The Enterprise Reset

This post originally appeared January 18, 2011 on

Imagine if you will a natural disaster, be it earthquake, fire, flood or whatever, hits your company and completely wipes out your enterprise architecture. After everyone sorts out whatever remains of their personal life and returns to work, what do you do? You’ve got a clean slate. Nature has hit the reset button for you.

(For those of you who work in large corporations who are fortunate enough to not contain your entire operation in a single building, pretend you’re a medium size business without a distributed environment to build upon. Or, if you wish, pretend your enterprise baggage can be tossed without anyone noticing!)

My thoughts:

Disaster planning has taught me that the first things to focus on are the critical items; those things that you need to run your business. You can suffer with manual processes and little automation for a short period of time, but there are some things so vital you must have them. Make a list of these items and get to work on them.

Once the critical systems are up and running, consider what you do and do not need to replace. If you’ve been wanting to do a process reengineering project to consolidate 3 antique systems into a single modern application you’ve already purchased but are only using a small fraction of, don’t put the old pieces back in place. Install the new one and build from that better foundation.

Don’t forget that its not all about systems. Some of your stakeholders probably lost a lot of valuable, needed historical documentation during the disaster. Now is probably the time to start up that offsite, electronic document store and buy a few industrial scanners so that the paper isn’t stacked up all over the office but becomes a digital repository that can’t be destroyed by a single disaster.

What about the location of resources? You’re going to need a place to house everyone while you rebuild. Maybe its a time to consider not rebuilding, or at least not rebuilding as much. If the business location was destroyed, but your employees live in areas that were unaffected, maybe its time to start telecommuting or at least creating smaller, satellite offices.

Those are my thoughts. What about yours? Do any of you have a disaster recovery plan (especially those of you who work for smaller organizations)?