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Why design matters for a business continuity tool

January 10, 2020

A business continuity plan provides guidance on how an institution will respond and continue operating in the case of an unplanned disruption in service. But because higher ed institutions are different than other industries, their plans must specifically focus on critical functions unique to higher ed. These include academics, research, student residential, and special events like football games or controversial speakers.

Historically, the responsibility of having continuity plans in place fell on the shoulders of the continuity manager. But a continuity manager doesn’t have the knowledge of, or insight into, departments other than their own. They must rely on the department leaders to provide that. The thing is, department leaders, whether in a business department like Finance, or as a professor in Academics, have other primary responsibilities to focus on. They are busy with their own day-to-day functions, and in most cases they don’t have a clear understanding of business continuity or why it’s important.

It’s up to the Continuity Manager to help these individuals think about resilience, and understand the importance of pre-planning. Planning for a disruptive event before it happens, and knowing the recovery activities in advance means they can get back to teaching, or research, or their other activities sooner, if and when the event occurs.

Usability matters for everyone

Beautiful design and ease of use matters for a business continuity planning tool because the people that use it have a lot to do. They need to be able to get into the software, complete a few tasks, and log out with ease. With Kuali Ready, they can do just that. Because it’s designed to be easy to use.

As the continuity manager, you send an email asking a particular department leader to log into your continuity planning software and enter the information pertaining to their department. But what if they can’t figure out where to go after they log in? What about how to save their work? Or how to go back in to update some information? If the software isn’t intuitive and simple to understand quickly, they may become quite frustrated.

Because Ready walks the plan writer through a series of questions, the user doesn’t have to learn a complex, cumbersome, and hard-to-use software, and they don’t have to guess how to plan for resilience. They simply answer the intuitive questions and Ready builds the plan. And because Ready was designed with continuity best practices in mind, the continuity plan that is created includes all of the critical information necessary for any recovery effort, big or small.

Your job depends on it

As a continuity manager, usability can potentially determine your success in getting a set of viable continuity plans built for your institution. If the department leaders have a bad experience navigating around the software every time they use it, they may give up. That could result in you either writing the plan for them or sitting with them as they are writing the plan, neither of which is an effective use of your time. Therefore, the design of the planning product is crucial.

"UX design is at the core of Ready and truly drives us towards what is most impactful for our users,” said Whitney Pesek, UX Designer for Kuali Ready. “Consistent communication, feedback, and testing from our users is what allows us to confirm our hypotheses and accurately fulfill user needs."

A great design also means less training is required. You want your continuity planning software to be intuitive and usable from the first login.

Speaking of training…

In addition to a great design, Ready offers hands-on training presented in a train-the-trainer format, that gets you set up for success. Our training includes an overview of business continuity. We tackle how it’s different in higher ed, and why it’s so important. We also provide you with ideas for getting a set of plans built quickly either in a workshop setting or in phases over time. These ideas will help you knock out your BC plans quickly so that you can then focus on bigger projects.

Of course the plans are only effective if they are exercised and maintained. Our training covers this as well. We’ll review the plan lifecycle and make our best practice recommendations on what needs to be reviewed and updated regularly, and we’ll cover the different ways of exercising the plans.

Did we mention mobile?

Because events can happen anytime, and you may not have access to your computer, as long as you have an internet connection Ready can be accessed from your other devices.

If you’re facing any of these challenges consider Kuali Ready. This business continuity tool features Kuali’s signature modern, intuitive interface, and comes from a company that puts a premium on great design. Additionally, it requires very little training.

Let us partner with you to deliver a great continuity planning software to your campus and to help you spend your time on the more important aspects of your job!

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