I saw an online discussion recently about how many UK high streets are suffering from large numbers of shops closing. There were lots of reasons and explanations put forward but the reality is that lots of things have changed – particularly in the way we buy products nowadays and our expectations about when services need to be available.

I remember as a child the shops being open from 9 until 5, closing for lunch, half day closing on Wednesday and never opening on a Sunday. At this point I’m feeling old but actually it wasn’t so long ago. For today’s generation who take for granted online purchases and next day delivery the old fashioned high street must seem prehistoric.

Things have changed.

The strange thing is people still love to go shopping – I have a couple of professionals in my house – just try and park at a shopping mall over the next few weekends. But what are people doing? Buying? Browsing? Researching? Socialising? Probably a mixture of all these things but for the shopkeepers some of these things don’t result in cash in the till.

How frustrating. All these potential customers but many of them with no intention of buying.

The online discussion went on to offer opinions on how high street stores have to adapt if they are to survive. Everything from the types of store, to opening hours to having an online presence was discussed.

On reflection though, it’s not just about the high street. Think of your own organisation and how that has changed. Certainly the way I do my work and the expectations of my customers and their stakeholders has changed over the years. Solutions that may have been valid a few years back are no longer appropriate and have needed to be updated as expectations and capabilities develop.

Technology has undoubtedly contributed massively to the changes, not only in the way we do things but also in terms of people’s expectations. Service or product unavailability carries a greater impact than ever before as the ability to source alternatives is simpler than ever.

So the message is that we constantly need to review what we are doing. Do our solutions still meet our client expectations? Are there better ways of doing things?

It definitely pays to reflect every now and then. Business Continuity in particular is one of those disciplines in which there’s a risk of us taking the stance of ‘we’ve done that, what’s next?’ and before we know it our solutions could be better served by doing things differently.

Part of your Business Continuity activity should include a review and challenge from time to time. Stand back from the day to day activity and ask yourself whether you, your organisation and your stakeholders are going to be happy if you rely on your current solutions.

One way of doing this is to arrange for an audit or benchmarking exercise to get an independent view. As well as identifying areas for improvement such activities will also help introduce ideas.

If you want my help with such an audit I’d be happy to discuss your requirements so give me a call.

November 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm
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Category: Governance & Standards
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