In this always-on, connected world, it seems every week brings another story of a software glitch that brings an enterprise to a virtual standstill. Stories like\n\n\nThe NYSE goes down because of a software upgrade\nStarbucks loses several million in sales because of a software failure during a daily system refresh\nA software glitch grounds another major airline, this time United\nA major retailer whose website goes dark on the busiest shopping day of the year\nThe City of Anchorage\u2019s $9.6M rollout of a new enterprise system that has cost $34M and is two years behind schedule.\n\n\nFor every story that makes the news, there are probably hundreds and thousands of technology failures in enterprise applications - large and small - that never make the front page. The auto manufacturer that can\u2019t move cars out of the factory because of a problem with an inventory management upgrade. The electronics giant that inadvertently re-labels all of their internal product codes. The electric utility whose systems woes cause the lowest customer satisfaction rankings in their industry. All true stories.\n\n\nWhat is business continuity worth? When a major business disruption happens due to technology issues, you can bet that there\u2019s a C-level executive or two for whom business continuity suddenly becomes worth a lot. To quantify the cost of business disruption in these cases, you need to begin by looking at the specifics of each instance and where impacts have occurred:\n\n\nRevenue Impact \u2013 Disruptions to websites, point of sales systems, customer-facing websites, and order handling can directly impact revenue and profits.\nDirect Cost Impact \u2013 This is the cost of identifying and repairing the software problem itself. Typically this will be only a tiny fraction of the overall business cost of disruption.\nCustomer Impact \u2013 Customer loyalty is difficult to win, but easy to lose. How often have you had difficulty placing an order on a website \u2013 and never been back. Then there\u2019s the cost of \u201cmaking good\u201d on any damage to customers or partners when a glitch happens. That can be substantial.\nPartner Impact \u2013 Your supply chain is intimately connected with others. For example, when you\u2019re not shipping or manufacturing because of an internal software issue, then your partner\u2019s shelves and lots can be empty. That can cause channel partners to look for alternatives.\nReputational Impact \u2013 Disruptions can impact your company brand perception as a reliable, trusted business partner.\nOrganizational Impact \u2013 Careers can be hurt, jobs terminated, and team morale can suffer when tech problems disrupt business.\n\n\n\u201cNot on my watch.\u201d For many CIOs, maintaining business continuity has become a high priority because introducing innovative digital technologies remains a top priority. Gartner says that there\u2019s been more technology change in the last 3 years than in the prior 20 combined. In other words, CIOs need to be able to change a tire while rolling down the highway! For them, the integrity of the business process is vital \u2013 before, during, and after the innovation projects that are bringing new digital, cloud, mobile, big data, web, and other enterprise application updates into the organization.\n\n\nThere\u2019s only one way to ensure that every business process and enterprise app works like it should on your watch. Every one of them needs to be tested.\n\n\nThe Answer: Check Everything. How often? Well, the frequency of testing needs to match the rate of change and digital transformation in your enterprise landscape. The point is that business process validation needs to happen at the same frequency to keep pace. If not, you\u2019re exposed and falling behind.\n\n\nIf new technology or updates are deployed monthly, you need to check all your interconnected business processes and enterprise apps monthly or better. If you have many technology projects, maybe it needs to be weekly. Some companies validate their core business processes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And if your enterprise relies heavily on hybrid cloud apps \u2013 where you don\u2019t necessarily control the timing of changes (like Salesforce.com) \u2013 then maybe you need to perform daily validation. Same for companies that are handling 4,000 SAP transports per month.\n\n\nWhen companies don\u2019t match the rate of change with the rate of testing, that\u2019s what often causes news-making business disruptions \u2013 as well as the many that don\u2019t make the news. If firms shortcut functional testing, or worse, deploy changes without testing anything at all, there is enormous risk to business continuity.\n\n\nAutomation makes it possible. Obviously, if you are validating hundreds of core business processes every day, or testing thousands of business process steps every night, it can\u2019t be done manually. Those days are over. Today, automation platforms have replaced manual labor with digital labor when it comes to automated functional testing and business process validation. Sure, it\u2019s an investment in new work practices and some new automation software, but that\u2019s small compared to a major disruption in business continuity.\n\n\nTo some of the people we work with, it means confidence and iron-clad business execution. Others think of it as insurance or a safety net. But whatever you call it, these automation platforms let the CIO say, \u201cNothing\u2019s going to happen on my watch,\u201d and make it stick.\n\n\nFor more information, please contact me.