(bear with us on this one...) Ever noticed how the different areas a business needs to worry about fit together and complement each other, like a mosaic?
HCS Consulting Partner Ian Holroyd snapped this Roman mosaic in St Albans at the excellent Verulamium Museum
© 2017 Ian Holroyd - all rights reserved
A Management System can focus energy towards achieving a range of different goals. More than ever, our clients are finding the benefits of an Integrated Management System, which gives them a robust toolkit to tackle, assure and demonstrate their ablity to manage all the expectations of the business and their interested parties.
Put in plain English: you have one way of doing it, what you need to achieve just gets fitted into it
Sounds sensible! Registration to Standards usually commits you to some cost that will last for at least three years. Quite a few of our clients have found it valuable to bolster their existing system but stop short of full registration - often this leaves them more able to respond to their customers enquiries, or more secure about their regulatory position, plus they are ready to jump when they need to.
Quality Management focusses on every element of your business, to ensure that deliver a product or service that consistently meets your customers' expectations. Not by chance, but because you have a clear plan, controlled ways of working, systematic checking and proactive action to improve.
Increasingly, Quality Management also gives you a chance to think about the wider expectations people have about your business as you provide services: are TalkTalk still a good ISP? Leaking a huge volume of customer information didn't make their broadband any slower, but it changed the perception of their service totally...
Information Security is about assuring the Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability of the information you rely on and hold for others. Information Security requires planned, understood and controlled use of Information Technology, but is also about understand the flow and criticality of information your business holds and needs.
Businesses come to Information Security for a range of reasons: reducing risks, showing technical security, being trusted with high-value information or large quantities of personal data. Sometimes to nervously make sure that it is someone else it happens to...
This one always provokes a discussion within HCS! Sustanability as a concept means that the way you go about your business can be repeated for the future because it isn't based on taking advantage of anyone else or using finite resources.
Sustainability Reporting normally gets the prefix Corporate for good reason - it is largely about organisations with a global reach or supply chain. But the principles, vocabulary and even some schemes can help a lot of smaller organisations to communicate with their bigger customers or the wider public.
Talk to people about protecting the planet or communities, and they will invariably fixate on recycling performance, spill control or emissions. Where your business has the scale or potential to do harm, these are vital areas.
However, for many service sector businesses, Environmental Management is actually a mindset topic - it's about understanding environmental impact and giving it a seat at the decision-making table.
Reduce risk. Avoid Harm. Sounds simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately Health & Safety has become known more for some of the less palatable steps than the journey itself. A strong H&S Management System understands and reduces risk to reduce or eliminate harm and make people safer.
Actually, many companies with excellent Health & Safety practice struggle to show the rationale behind the decisions they make, to audit the effectiveness of their system or evaluate their performance. If you can't use these techniques to demonstrate impact, then why are you implementing rules?
Whether as part of assuring Quality or Information Security, or as an end to itself, making sure that your business can keep delivering (literally or figuratively) whatever comes your way should be an objective for all of us.
At the heart of good continuity planning is understanding what 'working' looks like. Analysing how quickly different business functions need to be provided, or how far you could degrade service without unbearable impact sets the scene for strong coninuity planning (and might just surprise you).