If your organizations’ Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan is sitting on a cluttered shelf in the backroom of an office, it certainly is. And, that’s not good. What if there was a critical event that forced your organization to close for a day or two, or even indefinitely? What if it was necessary to relocate to a secondary location in order to continue providing essential services? Would staff recall what to do and when? Would you?

Depending on your answer, this might be the time to blow the dust off your organization’s COOP plan, and better yet, breathe some new life into it. COOP plans aren’t meant to be written, printed, and tucked away “just in case.” They should be current, accessible and most importantly, actionable all the time.  

So, how do you accomplish this given employee turnover, your (and others’) current workload, budget constraints, etc.? The answer is simple – planning software. Most organizations find that it’s pretty inexpensive to purchase, especially as a SaaS-based solution, as well as easy to implement and use. Plus, there’s usually expert help available to guide users through the entire planning process.  

Still on the fence about automating your organization’s COOP plan? Consider these additional benefits:

Information sharing and collaboration – Online planning software gives users 24/7 access to a single, shared resource, uncomplicating the manual exchange of emails, documents, maps and other intelligence associated with COOP plan development and upkeep.

Time savings – With online planning software, gone are the days of scouring through tables of contents or indexes to find the right information. The COOP plan can be searched electronically to uncover crucial information or instruction, including that associated with departmental sub-plans, within seconds.

Security – Unlike binder-based plans that can be pulled from the shelf by virtually anyone, online planning software keeps COOP plans safe and secure by providing permission-based access through assigned usernames and passwords. Logins and other plan-related activities are also generally time-stamped for auditing and investigative purposes.  

Making and tracking changes – Online planning software makes plan editing easier, faster and more affordable than manual methods. There are no binders to locate, and no sections to reprint or replace. Users simply login, make the necessary modifications, and save. All information, including roles, responsibilities, team assignments, etc. are updated in real-time and across the entire plan.

Availability – Paper plans can easily be misplaced, lost or inaccessible. Even worse, they can be completely destroyed in the event of a disaster impacting an organization’s facilities. Online planning software is always safely “in the cloud” and readily available to those with a network connection.

If it’s been a while since you pulled your organization’s COOP plan from the shelf, now is as good a time as any. Take this opportunity to review it and update its contents. Also, look into the use of online planning software like that provided by BOLDpl