better than cure. With a high-availability solution in place and a proactive CCaaS partner committed to reliability and preventing outages from happening in the first place, you may never need to activate your DR plan.
Learn how LiveVox can enhance your contact center’s resilience with our high-availability infrastructure and industry-leading end-to-end Service Level Agreement. Our Solutions Consulting and Customer Advocacy teams are available to answer your questions.