Process Management 4 mins read

How to Build Operational Resilience & Fortify Your Enterprise

Shield your business against uncertainties by learning what you can do to be well equipped for the unknown.

Elke Bastian Elke Bastian

In the ever-changing landscape of business, uncertainties loom large. From regulatory shifts to global crises, companies face a myriad of challenges that can disrupt operations and threaten their survival. However, amidst these uncertainties lies an opportunity – the opportunity to build and strengthen operational resilience.  

Operational resilience, the next frontier in regulatory compliance, is not merely a box to check but a shield against the unknown. As new regulations like CPS 230 in Australia and the EU’s Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA) emerge worldwide, businesses must adapt to a complex web of compliance requirements regardless of where they are located.

Why is operational resilience so crucial?

At its core, operational resilience encompasses two key pillars:  

  1. Prevention involves proactive risk mitigation to minimize disruptions.  
  1. Recovery focuses on swiftly bouncing back from unforeseen events. It also involves using lessons learned from operational disruptions and applying those towards future prevention efforts.  

So why is operational resilience important? In a world where crises like the COVID pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the blocking of the Suez Canal, high inflation rates, and cyber-attacks strike without warning, companies that prioritize operational resilience can weather the storm and emerge stronger. 

While operational resilience isn’t a novel concept, its scope extends beyond traditional business continuity management. It integrates practices such as continuity planning, disaster recovery, and third-party risk management into a cohesive framework. By taking a holistic approach using a formidable operational risk framework, companies can better navigate the intricate interplay of risks and safeguards to become more agile and not only survive but thrive.

Using the DORA framework for operational resilience

Consider the five pillars of the Digital Operational Resilience Act (DORA), which mandate stringent controls on information and communication technology (ICT) risks for financial institutions. Effective as of January 2025, DORA requires financial services to control their ICT risks based on: 

  1. ICT risk management 
  2. ICT incident reporting
  3. Testing on digital resilience
  4. Third-party ICT risk management
  5. Information exchange

Helpful tools to achieve operational resilience

These pillars underscore the importance of a proactive stance against emerging threats. And as the January 2025 deadline for DORA approaches, financial institutions must fortify their defenses against ICT risks. Yet, compliance is only part of the equation. An integrated approach to operational resilience, combining business process management and strategic portfolio management is essential for success.  

It is critical that the tools you select support your organization through the three phases of operational resilience:

1. Define Your Operational Resilience Strategy

Start by identifying stakeholders, objectives, roles, and important business services (IBS). Then, establish clear guidelines for addressing future risks. For example, in banking, an IBS could be “payment services,” and a pertinent risk guideline may be determining “acceptable downtime for internet banking.”

2. Analyze Your Operating Model

Align your supporting processes with IBSs and then link them to your IT systems. This step is crucial as it lays the foundation for scenario testing. Then, pinpoint vital resources like IT systems, personnel, and facilities, and evaluate their condition.

3. Scenario Testing, Learning, and Monitoring

Identify extreme yet plausible disruptive scenarios and assess their impact on critical resources. Use the test outcomes to iteratively enhance your operational system and identify areas for increased resilience. This process forms a continuous cycle of testing, learning, and improvement, underpinned by vigilant monitoring and comprehensive reporting.

Operational resilience is a mix of several business disciplines that work hand in hand. 

Tools like ARIS and Alfabet empower companies to analyze their operations comprehensively and help shield against many regulatory variations both in the present and in the future. By mapping critical processes, assessing IT systems, and conducting scenario testing, organizations can identify vulnerabilities and strengthen their operational resilience.  

Operational resilience isn’t just about surviving – it’s about thriving in the face of uncertainty. By building a protective shield around their operations, companies can navigate the complexities of today’s business world with confidence. With ARIS and Alfabet as trusted allies, businesses can chart a course towards resilience, boldly facing whatever challenges lie ahead.